MR. ROSENBLUM DREAMS IN ENGLISH by Natasha Solomons
June 21, 2010 (Little, Brown & Company) Hardcover, 368 pages
Such a delightful story that needs to be read and believed
Jack Rosenblum flees to England from war ravaged Germany taking his wife and daughter with him all the while dreaming of his new life. He knows England is where they can begin again living life without Jewish persecution so off they went. They just need to follow the assimilation into proper English life rule pamphlet they have been given and all will be fine – learn to blend or at least be ignored. His wife, Sadie is less sure but will follow her husband anywhere he thinks best for their family.
Jack holds on to the pamphlet reading it constantly and adding items that he picks up to make sure no one thinks they are not part of English life. He earns an income and then falls into a stroke of good luck and finds himself owning a carpet factory that within ten years is one of the largest in London. Making more than enough money to upgrade their life again Jack starts another phase of following his dreams to be the perfect English gentlemen and in order to accomplish this he needs to play golf.
He buys a set of clubs which leads to a larger purchase of a cottage with enough land to design and build his own golf course where everyone can join regardless of their ethnicity. Again Sadie follows but this dream she is having trouble swallowing and fears the risk is too great for them to handle. Jack says no it will be fine and starts the process of adding items to the list of proper English behavior and construction of his golf course.
The town is less than welcoming but slowly and surely he makes friends and gets some local assistance in the construction. Jack thinks he needs the greatest golfer of his time, Bobby Jones to come and play the inaugural round but letters go unanswered while at the same time jealousy and prejudices start to rear their ugly heads. Jack has tried to assimilate and tried to stay under the radar but there are those that will never accept and never allow that everyone has a right to their dream. Jack keeps chasing his and in the end all his hard work and hope of a better life pale in comparison to knowing he made friends and his family will always be by his side.
This book was a wonderful read and turned into marvelous read when I discovered it was a true story written by a granddaughter about her grandfather. The heart break and triumph of Jack’s life comes through so clearly that you ache for things to work out for him and his family and a good storyteller has a gift with the ability to convey these emotions. Ms. Solomons has done an excellent job of showing up what one family’s dreams can lead to.
Mary Gramlich is The Reading Reviewer at www.marygramlich.com