I am a book reviewer for NetGalley, which means I received this book for free in exchange for a review. Click here for more information.
Author: Natasha Solomons
Genre/category: General Fiction
Release date: 3rd May 2018
Where can I buy it? Here
House of Gold follows the immensely rich and powerful Goldbaum family, whose power is said to extend across Europe:
‘Such is the power and wealth of the Goldbaums that on dull days, it’s said, they hire the sun just for themselves.’
A family of bankers with a wealth of powerful connections, they seem to have the world at their feet. That is, until the First World War.
It’s sort of a book of two halves. First we follow Greta and her comfortable, happy live in Austria. Greta is about to enter a strategic arranged marriage with her English cousin Albert, which she is not at all excited about.
I loved Greta. I haven’t had many books recently in which I totally adored the main character, but I did adore her. I loved her feisty and opinionated nature. I liked her wildness, how she would sneak off from fancy parties to observe the stars with her brother. Speaking of which, I really liked the relationship between Greta and her brother, and I felt her heartbreak keenly when she had to move away to London.
The book focuses on Greta, and her new husband Albert, who are immediately at odds with each other (their relationship felt nuanced, realistic and was very interesting to read, as a side note). Greta struggles to find ownership of her new life, finding rare moments of solace and independence in her garden, gifted by her mother-in-law. Meanwhile, political tensions and financial problems are stressing the heads of the Goldbaum family, and everything comes crashing down around them when the Great War begins.
At this point, the novel changes quite dramatically, which works quite well, as it gives you the sense of how dramatically the war changed people’s lives – even the rich and well-connected.
Obviously I can’t say much more, plot-wise. But it is very, very good, and kept me reading until far past my bedtime.
The best thing about House of Gold, apart from the character of Greta, was the descriptive language – it just felt like a total joy to read. The passages that described Greta’s blossoming garden were so gorgeous and sumptuous that it made me want to go outside and plant a load of flowers. (I didn’t. Because I’m lazy. Unlike Greta). Some of the most lovely writing I’ve read for a while. If you like the time period, I’d definitely recommend it!