By Hannah Rothschild
Alfred A. Knopf, $26.95, 285 pages
The story of The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild begins with author Hannah Rothschild’s interest in her family tree. When she begins asking questions about her great-aunt Nica, family members suddenly have nothing to share. Hannah begins her own research and discovers that the enigmatic Pannonica Rothschild left her husband to move to New York and take part in the jazz scene.
The novel takes readers back to New York in the ‘50s, showing Nica as a fixture in the jazz scene – a free spirit immersed in art and culture who was willing to take any risk for the sake of music.
The Baroness is a slice of life featuring American history and an elusive family that has fascinated many for decades. While the musical lifestyle that Nica led is interesting, so much drama comes from her choice to leave the wealth and extravagance of the Rothschild family, which keeps the book fresh from start to finish.
Reviewed by Sophie Sestero