Read The Song of Hartgrove Hall by Natasha Solomons Online


A captivating novel that evokes the author’s New York Times bestseller The House at Tyneford  Natasha Solomons’s breathtaking new novel has it all: a love triangle, family obligations, and rediscovering joy in the face of grief, all set against the alluring backdrop of an English country estate.It's a terrible thing to covet your brother’s girl   New Year’s Eve, 1946. CanA captivating novel that evokes the author’s New York Times bestseller The House at Tyneford Natasha Solomons’s breathtaking new novel has it all: a love triangle, family obligations, and rediscovering joy in the face of grief, all set against the alluring backdrop of an English country estate.It's a terrible thing to covet your brother’s girl   New Year’s Eve, 1946. Candles flicker, a gramophone scratches out a tune as guests dance and sip champagne— for one night Hartgrove Hall relives better days. Harry Fox-Talbot and his brothers have returned from the war determined to save their once grand home from ruin. But the arrival of beautiful wartime singer Edie Rose tangles the threads of love and duty, and leads to a devastating betrayal.   Fifty years later, now a celebrated composer, Fox reels from the death of his adored wife, Edie. Until his connection with his four-year old grandson - a piano prodigy – propels him back into life, and ultimately to confront his past. An enthralling novel about love and treachery, joy after grief, and a man forced to ask: is it ever too late to seek forgiveness?...

Title : The Song of Hartgrove Hall
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780147517593
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Song of Hartgrove Hall Reviews

  • Jane
    2019-02-19 13:27

    Harry Fox-Talbot, a noted English composer, was devastated when his beloved wife died. She had been a celebrated singer, music had brought them together, bound them together, and illuminated their lives; but now Fox – he had always been known as Fox – could not listen to music let alone think of playing or composing.He had no idea what to do with his days; or how he might live the rest of his life.But he found inspiration.Inspiration came in the unlikely shape of his grandson, a troublesome four year old who was driving his mother – one of Fox’s two daughters - to distraction. One day he did something that made Fox realise that he had the musicality that his daughters – and his other grandchildren – lacked; in time it became clear that he was something of a prodigy.Fox took steps – quite instinctively – to nurture his grandson’s talent; and as he did that his own love of music and life came creeping back. This was so lovely to watch.Of course it wasn’t easy. Fox had to learn to teach a pupil who was not easy to manage; and he soon realised that his pupil needed more that he could offer.There were resentments because Fox was engaging with his grandson as he never had with his daughters. Natasha Solomons showed wonderful understanding of family dynamics here and throughout the story.Fox threw a wonderful party for his only grandson’s fifth birthday; he didn’t understand why his daughters were less than happy, until they told him that he had never taken any interest in birthday parties when they were children, and that he had always been unhappy when any concern of theits pulled him away from his music.There was another occasion, later in the book, when he thought they were doing the wrong thing for his grandson, but he accepted that he had to stand back, and maybe pick up the pieces afterwards ….Meanwhile, it was still a struggle to come to terms with a life without his wife, with the knowledge that he was getting older, and with the that there were things in his life – things from the past – that he still had to try to put right.There was another story set against this one.The Fox-Talbot family home – Hartgrove Hall – was requisitioned during the war; it was handed back when the war was over. And then a father and his three very different sons – Fox was the youngest – were faced with the daunting prospect of restoring a house and land with means that were limited to say the least.The house was beautifully evoked and gloriously described; everything is this story is. It is written in prose that is beautiful and lyrical, that is enriched by references to music and nature, and that evokes times and places so very well.For the young Fox there was another complication: he fell in love with Edie Rose, the lovely sister who he met as his brother’s girlfriend, and who would become his brother’s wife.How Fox got both the house and the girl is the mystery that is threaded through this story. But of course there is so much more here than mystery.Fox was a wonderful narrator and I loved coming to know him as a young and an old man. He drew me into his story, he made me care about him and about what would happen, and I came to understand his hopes and his dreams, his loves and his fears.I saw his world and the people whose lives touched his so very clearly.I loved the way that his story spoke so profoundly about family, love, friendship, loss, grief, regret, acceptance …. so many things. There are times when it is heart-breaking, there are times when it is uplifting; and every emotion is pitch perfect.I loved the tone. It was elegant, it was elegiac, and it suited the story that was unfolding so well.It’s one of those stories that created a world that captivated me and that I really didn’t want to leave.I can pick out some things that didn’t quite work. The ‘song collector’ concept that gives the book its title isn’t integrated as well as it might be. Edie Rose’s own story was a little under-written. But in the end those things really didn’t matter.Sometimes a book speaks to you, and this one spoke to me.I loved it.

