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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  418 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The csardas is a dance that symbolizes the vibrant spirit, the love of life of a proud people. And Csardas is a deftly plotted saga of great power, beauty, and historical authenticity that follows the changing fortunes of three aristocratic European families--spanning two world wars and four countries, and brimming with richly drawn, unforgettable characters.

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Unknown Binding, 576 pages
Published January 1st 1975 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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Portions of this review will discuss events that are historical fact. I have made every effort not to mention the fates of specific characters in relation to those historical events.

Csardas begins in 1914 and focuses around the lives of the two Ferenc sisters, Eva and Amalia (Malie), daughters of a Hungarian aristocrat and a wealthy Jewish banker, who expected little more out of life but parties with dashing young men to court them. Self-centered Eva is determined to snare the wealthy Felix Kald
As a Hungarian, I can attest to the fact that most people (at least in the US) don’t know much about my country or culture even though we’ve been through a lot and persevered. Diane Pearson explores the life of a fictional bourgeois Hungarian family during WWI and WWII in “Csardas”.

Pearson aptly named her novel “Csardas” as this is our most popular folk dance style and was used by the Hungarian army as a recruitment theme song. We associate many emotions and feelings with these music notes. Sim
As every Downton Abbey fan knows, when the British aristocracy runs itself into debt and decay, the solution is to marry a rich American heiress whose bottomless purse will save the ancestral lands. In Hungary at the dawn of the 20th century impecunious noblemen apparently married (sometimes) beautiful Jewish women instead.

The Enlightenment had helped create a subclass of wealthy European Jewish families, many engaged in banking and finance, and most thoroughly divorced from their cultural and
Csardas (pronounced CHAR-dosh) takes place in Hungary and spans over thirty years and the rise and fall of two generations. The characters endure two world wars and subsequent government changes which affect their standing in the community,their livelihoods, wealth, and eventually their very lives. Over almost 600 pages we watch the three families grow and interact, raise eyebrows, marry (or not), bear children (or not) and finally either live (or not). That's Csardas in a nutshell.

So I really l
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
It’s a shame this book is so unknown, because it’s an excellent and highly entertaining work of historical fiction. I blame the romance-y cover and foreign title, neither of which is an accurate representation of the book’s contents. This is a family saga spanning several decades, and like all epics it has a bit of romance in it, but that is far from the focus, especially after the first 100 pages. As for the title (pronounced CHAR-dosh), it’s probably the only Hungarian word in the book; Csarda ...more
There is a class of books - especially from the 70s and 80s - that I call "good books with bad covers." Apparently, there was a need at one time to convince everyone to read good history by doing a bait and switch about it being a romance.

This novel falls squarely in the class. While finding a "good husband" is indeed the occupation of the Ferenc girls at the start of the novel, the history that overtakes their pursuits outweighs the lightness of this storyline pretty quickly. It follows the his
Colleen Waltner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Read this book many years ago and I remember how much I loved it! Really good historical fiction!
Not a light read, but absolutely worth it. This book is beautiful.
Feb 23, 2008 April rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to April by: Ian Zilberkweit
Compelling historical fiction from Central Europe.
This book combines several of my favorite characteristics:
- a wonderful means of escape to another world;
- historical fiction from a time and place I consistently find fascinating (mid-20th century; Central Europe - Hungary to be exact); and,
- a love story involving seriously interesting people.
What more could I ask for?
Read this for the story, and characters. Diane Pearson is a good, though not great writer.
The author is not Hungarian - but she
Mama has a great belief in roses.

What a long, luxurious, readable novel. Epic, dramatic, seductive. I loved it. (I must say the writing is perfectly fine, nothing spectacular; this is just good story-telling.)

Keep this on the shelf next to The Invisible Bridge: fat Hungarian family histories.
And speaking of which, there's an old movie by Istvan Szabo in English also about three generations of a Hungarian family called "Sunshine" which I recommend, if anyone else is interested in this subject.
Ellie Singer

I'll just preface this by giving a quick run-down of my background. I am half Hungarian. My mother was born in Budapest, and came to Australia in the 1950s. Many friends of the family are Hungarian in origin, plus we still have many relatives who still live in Hungary. I have grown up eating Hungarian food and heard Hungarian spoken relatively often. I visited Budapest a few years back and it was an experience I'll always cherish.

Okay, now the review (warning, this probably will contain spoilers
Frances Fuller
This is one of my all time favorite books. Having been married to a Jew at the time with a Mexican-Indian son, and a half-Black grandchild, I thought I would have felt like the woman who got on the truck when they loaded everyone she loved, to take to a concentration camp.
A random 50-cent pick at the flea market, just because the story seemed to be set in Hungary, and surprisingly this turned out to be rather good (the bright and tacky 1970's Finnish cover art wasn't very convincing). It started as light historical romance and gradually turned into a depiction of a whole era in Hungarian history, with interesting characters and a nicely flowing story. I started reading Csardas right after finishing The Devil's lieutenant, and history-wise Csardas pretty much pick ...more
The csardas is a dance that symbolizes vibrant love of life of a proud people. This story is the saga of great power, beauty and historical authenticity that follows the changing fortunes of three aristocratic European families. It spans two world wars and four countries.
♥ Marlene♥
Read this book many many years ago, translated in Dutch. It was one of my favorite books back then and I want to re-read but this time in English.
I ditto what 'Bivens' wrote: 'Read this book many years ago and I remember how much I loved it! Really good historical fiction!'
review to come....4.5 stars....nearly perfect, but with an odd ending.
Excellent epic novel!
Madeleine D'Este
When I'm writing my speculative fiction, I try to read from another contrasting genre to cut down on the influence. So during Nanowrimo 2014, I read historical fiction instead and the novel "Csardas" by Diane Pearson.

Csardas, a family saga set in Hungary, traces the lives of three privileged families from the simple days prior to WW1 right through the establishment of the Communist regime post WW2. The novel begins following the "enchanting Ferenc sisters" Eva and Malie as they enter society and
a lot of narrative power that makes one turn pages to see what happens and a great first half, but then the book starts being a collection of cliches and even worse as cliches within a strong story are tolerable, scatters from a relatively tight narrative to more of a vignette style - the time span expands and the author like other storytellers with narrative power but not that much literary technique simply doesn't have the ability to cope with extended time spans without reducing the story to ...more
When I first read this book at age 16, I really enjoyed learning about this culture and its role in history. After a recent re-read, however, I found the story line to be contrived and predictable.

I love so much this hisotrical story across the 20th century's first 50 years.
I'd read this many years ago but didn't own the book. It's an excellent reread!
Maureen Carter
Great book! Read a long long time ago.
Magnificent! Just - magnificent!
There were a few things in this novel that I could have done without. It's written kind of more like a romance novel in a way than historical fiction. It's about a wealthy Jewish Hungarian family and their lives through WWII and after. I read it because of my affinity for Hungary, but, like I said, a few things that I could do without.
Good historical fiction about a wealthy Jewish, Hungarian family beginning in 1914 and ending after WWII. Written in 1975, the cover looks dated but lots of interesting historical facts about what the Hungarians went thru during both world wars.
I read this many, many years ago and although I don't recall the plot in detail, it is a book that has kept popping back into my mind time and time again. Perhaps I will read it again one day.
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Diane Margaret Pearson was born on 5 November 1931 in Croyden, London, England, daughter of Miriam Harriet Youde and William Holker. She spent a large part of her childhood with her grandparents in a village on the Surrey/Kent borders. She attended Secondary School in Croyden. She became in 1975, the second wife of the Irish actor and physician Richard Leeper McClelland (aka Richard Leech). Widow ...more
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