I listened to the unabridged audio version of The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay and narrated by Jennifer Mendenhall (although the packaging says Kate Reading, but when you're listening to the audio cd it says Jennifer Mendenhall. Please tell me that's not confusing at all as to who the real narrator is!?!?!).
Listening time for The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay is 5 hours, 56 minutes.
In 2012, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay (click link to the left to read my review) for a local book club. If you haven't read Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay yet, I highly recommend reading it!
After reading Sarah's Key, I knew I wanted to read another novel by Tatiana De Rosnay... I just didn't think I'd wait until 2018 to finally do so. I chose to read The House I Loved because I came across a remaindered copy of this novel that was deeply discounted. Also, the plot summary sounded intriguing enough to give The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay a go.
The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay is set in Paris, France in the 1860s and is told primarily through the point of view of Rose Bazelet, a 60 year old widow, as she writes a of letter to her beloved, deceased husband, Armand.
Normally, I enjoy reading historical fiction, but The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay missed the mark by a long shot. It didn't dazzle me like Sarah's Key did. There were some parts of this novel I did truly enjoy though... Like Rose Bazelet's friendship with Alexandrine, Rose's love for reading books which is something she acquired a love for late in life, and I also enjoyed Rose's tenacity as well.
I also fully understand Rose's deep connection to her husband's family home as well because this is where she has spent the majority of her life. She has many happy memories of living out her life there... As a side note here, my husband and I lived in Santa Barbara, California for 16 years. Four years ago, my husband was about to be laid off from his job, so he had to find work elsewhere as soon as possible. I wanted to stay in Santa Barbara or the Southern California area in general as I grew up in San Diego and my husband grew up in Los Angeles. We still have family living in both areas, plus friends as well. Long story short, my husband found work in Northern California, so we made the move north. Although I've adjusted nicely to our new surroundings, I still miss living in Santa Barbara dearly and would move back there in a heartbeat. So, I understand why Rose doesn't want to leave her home or her old neighborhood.
However, the storyline for The House I Loved was slow, so very slow that it seemed to drag on at times. The outcome/ending of the novel was predictable, but abrupt The ending could have been so much better than it was.
Additionally, Rose's character keeps repeatedly alluding to some deep dark secret she wants to share in her letter to her husband... When the secret is finally revealed it is scandalous indeed, as it creates two scandals in one... The scandal itself is a sad one as Rose has kept it to herself for roughly 30 years and still feels quite guilty about it as if the scandal was entirely her fault, but it wasn't. So, it makes for sad reading experience... I am sure the way things turned out in the end of the novel was partly due to Rose's guilt about what happened. Along with a few other factors.
The narration of The House I Loved rendered by Jennifer Mendenhall was excellent and probably what I enjoyed most about my experience of The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay.
The following is a plot summary for The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay from Amazon:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Sarah's Key and A Secret Kept comes an absorbing new novel about one woman's resistance during an époque that shook Paris to its very core.
Paris, France: 1860's. Hundreds of houses are being razed, whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, Baron Haussman has set into motion a series of large-scale renovations that will permanently alter the face of old Paris, moulding it into a "modern city." The reforms will erase generations of history―but in the midst of the tumult, one woman will take a stand.All in all, The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay just didn't come together well enough to make for a great experience. I am giving The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.
Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for thirty years. Tatiana de Rosnay's The House I Loved is both a poignant story of one woman's indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls...
Until my next post, happy reading!