  • Rachel
    2019-02-10 15:40

    This book starts off slow and you'll be tempted to keep putting it down to find something else to do. Then half way through the book, you're wishing that there are more hours in the day so you can just sit and read it straight through. Then when you're finished with it, you're wishing that you hadn't rushed through it. It is a sublimely haunting book. If you like Kate Morton's books, you will like this one. However, this one is not a gothic mystery though it does focus on a big old home like Downton Abbey, with one exception. It's an old home that is losing its battle with time. It focuses on a brother's love for his brother's wife. It focuses on music. It focuses on a special relationship between a man and his grandson. It is a story of the times. This is simply one of my favorite books this fall.

  • Marjorie
    2019-02-05 20:37

    This is a profoundly moving, beautifully written book that captured my heart immediately. I used to read a lot of books about old English mansions and the families living in them with all their secrets. I’ve gotten away from them as they seemed to become too predictable to me. This one was a pure delight and one day I’d like to read it again just so I can once again return to Hartgrove Hall.This book soars with music throughout – the music of voices, the music of instruments, the music of bird song, the music of the trees and the very ground of Hartgrove Hill. The passion of the music in this book will take your breath away. The story is a simple one. Harry (Little Fox) desires to compose a symphony when he’s called upon by his two brothers, Jack and George, to stay at Hartgrove Hall and help them save the crumbling family property. He’s in love with Jack’s girl, Edie, which complicates matters. The book fluctuates between that period of time in their lives and fifty years later when Harry is grieving for his deceased wife. The only thing that helps him through this heartbreaking time is his grandson, Robin, a difficult child of 4 with a very special gift.The author has crafted a literary work of art and music that will long stay a part of my heart. The characters, their humor and drama were all marvelous. Harry is a song collector and travels throughout the area trying to find old folk songs that he writes down in a book. I loved walking the hills of Dorset, England with him as he searches for songs. “The Song of Hartgrove Hall” is titled “The Song Collector” in England.I’m trying to think if there is anything negative about the book but I can’t think of a thing. To me, it was perfection from the first page to the last. Highly recommended.I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

  • Erika Robuck
    2019-01-28 20:27

    Rarely does one find such a wholly satisfying arrangement in a novel as author Natasha Solomons presents in THE SONG OF HARTGROVE HALL. The Downton Abbey-esque settings, the distinct and memorable characters, and the vivid and touching emotions work in matchless harmony. The following quotes reflect the themes of love, music, and grief, which the reader will experience in full and absorbing array on its pages.Love: "I want her to understand that I've written this part for her. I know what her voice can do, how best to release that sound. She's been fastened into those silly patriotic songs like cheap costumes, and at last she's dressed in silk. I see in her face that she knows it too, and as she sings, a pure iridescent sound that reverberates through me, I catch her eye, wide with surprise. Listen to what you can do, I tell her through the music. Listen. You are the nightingale but not the one they think."Music:"[He] stood motionless in the middle of the room. He listened with his hands held out before him, fingers spread as though catching notes like snowflakes. The hall glowed with sound. It poured down upon us from the gallery in reds and gold and yellow."Grief: "Sometimes for hours or even days I'd function perfectly well. Then, something would trigger it. The knowledge of an anniversary--'Today a year ago was the last time we walked around the garden together'--...Then in the sudden silence, the grief would catch me and bear me off on grey tides. I was helpless until it receded once more and despair dwindled into ordinary unhappiness."I highly recommend this book.

