Tatiana de Rosnay’s new book is the fictionalized story of Rose Bazelet and her opposition to the destruction of her family home during Haussman’s renovation of Paris between 1853 and 1870. Haussman’s radical plan was criticized for the large-scale destruction it caused; however, in recent times he has been credited with establishing Paris as a modern city.
de Rosnay is best known for her bestselling book, Sarah’s Key. Like Sarah’s Key, The House I Loved centers around solid characters, a strong sense of place, and a time of significant historical events.
Rose Bazelet believes houses tell stories. Her family home represents generations of Bazelets and the lives, culture, and traditions experienced by the people who lived in the home before her. For Rose, her home represents extreme happiness and heartbreak. When the order comes that her home will be expropriated as a part of Napoleon III’s vision for a modern Paris, Rose refuses to stand idle and witness the destruction of her home and community. When Rose realizes she is powerless to fight against the order, she sets out to tell her story as a desperate attempt to record her time in the house. Rose’s story unfolds through letters Rose writes to her beloved late husband, Armand.
I listened to this book and Kate Reading’s narration is excellent. The narration added to the strong sense of place de Rosnay creates in this book. Although the story does not carry the same emotional impact as Sarah’s Key, it is a strong story none-the-less and brings to light a period of history that I enjoyed learning more about. ~Enjoy~