Mr Rosenblum’s List

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

Jack Rosenblum is five foot three and a half inches of sheer tenacity and through study and application he intends to become a Very English Gentleman.

Jack is compiling a list: a comprehensive guide to the manners, customs and habits of England. He knows that marmalade must be bought from Fortnum & Mason, he’s memorised every British monarch back to 913 A.D. and the highlight of his day is the BBC weather forecast. And he never speaks German, apart from the occasional curse.

From the moment he disembarked at Harwich in 1937 he understood that assimilation was the key. But the war’s been over for eight years and despite his best efforts, his bid to blend in remains fraught with unexpected hurdles. Including his wife.

Sadie finds his obsession baffling. She doesn’t want to forget who they are or where they came from. She’d rather bake cakes to remember the people they left behind than worry about how to play tennis.

But Jack is convinced they can find a place to call home. In a final attempt to complete his list, he leads a reluctant Sadie deep into the English countryside. Here, in a land of woolly pigs, bluebells and jitterbug cider, they embark on an impossible task….

Read an excerpt from the book below!

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115 Responses to “Mr Rosenblum’s List”

  1. Dear Natasha,

    Just to say I really loved the book and look forward to meeting you. We definitely want you to talk at JBW.
    Do take care

    Geraldine
    020 7446 8772

  2. natashasolomons says:

    Dear Geraldine,

    Thank you so much for your kind comment – I would love to talk at JBW.

    I will give you a call.

    best,

    Natasha

  3. Kate says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I work for an independent bookstore called Riverbend Books in Australia and did work experience with your Australian Publisher Hachette. I was handed a proof to read in March last year, and absolutely loved Mr Rosenblum’s List. I lost many hours on buses absorbed in Jack and Sadie’s world (and then went home and researched Baumkuchen. Subsequently it’s to be our book of the month for March, and much excitement is building! We think it will do just as well or better than The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Thanks for writing a wonderful book! Cheers,
    Kate

  4. natashasolomons says:

    Hi Kate,

    Thank you so much! It’s just the most amazing experience when a reader connects with my book. I’m so touched by the way that Australian booksellers have been responding to Jack and Sadie. I wish I could come and visit!

    Would you be willing to do a guest post on my blog? Perhaps talk a little bit about selling ‘Mr R’ in Australia or some aspect of the bookselling business? It’s always so interesting to hear another perspective.

    If you want to contact me directly, send an email to:

    mrosenblum AT hotmail DOT com

    x
    natasha

  5. Avril Levy says:

    Hi Natasha don’t know if you got my message on your blog? Wishing you luck for JBW and every success with the book. Sounds like it will be BIG! Look forward to seeing you at the end of the month and please give David a birthday kiss x Avril and Martin

  6. Fiona MacEwen says:

    Dear Natasha – We have the Tarrant Valley Book Group here in Tarrant Monkton. I have just been listening to you on the radio and hope to come to a book signing in Bridport. But may I now put in a request? Which is of course, that we would love you to come and speak to us at the Book Group! It would be wonderful if you were able to spend an evening with us. Please do bear us in mind if you are not too over committed – and I fear you probably will be – country book groups are flourishing and certainly ours has now been running for 8 years and we all look forward to each month’s discussion.
    I think it is a brilliant piece of marketing – well done.

    Yours sincerely
    Fiona MacEwen

  7. natashasolomons says:

    I’d love to come to Tarrant Monkton. Also, I’m having a book launch in Ibberton (near blandford and the village where ‘Mr R’ is set) on March 27th. Would your book group like to come? Shall I send you an invitation?

  8. Richard Brace says:

    Dear Natasha, I was really taken by your piece on Radio 4 tonight as I drove back from Southampton Airport to Child Okeford from a trip in Paris. I have been telling my wife to have your book in her book club. Its her turn to select the book next time so I am hoping she goes for MR R as I get her book club cast offs.
    Good luck with the world record attempt and I hope to come to one of your events. Perhaps the Ibberton launch as it is so close.