  • Veronica ⭐️
    2019-02-04 14:48

    Harry Fox-Talbot is floundering in grief, unable to cope after the death of his capable and vivacious wife, Edie. His daughter Carol is also finding it hard coping with her active young son, Robin. Desperately needing a break she leaves Robin with Harry for a few hours. Edie would have known what to do? But Edie was no longer there and Harry must learn to connect with a child he has previously had nothing to do with.1946- The Fox-Talbot boys together with their father, the General, are coming home to Hartgrove Hall. After seven years of neglect during the war their home was now a shell of its former glory. As the three brothers battle conflicting interests and little money they band together to save their beloved Hartgrove Hall from demolition.The Song Collector is written in two time frames 2000-2007 and 1946-1959. Our narrator is Harry Fox-Talbot, the youngest of the Fox-Talbot boys he was fondly called Little Fox. Harry being much younger than his brothers never thought he quite measured up to them. They were dashing and brave, they went to war whereas he went to school.”I’m not quite six foot and not quite handsome. My eyes aren’t as blue as my brothers’ but I’ve observed that when I sing girls forget I’m not as tall as they’d thought and not as handsome as they’d hoped.”Solomons has a captivating way with words, words that go straight to the heart. The prose are like a song in your heart. The engaging descriptions of the scenery and changing seasons made it easy to visualise.The Song Collector is a story of love, family, lose, grieving and letting go. It’s also a story about lifelong friendship, forgiveness and reconciliations. It is not only heartbreaking but also uplifting and humorous, full of emotion.This is not a story to be devoured in one sitting it’s a story to be savoured and digested slowly, like a decadent dessert.It will make you laugh, make you cry and ponder the effects of music and song on our lives.With thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

  • P.D.R. Lindsay
    2019-02-16 14:46

    Sometimes, rarely these days, a book takes my breath away in its scope, depth and understanding of the human condition. 'The Song Collector' is one of these novels. There is nothing earth shattering in the plot, but the writer has a way with words and an understanding of the universal human emotions which never change and affect us all so profoundly. This novel deals with grief and love, jealousy and obsession, and does it brilliantly. The novel starts at with grief, a death, and it is at the end of our MC's life. Then we jump back to the family returning to the family home after WWII has ended. The novel then jumps forwards and backwards to key moments in the characters' lives. There is a rhythm and pattern to this movement so it is not as disconcerting as I expected it to be.Characters are vital in any novel. Here, because the plot is simple, the characters must attract the reader, and they do. Our song collector is the youngest son of the Fox-Talbot family, Harry, called Fox, brothers Jack and George have been through the war. Harry has been at school and then Cambridge. It's when Jack comes home with Edie Rose, the sweetheart of the soldiers and singer of those sentimental war songs that the brothers have problems. They all love Edie. Jack wins out and Harry heads for London and music. He has been collecting folk songs for years and now he finds ways to use the melodies in his compositions. There are many lively characters, a lot of information about the world of music, and tangled emotions. I enjoyed Harry's thoughts as he tried to cope with grief and his daughters' earnest efforts to get him alive again. It takes discovering that his difficult grandson is musically gifted to get him to live. It's a lovely book about human emotions and very human characters. They stayed with me long after I'd finished reading.A book for readers who love depth, humanity, and music. A must read for most.

  • Reindert Van Zwaal
    2019-01-24 13:20

    I liked this book pretty much. It switches between two time frames, the lives of the young and the old Fox. The part on the past is a nice support of the present as it clarifies Fox's relationship with his wife Edie. The book was touching in various parts, the music described very lively and the surroundings sprang to life just so real. However, here were parts wherein not much happened and the ending was a bit sudden. All in all a nice read, I enjoyed!

  • The Lit Bitch
    2019-02-04 16:27

    I have a lot of wonderful things to say about Solomons writing. Her prose is breathtaking, beautiful, descriptive, and moving. I felt like I was right there at Hartgove Hall. The descriptions of the house were stunning and elegant, I fell in love with the house much as the brothers did.I would gladly rave about Solomons writing abilities all day long….she has a wonderful gift for elegant prose that fits within the time period and captures the essence of romance and nostalgia that a book like this needs…..where I struggled the most was with the characters, one in particular.The love triangle intrigued me quite a bit. It reminded me a little of The Legends of the Fall movie….three brothers fall in love with a beautiful woman already engaged to one of the brothers (likely the least deserving). I was eager to see how this situation all came about and ultimately was resolved plus I love The Legends of the Fall movie and since this sounded similar I was all about it….however, I had trouble connecting with Edie. Throughout the novel I kept waiting and waiting for something to distinguish Edie as a woman worthy of this kind of love triangle…..and it just never happened for me.I failed to see what the big fuss was with her. Fox told the audience all about her and how he loved her so much but I never really felt like the love was mutual or as ‘breathtaking’ as Fox was making it out to be. I never really connected with Edie and I never felt like she was worthy of the affection all the brothers had for her so that was my biggest issue with the book.The other thing that was a bit of a struggle was that the book was slow. I was well into the book (55%) before it started picking up. On one hand, I appreciated the time that Solomons spent describing the house and this romantic atmosphere that the story needed but at the same time, it was tedious and it took too long to really get into the story for me which disappointed me. It took me a LONG time to finish this book…..much longer than I expected.I normally love duel time novels like this, and I thought in this case the duel time worked well at times I felt like the time period switches were ill timed…..for one thing, they were long stretches at a time. I found that by the time we returned to the specified period, I had forgotten a lot of what happened prior to that. So I would have liked to have seen the period switches more frequent.Over all while I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped, I am not completely turned off to Solomons as a writer. I still want to read her other books such as The House at Tyneford because her writing style is truly wonderful and I love books about old English country estates and family dramas so her books are totally my type of books, it just so happens this one fell short for me but just because one book wasn’t a knock out for me doesn’t mean I am completely put off to others by the same author. Others might really enjoy this book, but for me I was hoping for more.See my full review here

