House of Gold by Natasha Solomon
House of Gold is a rich and sweeping tale of the Goldbaum family during the early 20th century. Wealthy, beautiful, and full of rich-people problems, the Goldbaums are one of the wealthiest families in the world with the ability to make or break entire countries. With all of that power comes impossibly high expectations of all members of the family. Greta, daughter to the head of the Austrian house is set to marry her cousin Albert. Not only has she never met Albert, she has no say in the matter. Greta’s big brother Otto is brought up to lead his family and take his father’s place at the bank and has just as much say in his future as his little sister.
As the years pass, Greta learns to tolerate her marriage, fall in love with her husband, become a mother, and learns the strength to survive a war. With her family’s money being both a blessing and a burden, Greta lives her life as close to her own terms as possible.
This is one of those vast, multi-layered stories that is great for when you want to really immerse yourself for days on end. The e-book version of House of Gold that I read clocked in at nearly 450 pages and takes you all the way from the wedding planning of Greta and Albert’s wedding to the birth of their second child. It’s full of history, politics, religion, and the way that money really does rule the world. The detail given to the dresses, dinner menus, furnishings, and gardens is incredible. And the rich people problems-it’s a wonderful escape. Greta frets for months on how to plan a garden. Who to hire, what to plant, the significance of every little stone-all while the Goldbaum kitchens are handing out food to the poor and starving. There is a side story of Karl, a young man who lives in the sewers of the city and stays as close to the Goldbaum mansion as possible because the food they give away is the best in the country.
House of Gold also gives us insight into high-society arranged marriages. I find the separate bedrooms, lack of communication, and the way they act more like a business partnership than a life partnership absolutely fascinating.
I really enjoyed this one. If you want to get lost for days in someone else’s life, I highly recommend this one.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.