    Best Wishes
    Richard

  9. natashasolomons says:

    Thank you so much Richard. Hambledon Hill is one of my favourite places in the world (and features prominently in the novel). I’d love to visit your wife’s book group – and you are both very welcome at the book launch.

  10. Hello Natasha
    Heard you on the radio last night, you and your book sound wonderful!! Good luck with it all. A group of us have just formed a little book club (6 at the moment) and we are all very excited about it. If you could fit us in on your epic book tour we would be so happy!!

    We all live in and around Beaulieu, and meet up in Montys’ Bar in the village. We would absolutely provide delicious biscuits and all manner of yummy things in order to tempt you to visit us here in the lovely New Forest! The nearest big town is Southampton, but we would be happy to put you up if you needed somewhere to stay.

    I do hope to hear from you, but I am sure you are going to be overwhelmed. Once again all the very best!! kind regards, Treena

  11. natashasolomons says:

    Hi Treena,

    Thanks so much for dropping by – yes, I’d love to come to Beaulieu. And hooray for biscuits! I have some dates free in the first 2 weeks of May, otherwise the third or 4th week in June or July.

    x
    n

  12. antoinette mcsharry says:

    Dear Natasha, I have just finished your lovely book. It is funny and hearbreaking at the same time. We will be discussing it at our book club next week and I can’t wait for the feedback from the others.
    One thing which is bothering me is Sadie’s name: I just cannot think that anyone in the Germanic world is called Sadie??! Neither can I imagine what it could be short for?
    I would greatly appreciate your answer.
    We are looking forward to your visit here at the Sydney Writers Festival!
    Kind regards, Antoinette

  13. Hi Natasha:

    I am about half way through Mr Rosenblum’s List and I LOVE IT. It is right up there in my top ten best books ever! Well done… beautifully written and with such alive characters. It also has a touch of magic and mystery. I am in awe.

    I hope you are working on another book! But while I wait I will savour what I have left to read of Mr Rosenblum and am busy telling all and sundry about it! In fact think when I am finished will post a review on my blog!

    But thanks so much for writing such a charming and wonderfully uplifting book.

    Barbara

  14. Angela Emmott says:

    Hi Natasha
    I spoke to you and Jocasta at your brilliant book launch in Dorset about coming to speak at the SW11 Literary Festival held each September in Battersea, London.
    The organisers are putting together the events right now and would love to invite you, with another author, to come and have a discussion about Mr Rosenblum’s List at a ‘tea-time’ with the appropriate refreshments! Could someone email me with a direct contact please so we could discuss. Thank you.
    I have enjoyed your book and passed it on to my ‘golfing’ husband!

    Angela

  15. Keith says:

    We are so looking forward to having you visit our village in July for our inaugural festival.

    There is already quite a ‘buzz’ about your book and the Women’s Institute are planning a special 1950’s tea!

  16. I’m so excited to be there! It’s the day that the paperback is launched so it will be a proper tea-time celebration!

  17. Dear Natasha,

    what a beautiful book ! i loved every word of it ! I’m putting it on my “currently reading” place of my (wine)blog, but be sure I’ll smuggle it in in my article on madeira that I’m preparing and I’ll use the lovely passage in the book where Jack drinks this wine.

    Your book made me laugh and it made me cry, and that is a strong combination for a book !

    Erik

  18. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks so much Erik! Did you read the English edition or the Dutch?
    x

  19. Shab Khan says:

    Hello Natasha,

    I absolutely loved this book, I was an asian kid growing up in 1960s/70s Britain with first generation muslim immigrant parents. Your book, although set in an earlier era, reminded me so much of my own childhood experiences, parts of the storyline were uncannily similar and the memories put me through a whole range of emotions as I read and re-read the book.

    Well done, its a remarkable piece of work, what next?