  • Amanda Zirn
    2019-02-07 18:44

    As a huge fan of both Natasha Solomon and classical music, I immediately fell in love with The Song of Hartgrove Hall. Natasha's writing transports you to the beautiful English countryside with characters who are so well developed you feel like you've known them for ages. The Song of Hartgrove Hall will have fans of classical music smiling as they read (and hear) the music flowing through the pages and have anyone else falling in love with their newfound classical obsession. A perfect book for book clubs, fans of Downton Abbey, the English countryside, classical music... or more simply put, a magnificently lovely book.

  • Lorri
    2019-02-22 15:33

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The author's word-images exhaled poetic beauty, illuminating all of my senses.

  • Robert Blumenthal
    2019-01-31 15:45

    This novel was such a pleasant surprise. Full disclosure, I am a musician and composer, so it was very much easier for me to relate to this story (though I am not British or live in a giant, old house). It involves two stories in fact, one starting in 1946 that involves a family of 3 brothers, two of whom compete for the same beautiful Jewish singer Edie Rose. It's established early on who the eventual "winner" was, as the book starts in the year 2000 with the youngest brother Fox mourning the death of his beloved Edie. The second story revolves around Fox's grandson, who is a masterful prodigy, playing at the young age of 5. The first story is one that is compelled by the desire to discover how Fox ends up with the enchanting Edie, and the second story is the development of his relationship with his odd but fascinating grandson. Fox is a musician and composer in his own right and sees the grandson as a means to revive his inner music and to rise from the grief of the death of his dear wife.There's also an old house in the mix and what is to become of it, as well as Fox's obsession with discovering the old folk songs of his region, which he incorporates and uses as inspiration for his compositions. The piece of the title becomes a representation of an important moment in his life and is played at several points in the novel. Without the knowledge and/or deep appreciation of classical music, this novel may be a bit tedious for some. I, however, found it enchanting and quite moving.

  • Ann
    2019-02-06 17:29

    Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.This really deserves 3.5 stars, but try as I might, I can't seem to round up like I usually do. Natasha Solomons is a talented writer who is able to evoke music and nature beautifully. I loved that she has a strong personal interest in folk song collecting and I couldn't help but hum Ralph Vaughn Williams as I read. The structure of the book makes the plot so compelling, which I don't find always happens with parallel narratives. Everything was in place for me to really love this, but I still don't know that I can say I'm glad I read it. I found it easy to put aside, even though I never wanted to quit it completely. The whole thing felt weirdly hollow and I never felt connected to the characters. This will unfortunately be forgotten in the next week.

  • Michelle
    2019-02-09 14:18

    Natasha Solomons has officially entered my short "will read anything she writes" list. As lyrical, gripping, moving, and memorable as House of Tyneford, I completely soaked this one up. Including a meaningful modern-day storyline in an otherwise historical work is a tough feat but I love, love, love what Solomons did in this book. So very well crafted.

  • RoseMary Achey
    2019-02-12 17:33

    Typically I really enjoy dual-time novels however this novel did not strike the right chord. I failed to love Edie, one of the main female characters, as so many others in the novel apparently did. This is a love story but told from a man's perspective. Love for his family's estate, love for a girl, and love of music is the real love triangle in this story.

  • Anna At A Wondrous Bookshelf
    2019-02-09 20:33

    Beautiful novel! This is book that starts out slow but the prose is absolutely beautiful.

