Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In December 1913, the city of Vienna glitters with promises of the future for sought- after debutante Amalia Faulhaber. But life takes a dramatic turn when simmering political unrest escalates into the most deadly war the world has ever known. Amalia is devastated when her fiance, Baron Eberhard von Waldburg, breaks off their engagement to return to his native Germany and obligatory military service. But she soon discovers that her passion for democracy in an increasingly fascist world has put everything she loves in danger. Her family torn apart and impoverished by the war, Amalia must now choose between an idealistic young Polish doctor, who shares her political views, and the wealthy Baron von Schoenenburg, an Austrian Cabinet minister who promises to provide safety and security in a violent, tumultuous time. Reminiscent of Gone with the Wind, this epic novel explores the nature of human character and the elusive search for love and peace.

I volunteered to read and review this book for the author, when I received it my 1st thought was "What did I Do?" The book is 591 pages long. Once I started reading I completely forgot about the length.

"The Last Waltz" is the story of Amalia. It starts when she is a teenager, engaged to a Prussian Musician, who breaks their engagement to go and fight with the Prussian Army.
This story is well researched and historically accurate. It takes place primarily in Vienna between 1913 and 1938. Woven into the story of Amalia's life, loves, choices and consequences is the story of War. The events leading up to WWI, the war and the terrible toll it took on the people of Austria and Germany, Austria's attempt to become a democratic nation and Hitler's rise to power.
I loved this book, Amalia was believable and the political climate of the times made me realize that if we don't learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.
I highly recommend this book, my only complaint is that it wasn't quite long enough, I would have liked an epilogue or a few more chapters to find out how the characters fared during WWII.

Publisher: Shadow Mountain
ISBN 978-1-60641-052-3
Published April 2009

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