The Founder of the House by Naomi Jacob: Guest Blog PostThe Founder of the House is the first of seven titles chronicling several generations of the Gollantz family. While their story begins in Paris during the Napoleonic Wars, most of this opening volume is set throughout nineteenth century Vienna.
The Gollantz family run a successful antiques business which brings them into daily contact with Viennese high society, including royalty. They are well-liked and respected, but remain outside upper-class circles because they are Jewish. Despite this, handsome young Emmanuel Gollantz gains the admiration of two women from the royal court, which has far-reaching repercussions both for his and his family's futures.
Emmanuel’s father, Hermann, is very conscious of how the actions of one Jew can be used to support prejudiced views of his race as a whole. He goes to great lengths to lead a life of honesty and integrity, and is willing to do anything to protect his family's good name. Unfortunately, his unscrupulous brother-in-law takes advantage of Hermann's anxieties, threatening the Gollantz's reputation and business.
While many of the family's challenges relate to the times in which they live, The Founder of the House is a family saga encompassing timeless and universal themes. At its heart, this is a story about the joyous and destructive powers of love, the importance of family ties and friendship, the consequences of loyalty and ambition.
As the Gollantz Saga progresses, the action moves to Edwardian London and then Mussolini's Italy. It is a journey which is similar to that of the saga's author, Naomi Jacob.
Born in Yorkshire in 1884, Jacob's first job was as a teacher, which she left behind to join the world of the music halls in Leeds. She started off as secretary to a famous music hall star of the era, and went on to become an actor herself, even starring opposite John Geilgud on the West End stage.
In 1930, ill health led Jacob to move to the milder climate of Sirmione, on Lake Garda in Italy. It was here that she wrote the bestselling Gollantz Saga. She remained in Sirmione for the rest of her life, apart from a period during the Nazi occupation.
Although she was raised an Anglican and later converted to Catholicism, Jacob's grandfather was a Jewish tailor who had fled to England from Western Prussia to escape a pogrom. She was very proud of these Jewish roots and was a frequent critic of anti-Semitism and Fascism.
2014 marks fifty years since the author's death. The Founder of the House and the other titles in the Gollantz Saga are now being reissued in digital format to give today's readers a chance to discover this hugely entertaining series and follow the fascinating lives of the Gollantz family.
You can read more about Naomi Jacob at www.naomijacob.com
The Founder of the House by Naomi Jacob is published by Corazon Books.
About the Book
Publication Date: August 23, 2014 | Corazon Books | eBook; 320p | ASIN: B00MZZDHMQ
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set in nineteenth century Paris, Vienna and London, this is a novel about family ties and rivalries, love and ambition.
The Founder of the House introduces us to Emmanuel Gollantz, the son of a Jewish antique dealer, Hermann Gollantz.
Hermann lives his life according to the principles of loyalty, honesty and honour instilled in him as a child. But these ideals are ruthlessly exploited by his wife's family, threatening everything that is important to him. Protecting his beloved wife, Rachel, from the truth carries a great cost.
As a young man, Emmanuel, becomes involved with the inner circle of the Viennese Court, where his passion for the married baroness, Caroline Lukoes, has far-reaching consequences both for himself and the House of Gollantz.
The Founder of the House is the first book in the bestselling Gollantz Saga - an historical family saga tracing the lives and loves of the Gollantz family over several generations. This seven-novel series explores how one family's destiny is shaped by the politics and attitudes of the time, as well as by the choices and actions of its own members.
The Gollantz Saga TitlesBook One: Founder of the House
Book Two: That Wild Lie
Book Three: Young Emmanuel
Book Four: Four Generations
Book Five: Private Gollantz
Book Six: Gollantz: London, Paris, Milan
Book Seven: Gollantz & Partners
Praise for The Gollantz Saga"Recommended. Ms Jacob writes skilfully and with that fine professional assurance we have come to expect of her." The Times
"Impressive." London Evening Standard
"A good family chronicle." Kirkus Reviews
"Besides the interest of the plot, Miss Jacob's book has much to recommend it. The style of the novel is unimpeachable, marked by sincerity, dignity and a sense of the dramatic. I can safely recommend "The Founder of the House." Western Mail (Perth)
Buy the eBookAmazon US
Jacob had a mixed heritage, which influenced her life and work. Her paternal grandfather was a Jewish tailor who had escaped the pogroms of Western Prussia and settled in England, while her mother's family had strong Yorkshire roots. Her maternal grandfather was the two-time mayor of Ripon in Yorkshire. He also owned a hotel in the town. Her father was headmaster of the local school.
Jacob loved the theatre and became a character actress on stage and in film, notably opposite John Geilgud in The Ringer (1936). She also associated with the Du Mauriers, Henry Irving, Marie Lloyd and Sarah Bernhardt.
She published her first novel, "Jacob Usher" in 1925. It became a bestseller.
In 1928 she appeared for the defence of Radclyffe Hall’s "The Well of Loneliness", and developed a friendship with Hall and her companion Una Troubridge.
After suffering with tuberculosis, in 1930 she left England for Italy, where she lived for most of the rest of her life. She lived in a villa in Sirmione on Lake Garda, which she called "Casa Mickie" (she was known to friends and family as "Mickie").
In 1935 she was awarded the Eichelberger International Humane Award, for outstanding achievement in the field of humane endeavour, for her novel "Honour Come Back". She rejected the award when she discovered that another recipient of the award had been Adolf Hitler, for "Mein Kampf".
Jacob was involved in politics – she stood as a Labour PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) and was a suffragette.
In 1940, she was evacuated back to England when Italy entered the Second World War. She joined the Entertainments National Service Association, becoming famous for her flamboyant appearance— crew cut hair, and wearing a monocle and First World War Women’s Legion uniform.
She returned to Sirmione before the end of the war, helping Jewish refugees in the town. Over the years, she frequently returned to the UK, and in the 1950s and early 1960s was regularly to be heard on the BBC radio programme "Woman's Hour".
She wrote the seven-novel Gollantz saga about several generations of a Jewish family, tracing their path from Vienna in the early nineteenth century to establishing a life and antique business in England in the twentieth century. It is a saga about family loyalty, honour and love, while also reflecting on the politics and ideals of the era.
The Founder of the House Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, November 10
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, November 11
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, November 12
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Spotlight at Literary Chanteuse
Friday, November 14
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Saturday, November 15
Guest Post at Madame Gilflurt
Sunday, November 16
Review at Unshelfish
Monday, November 17
Excerpt at Mina's Bookshelf
Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Mel's Shelves
Wednesday, November 19
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 20
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Sunday, November 23
Review & Interview at A Bibliophile's Reverie
Monday, November 24
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, November 26
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Thursday, November 27
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, November 28
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book