  • Karen
    2019-01-25 20:19

    I really liked this book and can't remember who recommended it to me, but thanks for doing so! I finished it in 3 sittings; it was easy to read and yet not at all simple or simplistic. The book alternates between following the young Harry Fox-Talbot in the years after World War II and then picks up again when he's in his late 70s during the 2000s. There are several themes that resonate throughout: the power of music; the land and home from which people get their roots; love; family; loyalty. I think I would define this book as a very high-class soap opera, but it's not in the least trite or trivial, and Solomons uses language in a powerful and beautiful way. Give this book a shot and I think you'll like it: I've ordered three more of her books so will report again in the future.

  • Helen O'Toole
    2019-01-23 18:23

    A delightful book in so many ways. Loved the sense of history that pervaded the novel and the various characters. I especially loved Robin, the grandson and musical prodigy.

  • Donna Doyle
    2019-02-03 18:44

    Loved it, I will miss the main character who helps you look at life through many lenses and yet when you wanted to cry he made you laugh. So good.

  • Liz
    2019-02-21 21:23

    I enjoyed feeling like I was living in the English countryside, all the references to music, and most of the characters. I didn't love all of their choices though.

  • Bachyboy
    2019-01-30 21:44

    This took me so long to get into I almost abandoned it but when I checked the reviews on here so many people had given it five stars. So I persisted and I am glad I did. I liked the character Fox much more in the second half of the novel and his grandson Robin was a delight. Helps to have a bit of a working knowledge of classical music for this novel.

  • Jo Castle
    2019-02-20 18:18

    So, holy crap, this book. I really liked it.Where do I start? I don't purport to be any sort of expert on English folksongs, or even to have any sort of knowledge of them at all- in fact, it really annoys me when my relatives get drunk and start howling sea shanties. I also don't have a musical bone in my body. Usually I dislike narratives that incorporate a shy, reserved protagonist and music, because nine times out of ten they wind up as some kind of cliched "WOW, THEY REALLY CAN SING! YKNOW, DESPITE BEING QUIET" monstrosity. This book is the one time out of ten where such a thing really impressed me.I really liked the character of Fox, actually, and being able to alternately see him as a fresh-faced bachelor and a crochety old man really brought out all the facets of him, especially in his interactions with Edie and George, respectively. I know technically the romance with Edie is probably the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope in action but screw it, I don't care, I'm eschewing my inner feminist critic for this book specifically because goddamn was it written beautifully. Actually, this whole book is beautiful and I'm not just saying that because I got a fancy hardback edition from the library with illustrated inside covers too (although that might have helped)- the synaesthesia is strong with this prose. It's a bit harder to conjure music in your head than it is visuals, usually, especially if you don't know the first thing about music (like me), but Solomons doesn't struggle with that whatsoever. The words just lift sound straight off the page. This is not a book you can read with headphones in. Having your ears free and undistracted is requisite for being able to pay full attention to this book.Minor point: it really made me happy to see the accreditations at the back of the book, including the link to an ongoing online folksong encyclopedia. This book really made me appreciate the idea of the folksong more. Being able to see the names of the passionate people whose love for folksongs inspired Fox's own felt really heartwarming, and the opportunity to see real-life song-collecting even moreso. That little thing in general encapsulates another thing I found appealing about this book: magic and imagination blended with the real world. Realistic troubles, heartbreaks and worldly discomfort really added catharsis to the (numerous) scenes where characters just settle down and play music. The reader is invited to get lost in music just as Fox does, with the only difference being sensory. The plot doesn't try and throw many curveballs, and there isn't really anything that happens that I would say makes this book radically different from others- but this adds to it, I think. Fox's self-doubt, weariness and consistent heartbreak in chasing Edie are all too relatable, and as prodigious and unique as George is considered to be in-story, I'm pretty sure we all know a George or at least someone strikingly similar, where we just ache for them to be appreciated the way they deserve. This is a very comforting book to read in that regard.Also, I really liked the late 40s/early 50s setting of the book, and my own personal veneration of petticoats and coiffed hair is only partially to blame. Despite the general rosiness and romance of the book, I like that the "dreamy wartime chanteuse" character type is deconstructed through Edie. That made her slight MPDG-ness bearable- her past and the way she acknowledges the persona she's constructed humanises her, makes her her own character as well.I can't think of any particular group I would think to recommend this book to- it has quite a wide spectrum of appeal, considering having no real musical knowledge wasn't a barrier to my enjoyment of it. It's probably not a book for you if you're a type who enjoys thrillers or lightning-pace or wildly different turns of plot to the norm, but save for all that, it's gorgeous and if you've been interested enough to read this review of mine all the way to the end then you should probably get a copy for yourself.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-13 16:29

