I’ve never been one to follow fiction trends. (For example, I’ve not read a single J.K. Rowling novel!) I read the back cover blurb and decide whether or not I’d like to read the book from that. Therefore, I came across House of Gold, liked the sound of it, and decided to read it. I’ve never read any of Natasha Solomons’ previous works, and I’d no idea that House of Gold is to be developed as a television series. To me, the Goldblum family sounded as divided as Queen Victoria’s descendants during World War 1.
House of Gold is based on the Rothschild family, about which I didn’t know much. A bit of research on my part revealed the extent of the similarities. Like the Rothschilds, the Goldblums are a multi-national banking family. The “house of gold” is the Austrian branch of the bank. Almost everything that happened to the Rothschilds happens to the Goldblums, including their forays into English politics. Even a quote made by British politician David Lloyd George about Nathan Rothschild appears here. There are occasions, however, when Solomons plays with the timing of real events to fit her fictional timeline.
This is the Gilded Age, Austrian style. The narrative starts with Greta agreeing to marry an English Goldblum, even though it means moving to an unknown country and marrying someone she’s never met. The reader gets several perspectives, including Greta, her brother Otto, and also that of a young homeless man by the name of Karl. Greta and Otto long for ordinary lives, but be careful what you wish for in this novel. Life isn’t all sweet, as evidenced by the life of their French cousin, Henri. The first half of the book is set pre-World War One. The second takes place in 1917, when everything has changed.
The ending is sudden. It made me happy and sad at the same time. I wanted to know more. There had to be more. It wasn’t even 1918. There were still unresolved plot points. Yes, this is the story of a woman living in an arranged marriage, but the other characters had become important as well. But how do you create a sequel that does House of Gold justice? I’m not sure you can.
Disclaimer: I received an electronic Uncorrected Advance Proof of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not required to write a review, and the words above are my own.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (an imprint of Penguin Group)
Publication Date: 23 October 2018