The Goldbaum family is a rich, powerful family of bankers throughout Europe (and they are Jewish). This story centers around the family in Vienna in 1911. Twenty year old Greta is not your typical girl of the times. She wants to do things that woman didn’t do. Go to university, lectures, playing the trumpet and being able to choose who she wants to marry and when. But she is told she has to marry a distant cousin Albert of England. Goldbaum women are always expected to marry Goldbaum men and have kids. They have never met and don’t know anything about each other.
Meanwhile her brother Otto is very smart and has been going to university. But he’s expected to drop everything that he wants and go into and take over the family business. As the wedding day approaches Greta thinks for a moment of running away but doesn’t have it in her to do it. She will also miss Otto when she moves to London. Right before the wedding Greta writes Albert a note telling him how she feels and that she may never love him.
They get married anyway and it doesn’t go well at first. Albert refuses to have sex with her because he knows how she really feels about him. As time goes by they start to get to know each other and things get much better. They fall in love much to the shock of each other.
As the years go by they have kids and the War is starting and that will involve the family business in good and bad ways. Soon England is drawn into it and Otto and Albert are sent to fight. This frightens Greta to no end. When Albert is able to get out he’s sent to the US and New York to open a branch of the family business there. As the war goes on and United States get drawn in things start to get worse. Soon Greta gets horrible news that will change her forever.
A sweeping saga of one family, their business and how the war effected their family and lives. Set over a few years span it even includes the Titanic sinking and how the Jews were treated at that time. This is Greta’s story and we root for her to be happy. The ending has a twist that you don’t see coming at all.
You can pick up House Of Gold in stores on Tuesday, October 23 from Putnam.