Friday, July 30, 2010
Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons
Jack Rosenblum flees Nazi Germany in 1937 for England with his wife and small daughter and sets out to become the quintessential Englishman. His wife, Sadie, desperately misses her family and the Jewish traditions which she holds dear. Also, to say that she is a 'glass half-empty' sort of woman would be an understatement, she goes about being sad with ambition. I have to say that she reminded me of my dearly departed mother-in-law in a warped sort of affectionate way.
My daydreams usually finds me riding a bike through a Midsomer Murder-type village so I was really looking forward to finding a kindred spirit in Jack. What I didn't expect was that this story is rather quite a lot about his building a golf course! The reason he builds his own links is because of racial prejudices at the time, Jews were not welcome at the esteemed clubs. I did feel sorry for his disappointments, proud of his resolution and a little ticked that he didn't appreciate his wife until a near tragedy but Jack didn't quite become the character that I was expecting.
There are some villagers, like Curtis and Basset who love having a new member of the community to tempt with local folklore about a woolly-pig and their homemade cider. The wealthy Sir William turns out to be less than kind and the women spend many happy hours cooking and baking which had me craving cake a time or two.
But...yes, there's a but, the story was a bit too whimsical and convenient for me. I wasn't as engaged as I had hoped to be and was annoyingly aware of the print the whole time I was reading. When the print disappears and I'm visualizing the story until the phone rings to snap me out of it...now that is a fabulous reading experience.
The cover states that a movie is on its way and I can envision a Chocolat sort of whimsy working quite well with this plot. I did like the story but it was a tad too charming for me, perhaps it wasn't the right read for this sultry summer we're having. My next read is a library book so I have to read fast. It's Wish Her Safe at Home by Stephen Benatar and I've read the protagonist goes slightly mad...should make a nice change of pace.