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The First Mrs. Rothschild

Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers
Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical

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Publisher's Summary

In this award-winning historical saga, passionate young lovers in a Jewish ghetto rise to become the foremost financial dynasty in the world.

It is the turn of the eighteenth century in Frankfurt, Germany, and young Gutle and Meir Amschel Rothschild struggle to establish themselves in the cramped and restricted Judengasse. But when Meir’s talents as a novice banker catch the attention of a German prince, Meir is suddenly afforded entrée into the European world of finance and nobility, and the Rothschilds’ lives are changed forever. As proud as Gutle is of her husband’s success, she is also cautious - very much aware of the fact that her husband’s rise is tied to his patrons’ willingness to “see past” his Jewishness. As their family grows, and a dream of fortune comes true, so does their belief that money will ultimately bring the power needed to establish Jewish civil rights.

Told through Gutle’s intimate journals, revealed across decades - from the French Revolution through personal tragedies and triumphs - The First Mrs. Rothschild paints a rich and intimate tapestry of family drama, world-changing history, and one woman’s steadfast strength.

©2019 Sara Aharoni (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. English translation © 2019 by Sara Aharoni. Published by arrangement with The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature.

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Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 16-09-2019

Witness the Power of a Great Book

I absolutely love this book-- I am about to order it in paperback so I can see and write down various passages for easier access and better memorization of the phrases. I may even have to cross stitch a few.

Sara Aharoni's writing is like a Tardis that takes us back to the Jew street in the late 1700's and puts us amongst the sights and sounds and smells and gives us a feeling of being right there in their crowded house. Right along with Gutle, I was staring out the window and my heart stopped when Meir was asking for her hand. I found myself as upset as she was during certain occasions. I cried when she cried, and I felt relief when things went as she needed them to. I looked up baby clothes that I would knit if I lived in her era to see what I'd have made for her new babies. It is the kind of book that has characters that stay with you in your head.

Elizabeth Rodgers is a talented narrator-- I will buy an Audible book in the future based simply on her being the narrator. Her voice is clear and sincere.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Connie T.
  • 05-08-2019

So glad I didn't miss this historic book!!

This book is read through Mrs. Rothschild POV. The orphaned Mier Rothschild met and married her, living in the Frankfurt ghetto. He started coin collecting, trading and eventually went into full blown banking and commerce. It's a good grab as to how he could rise so quickly in the financial world. With ten children, 5 sons and 5 daughters, his labor problems are non existent. His philosophy is to keep the secrets of success close within the family. With sons moving to London, Paris and other markets, the Rothschild Dynasty is well on its way when the book ends at her death. The narrator was fantastic. Don't miss this if you like history or just wondered how they got so stinking rich.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Donna Smith McG
  • 23-09-2019

A novel of love, family, and an empire..forever❤️

I want to say this before I review. I listened to this book, about 2 months ago, but I was so worried about writing a review, I wanted it to mean something from the emotions I went through. Also, it’s a very slow beginning, don’t give up. I promise you will understand why I don’t want you giving up.

‘The First Mrs. Rothschild: A Novel’ is about a couple named Gutle & Meir Amschel Rothschild, but there’s so much to them than just their name.

Gutle is a very young 16 yr old Jewish girl who lives in the ‘Ghetto’ in Venice, Italy..which may have been Germany, because there’s nothing different about the smells, the overcrowding & the way they were locked in. Her family has basically one window and daily she looks out that window, if you can call it that. She sees Meir Amschel Rothschild who is not just handsome but she is besotted by him immediately. She watches him daily, and without her knowing, he sees her watching him also, yet she doesn’t know he too has asked the residents of the ‘Ghetto’ who she is. She takes her sister outside one day and finds out to introduces himself to her and she’s so surprised, she barely speaks. As days & weeks go by they fall in love..but it’s not just “marry me”..Dad has a lot to say, mostly “he won’t become anything”. Meir never gives up, but before that Gutle finds a diary & her father allows her to keep it..that is how Gutle describes daily, weekly her love, her life, and many many things.

