House of Gold by Natasha Solomons

House of Gold

Natasha Solomons

Set against a nuanced portrait of World War I, this is a sweeping family saga rich in historical atmosphere and heartbreakingly human characters.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford, an epic family saga about a headstrong Austrian heiress who will be forced to choose between the family she's made and the family that made her at the outbreak of World War I.

The start of a war. The end of a dynasty.

Vienna, 1911. Greta Goldbaum has always dreamed of being free to choose her own life's path, but the Goldbaum family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has different expectations. United across Europe, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children. Jewish and perpetual outsiders, they know that though power lies in wealth, strength lies in family.

So Greta moves to England to wed Albert, a distant cousin. Defiant and lonely, she longs for connection and a place to call her own. When Albert's mother gives Greta a garden, things begin to change. Perhaps she and Albert will find a way to each other.

But just as she begins to taste an unexpected happiness, war is looming and even the influential Goldaums can't alter its course. For the first time in two hundred years, the family will find themselves on opposing sides and Greta will have to choose: the family she's created or the one she was forced to leave behind.

A sweeping family saga from a beloved and New York Times bestselling author, House of Gold is Natasha Solomons's most dazzling and moving novel yet.


Advance Galley Reviews

A memorable historical fiction novel set at the dawn of the Great War (WWI), the Goldbaum family is clearly inspired by the Rothschild family, the most famous Jewish famly in Europe, whose fortune was considered to be the greatest private fortune in the world during the 19th Century. A family saga that focuses on the challenges of being Jewish, even if wealthy, in this era, House of Gold allows the readers to see the Goldbaums as a powerful family whose wealth was their shield against the antisemitism that was pervasive in Europe well before WWII.

Set just before the start of WWI and then throughout the war, this slow moving (in a good way!) book follows a leading Jewish family entrenched in banking. The main character is Greta, who is being sent from her home in Austria to marry a distant cousin in London. Along with Greta, we also get POVs from her brother (Otto) and few other characters. In the first half(ish) part of the book, we get to see the opulence and the political reach of the Goldbaum family. As the war begins and the family communication is severed between the east and west family branches, we see how the war changed everyone's lives. The entire Goldbaum family is looked at askance, either because they are rich and Jewish or living in the wrong country (Greta). While some of the book deals with the mundaneness of life, like Greta building a garden, it really allows you a view of the time and how quickly the tides can turn against people. The description of the war from both sides was fascinating. And while it is set mainly in Europe, we also get to see how America is pulled into WWI in a way I had never really thought about. If you enjoy richly descriptive historical fiction with great characters, pick up House of Gold.

I think this is one of those books that you keep thinking about in the future. The characters, while not always fully likable, were well written and relatable. The story itself goes through time and the middle was not always interesting but the ending was well done. It was not completely satisfying, but I'm not sure that's always necessary. The perspective of banking on war was not something I had thought about before but it was a really interesting perspective to write a book on. The knowledge on flowers and gardening was also interesting, along with some of the personal ways war changes things.

Spread throught Europe the Goldbaums are a Jewish banking family. Through marriage the continute to strenghten their empire. When the daughter of the Austian branch marries the younger son of the Brittish branch the family this tradition continues. At the brink of WWI we get to see the diffrent cousins interacting and the effects of being jews in the banking industy facing being on opposite sides. I actually found this very interesting and read it fairly qickly.

Natasha Solomons' "House of Gold" is a fascinating and engrossing work of historical fiction. Set in the early 1900's, Solomons story follows members of the Goldbaum banking family as they navigate business and finance/politics across Europe and England prior to and through World War I. Austrian Greta Goldbaum marries her British distant cousin Albert (a family tradition "requires" cousins to marry) and both must navigate maintaining their independence while building a relationship steeped in tradition. As a reader, I cared about the characters in this extended family saga, celebrating and mourning with them as the story progresses. I strongly recommend this book and appreciate Penguin's First To Read giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this novel.

The Goldbaums are a wealthy family in the banking industry in the early 1900s who marry within the large family. Greta Goldbaum is from Austria and Albert Goldbaum is from England. They are distant cousins who marry because they are expected to, having never met each other. They go on to develope a relationship despite having no similar interests and personalities that seem to clash. In the background politics are simmering and eventually war breaks out. This is a very engrossing story rich with detail. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I really enjoyed this book for the first 50 or so pages, but then it just slowed down and I had a hard time maintaining my interest in it. The characters just seemed so remote and it was hard to relate to most of them. I did enjoy the parts when Greta became interested in her garden, and also the information about the role international banking played in WWI. This is one book in which I would have liked the ending to be wrapped up a little more neatly.

