The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan

From the publisher:

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.

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. 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…

I have to say, the idea of a historical novel that is basically about eminent domain thrills me to no end. I’m sure that says much, much more about me than it does about Tatiana de Rosnay’s latest book. The premise is indeed interesting, as Rose looks back upon her life and how both she and Paris have changed. Some readers, though, may be frustrated by the incredibly internal view the novel takes. The majority of what action there is takes place in the past and is related through Rose’s letters of remembrance, with very little actually happening in the present.

For more, please read my feature in the SheKnows Book Lounge.

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