    Shab

  20. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks so much Shab. It really means a great deal to me when readers empathise with Jack and Sadie and their situation. The book is a work of imagination, and it’s such a good feeling when someone tells me I’ve got it right…

    I’m working on the second book, set in 1938 and called ‘The Novel in the Viola’.

    Thanks so much for your gorgeous comment.
    xx

  21. Michelle Gralike says:

    Hi Natasha,
    We’re a book club in Queensland Australia who have just read Mr Rosenblum. I copy and pasted our book club review of your lovely book.

    Mr Rosenblum. Old Jack was an engaging fellow for sure, and by the end of the story, so was Sadie. Whilst a theme of this book was assimilation, it was largely about the journey of a married couple who, after much heartache and sadness in their lives, disconnect as husband and wife then find each other again!!

    We agreed with Beck, that the book was charming and in parts, funny. Some of us found it hard to connect with and for others it was really easy. For some, it took a while to warm into and for others it warmed then cooled then warmed again! Liz commented on the many many paradoxes within this story, some more meaningful than others but there were heaps – one of the most endearing being heartsick Sadie whose life was made possible living in the past married to the eternal optimist in Jack whose life was made possible by living in the moment in order to get to the future! In the meantime they grew further and further apart as their dreams became entirely different. As married girls, we all know how much effort is needed to ensure our relationships are more than just about the clockwork of the daily goings-on in our lives and our dreams remain the same, so in this sense, it resonated and was believable.

    We loved the humanity in this book, how Jack, Sadie and the people of Dorset eventually began to understand each other, found many ways in which they were similar and eventually embrace and love each other for precisely who they were. We loved the charm – Curtis and his Jitterbug Cider, baking Baumtortes (we want to see one), lilac trees and scented roses coming through the window, country roads in a convertible jaguar, the Country Women’s Association like group of women with names like Lavender, skittle piss-ups at the village hall, picnicking amongst the bluebells with sweet Madeira wine in china teacups, dancing in the rain – divine. Just don’t bring up Dorset’s woolley pig!
    Thanks Beck for choosing Mr Rosenblum, it was a great book to discuss, it was heartwarming, a bit quirky, gave us the odd chuckle, reminded us that home is our haven, reminded us that connecting with the earth, its cycles and beauty (way too under-rated today) can awaken our inner self and importantly, in the end the Rosenblums got the happy ending they deserved.

    Thanks so much Natasha!
    Appreciation Book Club
    Queensland, Australia

  22. Dear Natasha,
    I finished your delightfully engaging book last night. I became quite fascinated at the saga of Jack’s dream of a golf course and apparently, according to my husband, let out a very audible” Oh no!” when it appeared that the council, Sir William and even Bobby Jones had abandoned or more likely, betrayed Jack. I agree with many of the posts here about the more subtle theme being the complicated relationship of Jack and Sadie and especially how her memories are so linked to cooking her beloved Mother’s cakes.
    Not that I always like film adaptations of novels but if someone like Emma Thomson ( or is it Thompson?) was shown this novel, I would trust her sensitivity in adapting it. Congratulations on a fine and uplifting novel.

  23. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks so much Helen — I’m really glad you enjoyed the book and thanks for leaving a message! xx

  24. Dylan Jones says:

    Absolutely loved the book, my father bought it thinking it was actually a list, but we were both very happy when it turned out to be such a wonderful book. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of reading it and was very sad when it was over, although a nicer ending would be hard to imagine. I cannot wait to read your next book or see the film, whichever comes first.

  25. Thanks so much Dylan! I’m thrilled you and your dad enjoyed the book so much… you’ve made my Sunday…
    xx

  26. Andrew Lack says:

    Dear Natasha, thank you for this delightful book. I have just finished writing a short review for parents and students here at Pacific Hills Christian School in Sydney, Australia. I was originally told this was a “charming” book which did not actually encourage me. I read it eventually and found it ever so much more… it is complex and dramatic. Ironically one of our students is completing a critical essay on Magic Realism as a response to community trauma, and I thought her insights helped me understand even better some of the more fantastical elements you have so succesfully included.