I had such high hopes for this novel. As a rule, I'm fascinated by all things WWI, and while I was initially charmed, I quickly lost interest. I tried and tried to push through to get to the "good" part, but I just could not. Unfortunately, I was ultimately just.. extremely bored, and unable to finish this read. It just wasn't for me.

I really wanted to love this book. However, 100 pages in, and it's a very slow read, which hasn't really kept my attention. I will have to cut my losses at this point.

I would have liked very much to read this ARC from First to Read in exchange for an honest review, but for some reason I was not able to open the book beyond the cover page. I have never had this problem before.

Unfortunately I had a hard time getting through this book. It started off slow and I lost interest halfway through so I didn't finish it. I'm an avid reader of historical fiction,but this one wasn't my cup of tea.

This was an excellent story about a European Jewish banking family, called the Goldbaums, set during the WW I time frame. There was lots of history and I learned some things that I didn't know; but the main focus was on the family. There were several branches of the family in countries all over Europe; so you had a glimpse into both sides of the conflict. The main focus of the story was Greta - a Goldbaum from Vienna who married an English Goldbaum. Her life and her relationships reflect the time and changing attitudes of this period. She was fascinating and I cared deeply about her for the whole book. I was rooting for her from the beginning, and I love how she developed and grew up. The other characters in the book are mainly her family - husband, brother, cousins, in-laws - and we also follow their stories and see the time through their eyes. Even though this book was long and had several story lines, it kept me engaged for the whole story; even the slower financial parts that I knew nothing about. They were somewhat dry, but also helped me to learn something I didn't know before. My only complaint with this book is that the ending left many things unresolved. I would have loved more resolution for these characters that I cared so much about. Hopefully, there will be a sequel someday. Overall, I'd say this was very good historical fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed the story and style of it. Thank you to First to Read for an advance copy.

I loved this story as it showed the progression of Greta from young adult to married wife and mother set during the lead up to World War I. This was more a family drama with a background of the war, and the unique position Greta and her husband Albert and their family was in due to their being Jewish. I loved reading the progression of Greta and Albert's relationship. Thanks to First to Read for this arc.

It was a little too long and slow for my liking? I did enjoy reading about the opulence of the Goldbaum family and during the time period.

Solomons tells the story of the European banking phenoms, the Goldbaum family, loosely based on the Rothschild family. It shows a family, spread across the continent but working in harmony, in terms of business, politics, and family life but forced to take sides in WWI. It focuses mostly around Greta, a member of the Austrian Goldbaums, who is preparing to many her distant cousin Albert, a member of the English Goldbaums at the start of the novel. It follows her from her engagement in 1910 through WWI, mostly through Greta's perspective but also from the perspectives of her husband Albert, her brother Otto, her brother-in-law Clement, her cousin Henri, and the Vienna street-urchin Karl. I enjoyed Solomons' way of storytelling, which has a good balance of plot and character development. I especially liked the way she allowed characters to grow and slowly change their mind about things, particularly Greta. Karl's story seems a bit disconnected for most of the book but is an interesting addition as it shows the reader a view of the Goldbaums from outside the family.

This book was slow and hard for me to get into. I really enjoyed Greta’s character, but felt the others were quite lackluster. I also think this book took too long to get to the point. I love historical fiction, but this was not for me.

This book was quite a bit slow, but I enjoyed the descriptions of the lifestyle of the Goldbaum family. I didn't love the ending-it just felt like some things were not resolved.

I love a good historical fiction book and this did not disappoint. The story follows a few members Goldbaum family in Europe. The main lady, who wants to break out of her familial mold-Greta, her husband-Albert, and her brother-Otto, who was probably my favorite character in the book. For those who may sometimes be leery of historical fiction, this book isn’t heavy on the historical party. It’s part of the story, but not the main focus. If you enjoy the riches and excess of Downton Abbey, you’ll love House of Gold. I really loved how the relationships among the couples unfolded. I found myself pulling for them, invested in them. The one that broke my heart was Otto and Karl. Their love was subtle but deep. I just kept thinking how lucky they were to have experienced something so beautiful in the midst of hell. I enjoyed the gardens because I love working outside and making my outdoor space beautiful. The imagery throughout the book allows you to really place yourself there. I recommend this book.

