An old-fashioned saga

Natasha Solomons’s latest novel features a wealthy Jewish dynasty at the outbreak of World War I.

By GLENN C. ALTSCHULER
November 22, 2018 19:29
4 minute read.
An old-fashioned saga

NEWLYWED GRETA soon discovers that her garden ‘is there to help you misbehave.’. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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GLENN C. ALTSCHULER House of Gold, the fifth novel by Natasha Solomons, begins in 1911. At a family gathering in Paris, shortly before 20-year-old Greta Goldbaum moves to England to marry Albert Goldbaum, a distant cousin, whom she has never met, Peter Goldbaum, patriarch of Greta’s branch of Europe’s wealthiest banking families, delivers a history lesson.

Although the Viennese House of Goldbaum bought more bonds than all the other Austrian banks put together, Peter tells his relatives, his grandparents were forbidden from owning property. To the chancellors, princes and kings of Austria, the Goldbaums “were only Jews. Rich and powerful Jews, to be sure, but not worthy of trust.” The lesson was clear: “We succeeded because we are Goldbaums and because we are Jews.” United by blood and shared interests, the Goldbaums “know that only family can be trusted.”

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