    Some books are like Niagara Falls, a swiftly flowing river coming to a calamitous end. Others are more like a stagnant pond, barely moving at all. The Song of Hartgrove Hall is like a slow, meandering river through the forest, not too fast, not too slow, not too wide, not too narrow - just right. It seems that nothing much happens in this novel - but that is the point. However, when it is over, you realize how much has occurred. This novel is one of love, betrayal, joy, grief, and forgiveness, not necessarily in that order. I found this novel enjoyable - a nice read, indeed.

  • Roger Brunyate
    2019-02-14 18:19

    Fantasy in F MinorAt least this is better than the cover illustration, which suggests another tired old period romance, centered around a venerable old house in the English countryside, Downton Abbey lite. Not that this element is absent. Three brothers, Jack, George, and Harry Fox-Talbot, return in 1946 to their house, Hartgrove Hall, nestled in a Dorset valley, its general dilapidation exacerbated by military occupation during the War. Their father, the General, waiting out his years with an aging butler, threatens to have it demolished. A further complication is that Harry (more commonly known as Fox) falls in love with their house guest, Edie Rose.* Fox, the first-person narrator, is an aspiring musician, and realizes there is more to Edie than the sentimental ballads that brought her huge fame as a singer during the War. The problem is that she is the girlfriend of his brother Jack, who infinitely exceeds Fox in his experience with women.The postwar chapters alternate with others beginning in 2000, when Fox, now a famous composer, is living in an apparently restored Hartgrove Hall, mourning the recent death of his wife of many years—yes, Edie. So the question is how he got from there to here, winning the woman and saving the house. The story has just about enough twists and turns to keep you going, though you shouldn't ask too many questions about the likelihood of this or that. Just go with the flow.What makes the novel different is the focus on music. This first catches fire in a modern chapter, when Fox is saddled with looking after his four-year-old terror of a grandson, Robin, and accidentally discovers that the boy has an extraordinary ear for music. For a musician like myself, the sections focusing on Robin in the present and Fox's own musical development in the past are alternately thrilling and infuriating. Solomons clearly loves music, and there is so much she gets absolutely right. But so much she gets wrong too, starting with casting Fox as a kind of English folk romantic composer from the first part of the century like Ralph Vaughan-Williams, rather than a pioneer in the astringent postwar era. But don't get me started. Only by taking the book as a feel-good musical fantasy, bathing in it without scrutiny, could I get it to work at all. If you are not bothered by passages like the one below, you may well enjoy the novel—as I almost did myself, once I decided to ignore its many inconsistencies:I took him to a concert where, during the Moonlight Sonata, we counted fifty-three audience members asleep. I understood why the conductor pushed the brass section a little heavily.+ + + + + +*I have been thinking about possible models for Edie Rose. On the popular front, the obvious candidate is Vera Lynn, the "forces' sweetheart" whose sentimental songs like "We'll meet again" and "The White Cliffs of Dover" were staples of the chin-up soundtrack of WW2. But it is impossible to think of her as the classical musician that Edie so obviously is. The model for this side of her would be Kathleen Ferrier, an international star in the classical world, though a contralto rather than a soprano. Ferrier, so far as I know, did not tour the wartime bases as Lynn did, but her most popular recordings were of folk songs, which would tie her in with the song-collector Fox as he is portrayed in the novel.

