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Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in Englishby Natasha Solomons
After escaping WWII-era Berlin for London, the Rosenblums must assimilate into proper British society. Sadie Rosenblum isn't as concerned with fitting in as her husband, preferring to hang onto and embrace her German roots. Jack Rosenblum, however, will not be swayed from attaining the perfect English life. Marmalade, a Jaguar, and correct English attire soon follow, along with Jack's ownership of a respectable carpet factory. Yet, much to his consternation, one item is just outside of his reach: membership to a golf club. Try as he might, this is one element of British society that is seemingly unattainable. So, a desperate Jack does what he must: He builds his own golf club.
Synopses & Reviews
At the outset of World War II, Jack Rosenblum, his wife Sadie, and their baby daughter escape Berlin, bound for London. They are greeted with a pamphlet instructing immigrants how to act like the English. Jack acquires Saville Row suits and a Jaguar. He buys his marmalade from Fortnum & Mason and learns to list the entire British monarchy back to 913 A.D. He never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse. But the one key item that would make him feel fully British -membership in a golf club-remains elusive. In post-war England, no golf club will admit a Rosenblum. Jack hatches a wild idea: he'll build his own.
It's an obsession Sadie does not share, particularly when Jack relocates them to a thatched roof cottage in Dorset to embark on his project. She doesn't want to forget who they are or where they come from. She wants to bake the cakes she used to serve to friends in the old country and reminisce. Now she's stuck in an inhospitable landscape filled with unwelcoming people, watching their bank account shrink as Jack pursues his quixotic dream.
In her tender, sweetly comic debut, Natasha Solomons tells the captivating love story of a couple making a new life-and their wildest dreams-come true.
"Screenwriter Solomons's debut novel is the pleasant, ripped-from-the-family-archives story of German exile Jack Rosenblum and his unlikely postwar quest to build a golf course in the Dorset countryside. Fresh off the boat and with a 'Helpful Information and Friendly Guidance for Every Refugee' pamphlet in hand, Jack dives passionately into assimilation, starting a booming carpet business, buying his suits at Henry Poole and his hats at Lock of St. James, and avoiding his native tongue at all costs. And while he can afford golf clubs at Harrod's, he can't check off the last item on his list: join a golf club. On impulse, he buys a damp acreage and embarks on the final leg of his assimilation. Meanwhile, his wife, Sadie, obsesses over the past, churning out Baumtortes and other confections. It's undeniably winsome, and while the pace is lackadaisical at best, the details of postwar Britain are nicely observed, and the narrative offers a sweet perspective on some very heavily traveled turf. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
With its bittersweet humor and World War II nostalgia, this novel, inspired by autobiographical events, is the charming love story of a couple making a new life--and their wildest dreams--come true.
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