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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  32 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.

Trying to fou...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Colleen Waltner
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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...more
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.
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.
Aug 22, 2014 Hana marked it as to-read
Recommended to Hana by: Misfit and Dorcas
Hungary! Perfect for my Around the World reading challenge.
Excellent epic novel!
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.
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.
This is a 1975 bestseller. Author of Summer of the Barshinskeys. I ordered it and I am looking forward to reading it. Loved it!
Michelle Hynes
My mother gave this book to me in my stocking when I was 15...I loved it. I want to read it again!!
Janet Wilcox
Story of a Jewish family in Hungary surviving through two world wards. Very good.
Cheryl S.
Follows four families in Hungary from before WW1 to after WW2.
Great book, sweeping story and characters you care about.
"Nostalgia was at best wasteful, at worst dangerous."
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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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