Book: The Last Waltz by GG Vandagriff
Published by Shadow Mountain, April 2009
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction/Austria/World War I
I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Brief Synopsis via Goodreads: 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 improvised 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 love historical fiction of almost any kind and I am pleased that I can add this book to the list. Thanks to my obsession with Downton Abbey, I’ve been wanting to read more novels set during World War I and this book was a great place to start. Though I should warn, this book is not like Downtown Abbey, though social class does play a pretty big part in it.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about Amalia when I first started the book. I wasn’t sure if I liked her. Or, if I disliked her but liked her more than the rest of her family. Thankfully, she grows on you during the rest of the novel, but her family overall, did not.
I’m not sure what I loved most about the novel: the political intrigue or the love story. I love strong female characters and do have a character like Amalia hold her own in such turbulent times is wonderful. She’s feisty and smart, though I don’t completely agree with her taste in men. She did have some characteristics that I didn’t like, she was a little selfish and sometimes short sighted, but I loved her story. She stood out amongst the men in society and that was so unlikely at the time, I can’t help but root for her.
It reads like the best parts of my favorite classics, but is perfectly modern as well. The book is quite long, but don’t let the length discourage you. It goes by quickly. It was hard to put down. I was actually quite sad that this book ended, even though it was also quite long.
I would recommend this one to any of you that love epic love stories or historical fiction. I think it will draw you in just as easily.