Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Narrator: Kate Reading
Unabridged Length: 5 hrs, 56 mn.
Here is a summary of the book from the Macmillan website:
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. 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...
This was an enjoyable novel to listen to that brought us into historical Paris, not only through the letters of our dear main character Rose, but also the people that were dear to her heart. Kate Reading did a great job narrating this novel and to me embraced the characters and the time period that helped to create vivid images for me.
As you can see from the summary above, the home that holds memories of Rose's full life is about to be turned into rubble. She doesn't seem to have any alternative but to accept the fact that her home will soon be destroyed. As she comes to terms with this fact, she also finds a way to reconcile with herself the many unfortunate events that took place there. Through her letters to her long-passed husband, she reveals secrets that have been hidden in her heart throughout her lifetime.
We get to know other characters in the novel from the letters that they write to Rose. From these various letters we get to know Rose as the gentle and loving woman that she has become. This makes the secret she has been carrying around throughout her life that much more of an abomination.
I did enjoy this audiobook filled with french accents and history. My only problem is that I would sometimes be confused if I wasn't paying close attention to whose letter was being read at the time. Quite often when reading a book like this I find myself going back to the beginning of the chapter to see who is speaking. Sometimes that is hard to do while listening to an audiobook. With themes of love, loss, friendship, and secrets, this was an enjoyable book to listen to and I also feel that it would make an interesting book club discussion.
My Rating: 3/5
Disclosure: This audiobook was provided to me by Audiobook Jukebox in exchange for an honest review.