(Thanks Emma for sending this to me-it’s a fabulous book..)
One of my most favorite periods of history is Nazi Germany-mainly due to an hour lesson about Anne Frank. (The teacher skirted round the story a lot-I needed more information!-but from there it just expanded.) But, back to my point: what I really love is when Family History-something that you intimately know-coincides with the broader era. And, with the backdrop of several different time periods, this is exactly what this book gives.
Beginning in the latter of the 1800’s, with the ‘House on the lake’ being built, it runs through a vast variety of occupants..Gradually, it undergoes radical changes. (Such as becoming what I consider to be an ‘estate’-the area around-and the landlord dying, etc.) The Alexanders live there, renting.
What is fascinating though, however, is how the narrative switches-2013, from when Harding visits the House himself, now derelict, earlier with his Grandmother, Elsie, and back to the earlier history.
I haven’t finished, but so badly want to. No spoilers, I promise.
Harding’s Grandmother and her parents eventually came to England, prior to the very visible restrictions-think of the yellow star. They had to give their house up, along with many other people of the Nazi years. (I dislike the word ‘Refugees’ and ‘Victims’ in that description-because, to me, people are people, are people. And it doesn’t render them back to how the Nazi’s saw them..Apologies if you disagree!)
My only feedback is that the switching perspective in chapter form sometimes had me a little confused. (Making notes helped..) I think, as a reader I would have far preferred a sort of omnipresent narration-just for use of lucidity and fluency. Yet, this is so obviously a labor of love, and incredibly genuine.
(Thomas-if you ever read this-I think Elsie would have been proud of you.)
What have you been reading recently? Let me know in the comments!