  27. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks Andrew for your thoughtful comments. It’s wonderful to know that my book has touched readers. To me, the woolly pig is real…

  28. Rupert Erlandson says:

    Dear Natasha

    I found your book enchanting and delightful with the smells of food awakening special memories, something we can all identify with from our own experiances. I agree with Shab, as a youngster with Anglo/Swedish parents growing up in a remote Welsh village, it was sometimes difficult to be accepted by the local people. Until my mother left recently after nearly 50 years, we were still known as the new people on the mountain.

    I see partsof Jack in my late father, once a professional gundog trainer and author who was not always prone to common sense and sometimes maybe a cause of amusement to some of the local community, maybe “the fool on the hill.” As you said, for someone who has created this story from your own mind, I think you have nailed it, it is spot on.

    Have you another book planned?

  29. Jarek says:

    Dear Natasha,
    have you already seen Polish edition of your book? I hope you’ll like the cover:) Greetings from Poland:)

  30. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Rupert — Thanks so much for your message. I love your description of your family as ‘the new people on the mountain’.

    Yes, I’m working on my next novel at the moment it’s (currently) called ‘The Novel in the Viola’ — you can find more about it on the blog if you look for that or ‘Fred’ (it’s wip title).

  31. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Jarek – I have seen the Polish edition. It’s absolutely gorgeous — one of my favourite covers. I’d really love to get a print of the original art work — did you design it?

  32. Jarek says:

    Hi Natasha, unfortunately I’m not a designer but I agree with you that the cover is charming. News for you: your great book gets last weeks enthusiastic reviews here in Poland!. PS. I think that the publishing house would send you a print of the cover easily.

  33. frances nissen says:

    hi Natasha, my daughter who lives in Australia just visited us in South Africa and gave me your delightful book Mr Rosenblums List to read.
    We are on holiday visiting family in Hamburg Germany and I brought your book with me to read.I could not put it down.Being Jewish I suppose made me relate more to the Rosenblum family. I laughed with them and also found myself crying with them.
    At age 18 I went to Vienna to study music and experienced my first encounter with anti semitism..
    Keep writing. I look forward to reading many more of your books
    Regards
    Frances Nissen
    East London
    South Africa

  34. Victoria says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I’ve just finished your book, and have to admit it actually made me cry whilst sat in a Bristol coffee shop I might add. Perhaps it was your excellent story telling, or my recent cold and 3 lemsips I can’t really be sure! But I loved it and will certainly be recommending it to friends.

    You are visiting our Bristol book group at the end of the month I believe and I look forward to meeting you and hearing more about your experience of writing and getting published, as well as “Fred” too of course.

  35. Rosalyn Prest says:

    I feel like this book has been written for me. 😉 xxx

  36. Natasha Solomons says:

    Ah, thank you Rosalyn, and it was written for you.

  37. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks so much Frances — it is wonderful to hear that Jack is on his travels. So glad you enjoyed reading the book!

  38. Ruth says:

    Dear Natasha

    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your book, I thought it was a work of art. It was funny and incredibly sad at the same time and touched on some very interesting topics of assimiliation and rememberance. You are a wonderfully gifted writer and I look forward to your next book. I also can’t wait for the screen adaptation. Have you been asked to speak at the Jewish Book Week, if not I think you should be.

    Best wishes

    Ruth

  39. Ruth says:

    Just read the first comment and can see you have been asked. I will definitely be there when you speak.

    Ruth

  40. Ruth says:

    Sorry, you must think me a bit cuckoo but I have been reading the comments back to front. I have obviously missed you at JBW this year. Do you have any other speaking arrangements lined up in London?

