Author: G.S. Johnston
Publish Date: January 23, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like a good love story.
From Goodreads.com: "Passions flare and alliances shift in this breathtaking story of survival set during the final days of World War II in Hungary.
Young Zeno dreams of moving to Budapest and becoming a great filmmaker in the Hungarian film studios. But one evening he follows Catherine Steiner, a guest at the exclusive lakeside resort where he works as a bellboy, into the forest. Unknowingly he dives into her life, changing his forever.
Her husband is a wealthy industrialist with the power to create – or crush – Zeno. Despite Catherine’s protests, Zeno moves to Budapest and takes a servant’s job in the Steiner house, shining her husband’s shoes while hearing the family’s secrets.
All Zeno and Catherine have are precious hours in a secret apartment, tucked above the uneasy streets of a city at war, their affair a flimsy wall against a future no one can see or predict. Until it arrives."
My Two Cents:
I love books that take me to new places. This book takes us to Budapest, Hungary, a city that I have romanticized in my head and someplace that I really hope to visit someday. This is a historical fiction book that takes place during World War II. I know what you all are thinking! Oh man, not another World War II historical fiction. But you all want to read this book. We are still fascinated by World War II because so much of what happened in the aftermath still shapes our world almost 70 years later.
This is also a love story. Zeno, as a very young man, has a chance meeting with Catherine, who is hiding secrets of her own. They fall in love under the shadow of the Nazis spreading their hate all across the continent. Catherine's secrets begin to unravel while Zeno seems to have to become wiser than his years really quickly. I really liked all of the twists and turns that Johnston lays down for the reader. A lot of them I didn't see coming (I love a good surprise).
I also thought it was especially interesting to see the choices that Catherine makes. They aren't choices that I would necessarily make but you can see why Catherine chooses to do the things that she does. I liked that her choices seemed so real.
The end definitely surprised me. I don't want to give anything away but I really thought the ending was perfect for this book!
Bottom line: This is a great historical fiction with lots of twists and turns.
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