It's difficult to feel strongly about this book in one way or another, which leads me to say this was a perfectly ok book (think about that dreaded 'nice' date!). The characters are half-formed, the story is light on plot and turns of events are relatively predictable. It's fairly entertaining and might appeal to historical fiction buffs, but overall, in banking terms (since it's about a banking family), the return on investment isn't where one would hope.

The book is a bit long, but still very entertaining. I was especially affected by the trappings of the rich, especially the family train. Here is an excerpt that describes the train: Most of all, the ambassador was transfixed by the vast panorama painting that depicted the route of the Goldbaum Trans- Europe Express— all twelve hundred miles of it compressed into a painting half a mile in length. The painting was displayed in a wooden case with a large glass panel and was kept inside the observation car, with only three or four yards of it being visible at a time. Every hour one of the attendants would fit a handle into a mechanism at the side of the box and wind the painting on another few yards, so that it always reflected scenes through which the train was about to pass: the lights of the royal palace in Budapest, wheat fields pricked by bloody poppies or steamers on blue lakes. On the hour the ambassador would be standing beside the cabinet, gleeful as a schoolboy, waiting to see the panorama unfold. I was also reminded of how much the Jews are despised and distrusted - even when they are rich.

I did not finish this book. It was too slow. Too keep ch description about how rich they were and not enough plot.

House of Gold wasn't golden for me. I struggled to make my way through it and although the characters were interesting at times, they didn't pull me in and make me truly want to know what happens.

Another first to read book I didn’t thoroughly enjoy and wanted to. I put it down and did not have the urge to pick it back up. But from what I read, the descriptions and the history were done very well.

I really enjoyed this book. It started off a bit slow by introducing all of the characters in the family but it really picked up speed. I recommend this book.

I was unable to access this title after downloading.

I loved the beautiful descriptions in this book, especially when I felt as if I were walking next to Greta in her garden. The characters were well written: flawed and realistic, changing and growing throughout the novel. There were a couple story lines I would have liked to see tied up before the end, but I suppose it's more realistic when not everything is neat and tidy. I did really like the last scene.

I enjoyed this book a great deal. I always enjoy historical fiction. As I read, it reminded me of Downton Abbey. I liked the way the characters were pulled together and the transitions from one place and time to another. I cared about the characters as they were developed and had an emotional reaction to all that happened throughout the story. I will look for other books by this author and will be recommending this to my book club as a good read!

House of Gold by Natasha Solomon is an epic saga loosely based upon the House of Rothschild. The Goldbaum family runs the House of Gold in five major Europe cities. The main character is Greta Goldbaum of the Vienna branch. As the story begins, she is to be wed to Albert Goldbaum of the London branch. She has never met Albert so she is nervous as the wedding day approaches. The Goldbaums like to keep the money, wealth and power within their own family. Greta and Albert do not exactly hit it off at first, being that they have never met. As the story unfolds, Greta finds a purpose in her life in England through gardening. Gardening becomes a theme throughout the book. When things in Europe start to get heated up, the Goldbaum's try to stay involved using their power and wealth. But anti-semitism also begins to rise, pushing the Goldbaum's out of the inner circle. Since Greta is in England, she begins to receive a chilly reception as an unwelcome outsider. The story progresses into World War I. The House of Gold is split between the sides of the War. Natasha Solomon has done quite a lot of research for the novel which is demonstrated in her knowledge of the financial piece the wealthy played in WWI. I did not care for the book at first, reading how excessively wealthy the Goldbaums were. But the story drew me in and although the Goldbaums were wealthy, they faced the same issues that everyone faces. I enjoyed the book very much. The ending was a welcome surprise but also ended in a way that could lead to more books to continue the Goldbaum saga. I will read the next book if there is one! Thank you First to Read for an ARC digital edition of House of Gold.

I liked this book. it gave an interesting point of view of the world war. I would have preferred it to not have different narrators through the book, but aside from that I enjoyed it.

I loved this book. Natasha Solomon brought her characters to life against the opulent backdrop of their wealth. Great detail, strong characters and a compelling read. I would recommend it to all.

Good book. Good characters. Ended too soon. Did have some unfinished business, maybe. A possible book two. Good for us the readers.