  41. Janet says:

    Just wanted to say that Mr Rosenblum’s List is probably my favourite read of 2010 so far. What lovely characters and a charming story. I have posted a rave review on the book forum I frequent. Thanks for writing it.

  42. Vivien says:

    I have just finished reading Mr Rosenblum’s list – I didn’t want it to end. My mother and grandparents were German and came to live in England in 1939. So many of the incidents and recipes mentioned in the book were part of my childhood – it bought back lots of happy memories.I am going to try your recipe for Vanilla Crescents – Kipferl – as we call them!

  43. Rob Butcher says:

    Hi Natasha,
    It seems really weird to be writing on your blog. I am a 48 year old man not given to gushing praise for many things….. however, I bought a copy of the book at Gatwick while waiting for a holiday flight and must have bored the pants off my partner by spending the first couple of days on a beach in Rhodes reading about the adventures of Jack and Sadie.
    A geordie by birth but I have lived in Dorset for over twenty years and surely everyone in this fine county must have met a Curtis at some time in their lives!!
    An excellent read and I wish you much success in the future- I will be looking out for further novels in the future (oh and I did shed a tear once or twice lol)

  44. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Ruth — thanks so much for your comment. And I hope to be invited back to JBW next year! Maybe I’ll see you there.

  45. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Vivien,

    Thanks so much for commenting. I’m glad the book evoked happy memories for you — and I hope your vanilla crescents are more successful than mine…

    x

  46. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Rob,

    Ah — but I’m so glad that you did write on my blog. I’m really pleased you enjoyed the book. I have indeed met several Curtis(s)… Am busy working on the next one right now.

    x

  47. Natasha Solomons says:

    Hi Rob — I’m so glad you did write on my blog! Dorset is lovely isn’t it? And I’m really pleased you enjoyed it so much…

    x

  48. Lawrence says:

    Dear Natasha-

    “Mr. Rosenblum Dreams In English” is a wonderful book. You have done your grandparents proud.

    I am so sorry about the re-titling for the market here in the States. I have no idea why. “Mr. Rosenblum’s List” seems like a fine title to me.

    I will suggest it for my book club next year; as an egalitarian measure, we only choose titles that are also available in paper. However, we are really an eating club with a thin intellectual veneer provided by the book-to-be-discussed. We carry in dishes, and talk and laugh, and then, get around to discussing the book.

    I’ve eaten Coronation Chicken. I’ve even made Coronation Chicken. It is tasty, but decidedly of the period.

    A slight rebuttal to the preceding post: To me, Jack Rosenblum did not know, or really care that some English despised him. The other English people just tried to find a way to comprehend people they had never encountered before. I believe you might be engaging in comparing events and mindsets of then with concepts of now.

    Anyway, I found this to be a delightful book.

  49. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Natasha

    I have recently moved from Manchester to a small and shön village in Germany and bought your book in the airport on one of my trips to see my family. It is wonderful. It made me laugh, cry and has given me the desire to create my own baumtorte! I also learned a few curses in German! I was able to identify with Jack very well. I think migration from any country to the next is hard and often I feel like an alien and don’t understand the cultural differences but I am am learning and developing my own list for survival. However, unlike Jack, it is important for me to be myself, remember my roots and be proud to be English. I have experienced difficult situations and have sometimes been hurt by the mindsets of people, my own wooly pig situations, but I have learned to deal with it (with your help) and gain some respect. In Manchester’s small villages there is a word for people like Jack and myself, ‘comer-iner’! We will always be so, as will our children and if you can live with that then all is well. I have no desire to assimilate myself, I just want to live in a beautiful place. Thank you for a wonderful book and helping me realise that I can beat the wooly pig! x

  50. Natasha Solomons says:

    Thanks Lawrence,

    So glad you enjoyed the book. I rather like Coronation chicken… but it is a funny thing to eat if you think about it too closely. If you’re curious about the title change, you can read more about it here:

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