Title: Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English
Author: Natasha Solomons
Publisher: Reagan Arthur (Little, Brown/Hachette)
Release Date: June 21, 2010
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English (originally a bestseller in the UK where it was titled Mr. Rosenblum's List) is a whimsical and somewhat charming tale about a couple trying to build a life for themselves in England. Despite these qualities, however, which some readers will certainly find endearing, I felt a personal lack of connection to this book.
It begins with Jack and Sadie Rosenblum escape to England from Germany around the start of World War II. Jack immediately tries to assimilate with the new culture by becoming the perfect "Englishman". Upon arriving in England, Jack is given a pamphlet with some rules about how to be an Englishman. Jack intensely adheres to this list and adds to it as he learns about the world in which he is now living. His wife, Sadie, on the other hand is not so excited to be in England and misses her family. She certainly doesn't want to "deliberately assimilate" with the culture, and can't understand her husband's resolve. Years pass and Jack decides that in order to truly be an Englishman he must obtain membership to a golf club. He seeks out golf club after golf club only to find that no one wants him because of his background (for which they refer to him as a "kraut" -- a derogatory term for a German soldier). So he decides to build his own. The rest of this novel revolves around him reaching this goal and further assimilating into his new community.
Like I mentioned, some readers will find this story adorable and endearing (and did according to other reviews I've read). But I found this, overall, to be anticlimactic. I felt conflicted for much of the book with wanting Jack to reach his goal but, ultimately, feeling annoyed that he was trying so hard to be someone else. In that respect I related more to Sadie, but I even felt a lack of connection to her. The characters weren't as fully fleshed out as I would have preferred. The plot is slow moving and focuses almost completely on the plot points that have already been mentioned here. The author has a talent for writing, however, and I enjoyed her easy but well worded narrative style.
Originally published at Luxury Reading