Saturday, 31 October 2015

Book Review: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (Three Nations Trilogy, Book One) by Christoph Fischer

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Synopsis: In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and the families.

The story follows their lot through the war with its predictable and also its unexpected turns and events and the equally hard times after.

Review: I like fiction books that can go outside of their basic remit to be a page turner, to excite and to thrill. In the case of Christoph Fischer's epic series, I can honestly say I was informed and educated also. The Luck of the Weissensteiners is a truly epic historical work of fiction. When you are going through the early pages, the author goes to great lengths to explain the historical accuracies, but also where it is based on pure storytelling.

Following the lives of the family, the stand-out characters for me are Greta and Wilma. As they make their journey from hell to safer parts of Europe, it is like we go on that journey with them. I was literally exhausted reading this book, but in a good way.

Not everything about the book is perfect, the pace is a little too slow at times, but when it picks up, boy does it. This is a tale that rewards the patient reader.

Having said that, the pace is fitting for the narrative. This is a long tale,indeed, a long journey. The group go through hell and I was stomach churned by some of the descriptions. If you are a little queasy about such things, get over it, because I think this marks out average story telling from great story telling.

I did not read this book quickly. Even with other demands on my time, it was quite something to finish this book. But the author has put his all into this, you can tell he is passionate about the story. I have tried in this review to talk about my feelings about the book, not so much the story itself, because this has been covered in the many good reviews already placed here.

I heartily recommend this book. Get a drink, a place by a warm fire, and get lost in this tale.