At the outset of World War II, Jack Rosenblum, his wife Sadie, and their baby daughter escape Berlin, bound for London. They are greeted with a pamphlet instructing immigrants how to act like “the English.” Jack acquires Saville Row suits and a Jaguar. He buys his marmalade from Fortnum & Mason and learns to list the entire British monarchy back to 913 A.D. He never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse. But the one key item that would make him feel fully British -membership in a golf club-remains elusive. In post-war England, no golf club will admit a Rosenblum. Jack hatches a wild idea: he’ll build his own. It’s an obsession Sadie does not share, particularly when Jack relocates them to a thatched roof cottage in Dorset to embark on his project. She doesn’t want to forget who they are or where they come from. She wants to bake the cakes she used to serve to friends in the old country and reminisce. Now she’s stuck in an inhospitable landscape filled with unwelcoming people, watching their bank account shrink as Jack pursues his quixotic dream.In her tender, sweetly comic debut, Natasha Solomons tells the captivating love story of a couple making a new life-and their wildest dreams-come true.
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams In English by Natasha Solomons is a charming, at times eccentric, and all around enduring book about Jack and Sadie Rosenblum and their daughter Elizabeth, German Jewish war refugees who emigrated to Dorset, England in 1937. Upon arrival they are given a pamphlet on how to assimilate into British society called “Helpful Information and Guidance for every Refugee”, a series of eight guidelines or rules to follow, a notion Sadie thinks silly while Jack takes rather seriously and over fifty years he continuously adds to his ever-growing list. Jack does everything he can to be seen as not a refugee, but rather an English Gentleman. As the years pass, his business thrives and Jack decides it is time to move up the social ladder and one rung he has not reached is to belong to a golf club and to become a true Dorset Englishman. It is this ultimate goal where Jack Rosenblum runs into difficulties and at times some unsavoury comments. Solomons does a masterful job at writing a beautifully descriptive book on England during the war years and the aftermath, the dress, style, and mannerisms. Her main characters are enduring and realistic, and her writing style is richly descriptive and enduring. The relationship between the Rosenblums is beautiful and dynamic even if their dreams are not entirely the same. I truly enjoyed reading Mr. Rosenblum Dreams In English and would recommend this beautiful, witty, and deeply touching book to anyone looking for a sweet and enduring read. It was an added bonus to learn Natasha Solomons based this, her first book, on her grandparents’ lives.
Natasha Solomons is a 29-year-old screenwriter. She based this story on her own grandparents’ experience.
I received a complimentary copy of Mr. Rosenblum Dreams In English by Natasha Solomons from Reagan Arthur. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.