Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Secrets Of The Notebook

While I'm writing about books that had an impact on me... Again, I took the image url from Amazon.com so you can't look inside and this is not a sponsored post.

Imagine you are a housewife in North West London, you have a job, you are Jewish, you have a husband and English children. You fled Germany as a child with your parents but left behind your beloved grandmother who was eventually killed by the nazis. You are no different from any number of German refugees who became British and live and work in the capital.

There is one thing. A notebook your father showed you when you were 16 years old but warned you not to delve into its meaning. You inherit the notebook on the death of your mother and of course you delve.

You discover that you are descended from a Prussian prince and you are in fact a cousin to Queen Elizabeth and most of the European royal families. Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing is that your beloved grandmother wasn't even Jewish, although she didn't know it herself. And Hitler killed the granddaughter of a European prince he greatly admired.

This is the true story of Eve Haas, an ordinary woman living in Hampstead, NW London. I loved this book because it could have been any of us.

However, it hasn't changed anything in the lives of the Haas family. They are still an ordinary family working for their living. They haven't inherited a palace or land or art collections. I find it a bit sad that having left the Royal fold (or been abandoned by it) three generations ago, you can't go back in. It seems aristocracy is as much a matter of nurture as it is nature (or DNA).

9 comments:

  1. Seems a bit unfair but probably unsurprising they haven't been brought back into the fold. Sounds like a very interesting book. A book I would enjoy reading.

    xx Jazzy

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    1. It's a bit of a genealogical treasure hunt. I was hooked from the beginning.

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  2. sounds a fantastic read and don't get me started on the royals! x

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    1. I would think it would be far more irritating to actually be one without any of the financial benefits than not to be one and just get on with working for a living. It's the what could have been, or even should have been.

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  3. What a story, I'll bet that was a great read. Does seem unfair they weren't allowed back into the fold.... royals, meh. X (ps thank you for your lovely comment on my latest post).

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    1. I don't think they actually tried to get back in, or that they even wanted to. I just think it's sad that she came from royalty and now isn't. Not sad exactly as she has had a very nice life and certainly wasn't poor in any way. It's just that she could have been a princess.

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  4. All the reviews I've read describe this as an extraordinary story but not well written. If so, that's a shame because the story itself sounds riveting. Is this your impression?

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    1. It's not brilliantly written but it didn't need to be work of literary art. It told the story and I got caught up in it sufficiently that the writing was more than adequate.

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  5. It sounds interesting, but heartbreaking too. I might add it to the list for when I'm in a happier mood :0

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