I still have not read the authors first book, Mr Rosenblum's List, but my best friend has and she didn't rave about it- a "nice" book but nothing fantastic was pretty much her verdict. That is probably a similar rating I would give to The Novel in the Viola.
The book starts off strongly with the author setting the scene and introducing the main character, 19 year old Elise Landau, an Austrian Jewish woman who is about to be torn away from her family and her home to go and live in England as a domestic service in the lead up to World War 2.
The first half of this book worked really well for me - I believed in the character of Elise - but then things just started to become too neat, formulaic and predictable. That's not to say I wasn't enjoying the read, because I was - but it certainly wasn't challenging or even very believable in any way.
The author talks about her inspiration for writing this book - the true story of an English village that is requisitioned by the government during World War 2 to be used as a training location for the army. I think this sounds like a fascinating story but unfortunately the essence of this story just didn't come through in the novel for me.