I thought this book would have been so much more of a story. I enjoyed this story but big parts of it were left out. The ending left me wanting more. How did Albert escape the tragedy and return home safe? What government officials did the Goldbaums work with during the horrors of World War? The story only illustrates that money was given by the various houses of Goldbaum family for political goals and the end of progroms against the Jewish people. More should have been told about what was done and with whom. .The story needs a complete ending. And not leave us hanging at the end. I hoped to find another author of historical fiction along the lines of Elizabeth Costonova, Ken Follett, Diana Gabaldon, Charles Todd or M. C Beaton. I hope this author works toward improving this book and possibly sequels. This book needs the end story improved with more information about Greta and Albert and what they were planning for the future.

Beautiful, entrancing and haunting. Natasha Solomons pulled me into the world of the Goldbaums utterly and completely. I found Greta, a primary character, to be delightful and complex without edging into the territory of utterly unbelievable. She was relatable despite her extraordinary wealth. This story served to remind us that everyone has their own struggles, regardless of their station in this world. Ultimately any novel that relates to world war is going to be gut wrenching and House of Gold was no different in that arena. This being said, I felt that the story was balanced between glitz, glamour, pain and reality, no one can escape the atrocities that haunt humanity. If you like historical fiction this is a great read.

This book is full of well-developed characters and a detailed story. The author does an amazing job making you feel as though you are there or watching a film as you read as she makes the characters and story come alive!

Summary: Nicknamed the House of Gold, the Goldbaum’s Palace in Vienna, Austria in the early 20thcentury is an extraordinary display of wealth. The white limestone edifice trimmed in gold gilt, inside and out, gleams in the sunlight. At night, electric lights, a fairly new innovation, shine through the windows like beacons. The Goldbaums eat the finest foods and throw opulent parties. Beggars and street urchins feed themselves from the Goldbaums’ scraps. The Goldbaums are a family of powerful bankers. With offices in the major cities in Europe, they hold enormous power and wealth. Governments come to them for loans. And yet, they are not completely trusted by other powerful banking families. The Goldbaums are outsiders because they are Jewish. The patriarch of the Vienna family needs an heir to continue the family name and tradition. He has two children; a son, Otto, and a daughter, Greta. Otto is expected to learn and take over the business. Greta is expected to provide the heir. An arrangement is made for her to marry Albert Goldbaum, a distant cousin. Greta chafes at this. An impetuous, impish free spirit from early girlhood, Greta refuses to fit the mold of societal expectations. Albert, much more conservative, doesn’t know what to do with his wife and simply ignores her with barely concealed distaste. As the world starts changing around them and the foundations of the old ways of life begin cracking and shifting, Greta and Albert begin to find common ground. But war breaks out and they are once again pulled apart, their lives irrevocably changed. Comments: House of Gold is a gentle, genteel family saga with memorable, fully-realized characters. It also drives home the harsh realities of poverty, war and anti-Semitism. I became increasingly emotionally involved in the book as I read—much more than I expected at its beginning. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction and family sagas. I think this book would also make a great period piece film or a Masterpiece-style mini-series.

Ahhh the lifestyle of the Goldbaum aka Rothchild.......well described. Certainly not mine. Thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of the family. The details of their involvement in the world’s finances and then the war kept me wondering how close to the truth it was. Late starting this book but very glad I did.

I've long been a fan of Natasha Solomons, ever since reading The House at Tynford, so I was looking forward to this book. It did not disappoint. I found the premise intriguing: a family of Jewish bankers who influence the governments of their day through the cash flow that the world runs on. And yet their real strength lies in their family bonds. The Goldbaum influence begins to falter only when WWI breakS out and the cousins are divided by separate loyalties. With vivid settings and characters I came to care about, the novel also had an ethereal quality supported by unexpected twists on reality: a Jewish member of the House of Lords, the arranged marriages between Goldbaum cousins. And yet these twists are grounded in real events: the Russian pogroms that even the influential Goldbaums are unable to prevent; the sinking of the Titanic, although the ship's name is only hinted at. I found myself skipping over some of the denser passages with too much detail about the Goldbaum men's scientific pursuits. These may be fascinating to other readers, but I felt they slowed the pacing a bit. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book very much, including i's surprising ending, and found it a compelling and entertaining read.

This book was very vivid in its descriptions of places and objects. I was there feeling and experiencing everything. I had a harder time with the characters. They were faint and foggy to me. There were so many. It was difficult to keep straight at first. I would still recommend this book for its beautiful descriptive writing.

A wonderful book that I was not prepared when it ended...hopefully Natasha Solomon will continue the Goldbaum’s story with a sequel. Historical fiction is always intriguing and usually offers new perspectives on history and House of Gold did not disappoint. With the Goldman family involved in the finances of most of Europe, the range of experiences was wide and global, especially during WW1 as family members were fighting for their country and still maintaining financial connections during the war. Excellent book!

