The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
Published: 2012 by St. Martin’s Press
Source: Purchased at an independent bookstore
Sarah’s Key is one of my favorite books of all time and as a result Tatiana de Rosnay has become an author whom I regularly follow. Her follow-up novel (here in the U.S. anyways; I understand it was released before SK in Europe), A Secret Kept, was a disappointment (my thoughts here), but when her newest novel was released here in the U.S. I still wanted to read it.
In The House I Loved, we read a letter written by Rose to her late husband as she learns of the planned destruction of his ancestral home in Paris as part of Baron Haussmann’s plan to modernize the city. It is part a reminiscing of their lives together in the house, part description of how she is fighting its destruction, and part confession; for there is a secret Rose has kept from everyone for many years. The secret, once revealed, was a shock; and it raised questions that were not answered for me by the book.
There were some other twists that weren’t fully explained, or at least not completely developed. Rose has an unusual friendship with Alexandrine, a young woman who runs a flower shop in Rose’s building but she kind of jumps in and out of the narrative without any consistency despite the fact she plays a fairly major role in the climax of the novel.
Though I didn’t completely enjoy the story, I absolutely LOVED the descriptions of Paris during the era of its reconstruction. Regular readers know of my slight obsession with Paris, and after reading this I’m motivated to seek out some remnants of what the city looked like during Rose’s time.