Title: The House at Tyneford
Author: Natasha Solomons
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: When I close my eyes I see Tyneford House.
Welcome to our final read-along discussion of The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons. (Read our previous discussions: part one, part two, and part three.) Spoiler warning: We will be discussing the The House at Tyneford in detail, both in this post and the comments section.
Wow! First, let me acknowledge that I was wrong in the prediction I made in the third discussion post – at least, in part. I was not surprised that Mr. Rivers and Elise ended up together – but I was surprised that they actually got married and made it last until their old age. I wasn’t bothered by the age difference, especially because of the way they were thrown together. Elise lost yer youth and innocence very quickly in the face of the war, and their common grief forged a bond that was stronger than the one that Elise and Kit had.
As you can see from my 5-star rating above, I thoroughly loved this book. I know that the character of Elise was divisive, with some people really disliking her, but I liked her character. I understood why she was a bit spoiled at the beginning, and the source of some of her poor decisions. And yet, she showed a strength and determination – in her own will to survive and her hope to bring her parents to Tyneford – that I couldn’t help but admire.
After I finished the book, I was perusing the author’s web site and came across some reading group questions. I thought I would post those for our final discussion. Feel free to either answer these questions, write your own thoughts, or write a review to wrap things up – just be sure to leave a link in the comments section below. And thank you so much for reading along with me – it made the experience more rewarding than it would have been if I’d read on my own.
What is your opinion of where Mr. Rivers and Elise’s relationship ends up?
I already answered that one above.
As you see it, what events led to Tyneford’s fate?
One of the scenes that impacted me emotionally was when Mr. Wrexham tells Elise that she still has her job, even after the crazy stunt she pulled at Kit’s birthday party. Wrexham tells her that she will be the downfall of Tyneford. After finishing the book, I don’t believe it was Elise that brought about the end of that way of life, but the war itself. Without the war, Elise would never have been there, they wouldn’t have lost most of the serving staff, Kit wouldn’t have been killed, and they wouldn’t have ultimately lost the house and grounds to the government.
What significance did Tyneford have to Elise, Kit, and Mr. Rivers?
Tyneford seemed like so much more than just a house or piece of property. Because it was secluded on the coast, the whole village was like a country unto itself. In many ways, it was a way of life, a livelihood, and a family. In post-war England, I don’t think it was something that would ever exist again in the same way.
Can a place like Tyneford exist in today’s world?
Oops – already answered that! I will add that I think today’s technology has made everyone so connected with everyone else – and that would make an insular community like Tyneford nearly impossible.
Why do you think the novel in the viola blank?
I have to admit that I am completely stumped on this. The only thing I could think of was that Julian wanted to give Elise something of his that would give her hope, and that was all he could think of. I did really hate the way Margot reacted to Elise after she told her about the novel – and then that the novel was blank. In the face of the war and the loss of their parents, I would think that Margot would have wanted to hold on to the only family she had left. Instead, she let something relatively minor come between them for years and years. All that wasted time makes me sad.