- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1623 KB
- Print Length: 480 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Orson Whitney Press (4 Oct. 2011)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005TMV670
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,030 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||£9.89|
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The Last Waltz - New Edition: A Novel of Love and War (Saga of Love and War Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In 1913, Amalia Faulhaber is just nineteen years old, engaged to a Baron who will secure her family's social status. Her life is predictable as she follows the pattern set by the aristocracy. Then her fiancé breaks their engagement, telling her he must follow his childhood dream and join the Prussian army. He leaves for Germany that same day. Amalia is devastated, but even worse, humiliated. She hides the break-up until she can deliver a valid explanation to her family.
Yet as she is struggling with feelings of being rejected, she meets two men. One is another Baron--an Austrian who promises to choose her over his country. The other, a Pole, who holds the same ideals as Amalia and haunts her dreams and every waking moment.
But a terrible misunderstanding drives Amalia to make a mistake that she will pay for a lifetime. Soon after, World War I breaks out, and Amalia is forced to face her ghosts and heal from tragedy. She copes by working as a nurse, becoming a witness to unspeakable horrors.
Her family loses their position in society and politics and war take over any hope of Amalia ever marrying for true love. Austria is thrown into chaos as various government ideals struggle for power. Family members are forced to choose sides. Fortunes are lost. Jews are persecuted. Amalia's only salvation is developing a relationship with the Lord. And she must learn to trust again.
Before reading this book, I'd never given too much thought to those who lived in pre-Hitler controlled Austria. Of course, I've seen the Sound of Music enough times to understand that those who did not swear allegiance to Hitler were in mortal danger. Yet, the events leading up to this historical time were fascinating. The Last Waltz was truly an epic love tale, spanning four decades of Amalia's life--following her through triumph and tragedy. She'd lost so much, yet came out so strong. And through all of her temptations she remained a virtuous woman.
If I was to nitpick one thing, I would have liked more time and attention spent on the literal last waltz that took place near the end of the book.
Yet, overall GG Vandagriff has a talent for immersing the reader in a different time and place. I was interested to read her biography and discover that she'd lived and studied in Austria. The Last Waltz is also a novel that was thirty years in the making. I'm grateful it finally made it to me.
This novel of love and war carries messages from which nations today could well take heed. Dangerous politics that produced World Wars I and II also brought immeasurable tragedies to individuals and families.
Along with heartbreaks come selfless heroics, and individual growth. And this to me is the theme of The Last Waltz. One piece of dialogue that stays in my mind is found on Page 206 when the main character, spunky young Amalia, asks her friend Louisa, "And what is the ultimate tragedy, then?" Louisa replies, "To become less than we were born to be."
To quote from the back cover:
"In this gripping tale of love and war, a dazzling young socialite of the old world contends with deeply contradictory notions and personal crises to become a woman who would be extraordinary in any age."
Amalia has to choose between a love so deep it refuses to die, and a different kind of love that holds her heart with loyalties born of sacrifice, devotion, and an iron will.
I highly recommend this book for everyone who enjoys soaking up history in foreign lands and at the same time getting teary-eyed over a wonderful love story. I can well imagine The Last Waltz as a breath-taking movie production that fills movie theaters worldwide.
From the publisher, Shadow Mountain: "The Last Waltz is a culminating work for the author. She started it decades ago during a study abroad in Austria and has been revising and researching it ever since. When she wasn't publishing one of the other half dozen novels she has published, she was working on this historical romance novel."