Before Meir marries Gutle he says, “I want 10 children...” and that was it, 10..period! In the turn of the 18th Century families lived with the mother & father, so in the Ghetto not only was it cramped, among other things, they had to make rooms in rooms, curtains between rooms, with other families as well. It was at this point where my admiration and love for this couple never wavered.

I didn’t want to write spoilers nor did I want to write what the book was about since it’s in the summary, so the rest was my impression from my heart.

This family had its love & it’s beautiful Jewish religion to lean on daily, but they also had their tragedies, many times of heartaches, and happiness that prevailed throughout their years too. I not only looked at a successful family in that century, but my thoughts continually brought me to these past 2 centuries. What happens if the love is there but the tragedy, heartbreak, disappointments happen? Do families always stay together? Still have many children and still stay in one of the worst areas, in the most cramped living quarters and survive? Not usually..so many things that should keep all of us together fade-away.

Yes the 18th-19th Century is nothing like the 20th-21st Century. Our principles of “forever” should never be given up on because we want to move on to something or someone else.

This Novel wasn’t a happy, no problems, it was you get up and face another day, even when everything looked like there were things that looked unimaginable! This was a story of FOREVER. An empire that lasted through hard work, yet even was questionable. Mrs. Rothschild lived by God, love, family and a stubborn will to make sure her children’s children also did!

I leave you this completely true quote, which did and unfortunately does today.

From Gutle to her children:

“And one more thing: be wary of complacence. Just when you think the troubles of the Jews are over, new calamities surprise us. It matters not how we live—impoverished on Judengasse or rich in castles—someone will always criticize and harass us. Heinrich Heine warned against what book burners might do: Where they burn books, they will also burn people, he said. Who knows, perhaps in fifty or a hundred years a new madman will rise to announce a new kind of pogrom, something we haven’t yet heard of. If he chooses to return us to the ghetto, well then I will already be here, buried in its dirt. No madman will be exhuming my bones.”

Thank you to the authors, translators & thank you Gutle Rothschild ❤️

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cyndy28
  • 12-08-2019

The Finest Mrs. Rothschild

While I could not imagine reading a diary, I know that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this diary. What a wonderful reader to this enlightening book! I highly recommend this audible!!!!!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Melissa Santiago
  • 10-01-2020

Interesting but....

I got bored with this book as seemed to drag on. I kept listening because it is based on a true story. The history was interesting enoigh. The hardships endured were heart wrenching! I was horrified at many points throughout the story. The narrator did a good job, was painstakingly slow but the voice changes over time were very well done. Overall I wished I had skipped getting this book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vanessa W
  • 08-01-2020

Get to the point already!

This had the potential to be a great story. Unfortunately it droned on and on and on with flowery endless descriptions of pain and longing and blah blah blah. Very disappointed and could barely get through it. Found myself hitting the fast forward button all the time. The only thing that kept me in it was my interest in what was happening and the history of the family.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Goddess Being
  • 03-09-2019

Inspiring story of a historic family

I loved this book for the information it gave me and swept me along into the history of an incredible family.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 20 Paws Mom
  • 27-08-2019

Bravo

Bravo
Truly an extraordinary work, both in word and performance! If there were 10 stars, I would give them.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LINDA B.
  • 12-01-2020

Best book I have listened to this year

The Narrator was incredible and brought this book to life. Honestly, I am ashamed to admit, I did not realize how horrible the conditions were for many Jewish communities. The family and their relationships came to light. What a phenomenal family dynamic and brilliant thinkers into commerce. I just found this book fascinating. I hope there will be a sequel.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandee Illouz
  • 04-12-2019

Terrible

After reading a number of books about the amazing Rothschilds, this sounds very much like something based on anything but facts. I stopped after the first few chapters.

6 people found this helpful