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. At the beginning there was too much fluff, I.e. detailed descriptions of houses and rooms and I wasn’t really sure that I cared for Greta at all. But the book eventually grabbed me and I started to care about the fate of Greta, Albert, Otto, Henri, etc. I also loved the importance of gardens throughout the entire book and especially as a way to keep all the characters connected. My only complaint is that I didn’t understand a lot of the financial dealings especially those when Albert went to America. But those are my failings. I loved the ending which is the best kind of ending; one of hope

The Goldbaum banking family of Austria and other European countries was so excessively rich they had their own orchestra to perform at dinner. They owned their own train to carry them throughout Europe, their own vineyards to produce the best wines, and many palaces where Greta Goldbaum became lost inside. After her birth, Greta’s mother visited her 3 or 4 times a week in her nursery. Greta was expected to grow up and marry a distant cousin to keep the wealth within the family. Both before and after her marriage ,Greta was one sly and independent young woman. The setting for the book began in Austria, but traveled to other cities in Europe in the early years of the 20th century. There were very detailed descriptions of Greta and her husband Albert, plus a few other family members. Their lives were not always rosy despite their wealth. I believe the novel could possibly be based on the lives of the real-life Rothschild family, especially with Albert Goldbaum’s interests in Zoology.

The Goldbaum family has wealth and power throughout Europe but all of that could change with the rise of anti-Semitism. It's 1911 and an arranged marriage is set for Greta Goldbaum of Vienna and her distant cousin, Albert who is part of the Goldbaum family in England. But will Greta ever truly love her husband when they seem to have nothing in common? And will World War 1 tear the Goldbaum family apart? I love family dramas. I love European historical fiction, and have read quite a few novels that take place during World War 1. But despite this book having elements I normally enjoy, the book just fell short of being anything but average. I think the author tried to cram in too much into the book and as a result the story suffered. The book bounced around between too many characters and had story lines that rather than contribute made it lack a clear focus. My overall reading experience was I enjoyed bits and pieces but as a whole I expected more. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!

Was unable to download a copy that would open. Sounded like a book I would have enjoyed.

House of Gold (i.e. House of Rothschild) is a story of a European Jewish banking family during the 1910s. While the family has houses in England, France, Germany, and Austria this story revolves around the England and Austrian houses. The first half of the book is about the marriage of the Austrian daughter to the English son. Imagine marrying your distant cousin. The second half of the book is about the Great War. I found two parts of the story the most interesting. The first is the garden that Greta builds and her lady gardeners. The other part was the financial aspect of the houses and how the war can effect that. The idea that while the houses were separate they still relied on each other to financially survive. But when war splits the countries of Europe in half the house split as well. This was a very enjoyable book and was nice to have a war novel be set during the Great War and not World War II.

I enjoyed this book. Great light reading for a rainy day. I thought that the author’s description of the time period (the opulence of the Goldbaum family vs. the horrid conditions of the poor) were nicely juxtaposed. It’s obvious that the Goldbaum family are standing in for the Rothschild family. However, I thought that a lot of the characters were sort of bland with the exception of Greta. Also it seems obvious to me that this is Book I in some sort of Goldbaum family saga. That said, still a good light read.

Natasha solomons’ House of Gold provides an intimate look into the family at the center of Europe’s great financial houses during the years leading up to and during WwI. The Goldblum family - reminiscent of the Rothschilds - operate banking houses in each of five European capitals and are powerful players in the financial and political life of their respective countries; at the same time, they are Jewish, which sets them apart. As the story unfolds, we learn how the family arranges marriages for its children so that control of the financial institution remains in the family; how they work to help their fellow Jews; how they balance their loyalty to their countries and their own interests, sometimes at the detriment of themselves. We watch a relationship develop between two Goldblum cousins whose marriage was arranged. And we learn how the members of the family helps to “fight” the War for his country. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed and I came to care very much about them. And it was interesting to read about the importance of finances in the progress of the WWI. The one unanswered question left by the book was what happened to Karl, the orphan who served as Otto’s battlefield aid; hopefully the author will write a sequel or a spinoff that will pickup on the story where this novel left off. Thank you for the opportunity to read this novel before it’s release.

I generally do not read historical fiction; however after reading House of Gold, I am now hooked. Natasha Solomon's character development and portrayal throughout the book is mesmerizing but ended way too soon.

 


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