  • Mike
    2019-01-27 19:38

    English composer, Harry Fox-Talbot, tells his story over two contrasting periods of time, from the late forties into the early fifties, and then in the early part of the present century. In the early period he falls deeply ˗ and futilely ˗ in love with his oldest brother’s wife-to-be, a popular singer called Edie Rose. In the present time we learn that Harry actually married Edie after all, and that she has recently died. His grief initially permeates this part of the story until he is revitalised by discovering that his very young grandson, Robin, is a child prodigy on the piano. Harry and his two older brothers have lived their early lives out in the somewhat aristocratic family home. Now, after the war, it’s in danger of falling down. Part of the story relates to their varying attempts to rescue the home and its estates; part of it is concerned with the way in which place has a valuable hold on our lives, and yet can also be a constraint.Music is deeply ingrained in the story, both in terms of serious composition and the collection of soon-to-be-forgotten folk-songs. Conductors, orchestras, singers and pianists float through its pages, and there are some wonderful (and occasionally improbable) performances of music. The way in which life impinges on a musician’s ability to work surfaces continually.But the book is also about family and its ties and loves, forgiveness, nature, grief, and much more. Full of charm, wit and humour, with solidly drawn characters, this is an entertaining read on a number of levels. As a musician, I found, for the most part, that Solomons gets it right in terms of how people write and perform music. Which makes it all the more strange that there are some mis-namings of conventional music terms. There's no such thing, as far as I know (and I've been a musician for over sixty years) as a 'piano symphony.' A piano concerto is the usual term. Nor is a conductor likely to be involved in the playing of a sonata (even less so, a group of brass players): sonatas are played by one instrumentalist only, and such an instrumentalist would be very irritated at having a conductor at his side! And just one other quibble. One of the male characters is mentioned as doing up the buttons on his fly as he exits a toilet: in the present century I think there are very few men who still wear trousers with buttons in the fly.

  • Pat
    2019-02-12 17:22

    I just didn't love this book. Natasha Solomons' writing is beautiful; as she describes the English countryside and gardens and grounds of Hartgrove Hall I could almost see, hear, and smell it. But, I had a hard time with one of the main characters. Edie is the driving force of the novel; girlfriend and later wife to one brother, loved by the other two brothers, the cause of a decades-long family rift, but she just wasn't developed fully enough for me to see WHY two men were so desperately in love with her. The other female "love interest" felt more like a place holder until Edie stepped in. I had a difficult time with the adultery and the fact that the happiness of the two main characters was based on infidelity and ruining two other peoples' lives. The music portion was good--Solomons did a good job in getting inside the mind of composer and showing how driven he was by music and the need to create. However--I'm not a great music expert, but when she spoke about a brass section in "Moonlight Sonata" I scratched my head in puzzlement, because that piece is for piano... Anyway, so-so book but not one I can recommend with any enthusiasm due to the weak character development of Edie and the underlying adultery

  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    2019-02-01 21:33

    This story crawls a bit in the beginning and then I started to get into the character's hearts and minds. Reading about an English estate in decline sent me back to my happy years in England. As Harry "Fox" comes home from boarding school, his brothers are back from war. Father wants to rid them all of the estate and be done with it after seeing it's ruinous crumbling condition- from the effects of time and troops using it as housing. The sons have other plans to save it. Older brother Jack has the lovely Edie, a Jewish singer, a his side and Fox, being musically gifted himself falls hard for her. So hard that he is enthralled. At one point he leaves and studies under a famous conductor but we know he ends up with the songbird, living a life filled with children and a grandchild, one extremely gifted. But how does he end up with his brother's girl? In between there is a struggle with loyalty, self-sacrifice, desire, ambition, passion... The readers are sent through time from the 40's to the present and everything changes as life takes it's toll and shapes all of them. Lovely

  • DeAnn
    2019-02-01 13:30

    I LOVED this book! The characters were very realistic and I felt very much drawn into the time periods. I wish it came with a CD because music is an integral part of the story. I love Edie and wanted to hear more about her. The author did an expert job of writing chapters in the present day and then telling the story in the past. I want to visit Hartgrove Hall. Excellent portrayal of the complicated family relationships that develop, especially siblings. I discovered that I've missed one of Natasha Solomons books, so I'll be looking for that one. Highly recommended if you like historical fiction.

  • Jan
    2019-02-11 13:26

    I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel by the author of The House at Tyneford. The author is so skillful at creating an authentic and vivid atmosphere. It is post war England and the sons of a once wealthy estate owner have to face the prospect of losing their family home. When one of the sons brings home his girlfriend, an enchanting wartime singer named Edie Rose, the other sons immediately fall for her. The ensuing tension fuels this family saga.

  • Sheryl
    2019-01-28 13:35

    I eagerly anticipated this book, as I had enjoyed all of the author's previous books. Unfortunately, this book left me completely underwhelmed. I fell asleep several times while reading it, and even debated giving up. I did push through, and while the ending wasn't bad, it was rather anti-climactic.

  • Pam Mooney
    2019-02-03 14:21

    I love the perspective of two different generations as they struggle with love and loss. My favorite part of the book was the history of song collecting so cleverly woven into the story. There is so much passion in the adults and innocence in the children that it touches you as the characters play out their lives. A good read.