THE HOUSE I LOVED by Tatiana De Rosnay
Rating: 3 stars
It is 19th century Paris, a time when the city is being modernised, a fresh uplift being given to the boulevards, the streets, pretty much everything that is used by public. But building new things involved the destruction of homes; homes that are often given up by the occupants without a fight in lieu of money.
But for the sixty year old Rose, giving up her house is not an option. She has lived to see some the very best and the very worst times of her life within the walls of her home. Through letters written to her late husband, Rose relives those memories, the ones that are precious to her and the ones that haunt her. There are secrets that she and the house have shared which she has never dared reveal to her husband. Only in the last few letters does she talk of the demons that have been a part of her life.
Rose puts up a fight to save the house she loves, the house that defines everything about her. She knows there is little she can do to stop the authorities from tearing down her house but she fights in the only way she can and triumphs.
Secrets seem to be a consistent theme in Rosnay's books. The protagonist always has some skeletons in his/her closet that come out only in the end. Despite a promising storyline, the book failed to touch me. I had several issues with the book. For one thing, Rose came across to me as a selfish mother, if not a selfish person altogether. Throughout the novel she speaks of hRer failed relationship with her daughter, but from wherre I see it, it appears that she was partial to her son... A point she admits in the later parts of the book. I was uneasy at how towards the end she remembers everyone for their goodness, even Alexandrine, but fails to remember her daughter. Also, I fail to understand how Rose could love the house so much, considering she has had terrible things happen to her there. Perhaps it is the lingering painful memory that forms a strong association. But to love a house despite it all just seemed unhealthy to me.
I wasn't much impressed by the novel. Still believe that it could have turned out better.
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