Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Natasha Solomons’ House of Gold tells a sweeping story about the Goldbaums, a huge, wealthy, Jewish family that sprawls across Europe & funds some of its greatest powers with their banks in the years immediately before & during World War I.
Set largely in Vienna, where protagonist Greta Goldbaum is born, & then Hampshire, where she moves to live with her husband—a distant relation named Albert and the man she meets only right before their marriage—the book shows what happens when those same family bonds are stressed by war & loyalty to various nations.
There are aspects of this historical fiction that work for me, like its basic portrayal on this intriguing family & how the conflicts are set up between their family & country & between Greta’s selfhood & the demands placed upon her by family.
Though I appreciated the evolution of Greta’s relationship with Albert, I did not enjoy his rigidity—the scene at the village games is particularly disturbing—& their relationship just ends oddly for me—excepting those sweet final pages.
Narrative-wise, the focus on other people throughout the book is interesting on one hand, but on the other, it feels choppy. I also feel like in the closing pages there’s a loose end for Greta, an abrupt ending to one person’s story that doesn’t seem full circle.
House of Gold has many fine moments but overall falls kinda flat to me.
Give me that HEA, please.
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