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The Luck of the Weissensteiners

(The Three Nations Trilogy #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  936 ratings  ·  256 reviews
In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles in with the Winkelmeier clan just as the developments in Germany start to make waves in Europe. The political climate in the multifaceted cultural jigsaw puzzle of disintegrating Czechoslovakia becomes more complex a ...more
Kindle Edition, 360 pages
Published November 30th 2012 by Kindle
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
“In the end we are all gambling with our lives in this war : Killed by the Germans, raped by the Russians or shot by friendly fire.”

The luck of the Weissensteiners is certainly better than most, but when the world goes mad even the best of luck can become tattered and frayed. The Weissensteiners are Jewish, not practicing Jewish. They even occasionally finding themselves sitting with the congregation of the Catholic Church. They are weavers, but Jonah is much more than an artisan making rugs. He
Alan Wynzel
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Fischer makes his mark with "The Luck Of The Weissensteiners", an intensely woven family drama driven by the twin tides of history and politics. His story revolves around the Weissensteiners, a non-religious Jewish family leading their lives in Bratislava, Slovakia, before and throughout WWII. Fischer demonstrates a masterly grip on history, politics, and the constant ebb and flow of human relationships. Multiple intertwined dramas unfold in the story as Europe marches toward war, Hitl ...more
Katy O'Dowd
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's not often that you read a book about the time just prior to, during and just after the Second World War that is based outside of either Britain or America. That's the first thing about The Luck of the Weissensteiners - it is unlike any other WWII fiction I have ever read, based on the experiences of a Jewish and Catholic family from Eastern Europe and the friends they make along the way.

This is an absolutely riveting read from Christoph Fischer, one in fact that I lost sleep over because I
Jenny Lloyd
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction, especially WW2
This story takes an original angle in depicting a Jewish family who were lucky enough to escape the death camps. Their luck came via their connections with a few, rare, non-Jewish people who refused to be blinkered by the anti-Semitic propaganda of the time; and the fact that they were non-practicing Jews meant their Jewishness went unnoticed by local people prior to the escalation of Nazi propaganda. All through this story, while the Weissensteiner family were saved from arrest on different occ ...more
Matthew Gough
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was recommended this book by a close friend whose judgment in these matters I trust completely. I'm not a fan of dry fact-laden historical novels, but I can say that this book does not fall into this category so please don't be put off by any preconceptions you may have towards this genre. I'm certainly glad I followed my friend's advice, and was richly rewarded by the author's complex and multifaceted characters, his deft use of prose, and his clean and clear writing style.

It would be easy to
Have you ever traveled a long, winding and seemingly endless road such as the Eyre Highway in Australia? It is one of the longest straight roads in the world, covering a monotonous landscape of nonstop hot, harsh, dry, scenery for a few thousand kilometers. All the traveler does is drive, stop for fuel, sleep, drive, stop for fuel and drive until it finally comes to an end, if you are lucky to survive at all with no brain damage!

This is the tone of this book. Sadly. What could have been a power
Bernice Rocque
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
With much research behind it, as well as the personal experience of growing up in the region, Christoph Fischer’s work of historical fiction provides insight into the psyche beneath the levels of destruction in WWII-era Europe. If you are someone who wonders how such atrocities could have occurred prior to, and during WWII on the continent, you will want to read The Luck of the Weissensteiners.

The setting is Czechoslovakia, though it could have been almost any country in the region. Ethnic disr
Scott Stevens
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Following Greta from pre-WWII Bratislava through Carlsbad through Aschaffenburg and ultimately to post-war Frankfurt is a well-written journey. Fischer's The Luck of the Weissensteiners had me hooked into the journey, turning pages and asking the same question Greta stumbles upon frequently, “Where were friends or enemies?”

The novel is a historically sound piece dealing with loyalty, stigma, love, loneliness and oppression set against a backdrop of Eastern Europe's turmoil. The characters' lives
Simon Okill
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
The Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer is nothing short of pure genius. I fell in love with the writing the moment I flipped the first page. The author's exquisite sense of style combines intricate historical facts with dramatic family turmoil that shocked the whole world when first revealed back in 1945. This beautifully crafted novel is filled with desperation and sheer determination to survive against insurmountable odds.
Greta Weissensteiner falls in love with the young man who
John Hanley
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absorbing and utterly convincing.

This is a tour de force from a writer completely confident in his material and research. The opening had me so gripped that I started to fall in love with Greta Weissensteiner and wanted to elbow Wilhelm aside and rescue her from his dusty bookshop. But as I have already read so much about this period I felt the tentacles of dread reaching out to throttle me as the inevitable approached and despatching Wilhelm would only have removed the Weissenteiners luck!
Ella Hansing
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Though we journey through this work with fictional characters, it is evident early on that this piece is comprehensively researched – the thoroughness of detail in no way detracts from the story told through the different personalities the author has created and placed within such a turbulent time in history. I particularly enjoyed tracing after the protagonist Greta as she evolved (like the other cast members were forced to do so through their rapid changing lives) through her sweet, simple, ea ...more
Robert Carter
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an epic tale about a Jewish family living in Bratislava, and the environs in the years running up to WW2 and beyond. It is much more than a holocaust story – it is an account of how Hitler’s Nazi propaganda came to be regarded as the truth, how people started to behave as a result and the total upheaval which accompanied the war and the aftermath.

Fischer gives an account of the history and this is mirrored by the actions of the characters. This provides a powe
I have been slogging my way through this for almost three months. It is a very well-researched account of another spot on the map invaded by the Nazi's, Czechoslavakia. I learned a lot as a result, but it was kind of like learning in school. Not entertaining. Too clinical. Stilted, monotone conversations that felt like I was reading a translation from another language. I did like Greta a great deal as she always seemed to bring out the best in people, but not many other characters were as likeab ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book, a historical romance came as a pleasant surprise.
The plot line is simple, can Jews stay out of the hands of Nazi Germany when anti Semitism is at a high? The subplot was amazing. The author plays off prejudice against a continent in a constant state of change with their people a diaspora group of settlers. In such a Europe, where do you turn to? The fact that you were born Jewish but are not a practicing Jew must count for something, must it not? Surely it will. But in a world where
Mary Josefina Cade
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
War. A word at the centre of a vortex of anger, despair and random acts of cruelty. The Weissensteiners are caught up on the outer edges of the Second World War but the consequences are still devastating. Set mainly in Bratislava, Christoph Fischer's intense book views this conflict from an Eastern European perspective.

As the Weissensteiner family discover, in a war zone all choices are between disaster or catastrophe. Everyone is terrified and fighting for survival. Rumour and suspicion create
Mike Meyer
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book. I was enthralled all the way through. I felt as if I were actually part of the action. The characters were all drawn so vividly. This book is full of history. It was so well researched, and yet it reads like a thriller, twisting its way through the horrors of World War II and its awful impacts on individuals, families, and cultures. As I read, I literally felt I was part of the action. I wanted to hide in terror at times, scream in anger at times, and even laugh at tim ...more
Bob Rector
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is fitting that the central characters in Christoph Fischer's “Luck of the Weissensteiners” are a family of weavers who create beautiful, finely-crafted tapestries. This book is also a beautiful, finely-crafted tapestry chronicling the plight of one family of Eastern European non-practicing Jews as they struggle to survive the storm of hatred ravaging their country during WWII. It's depiction of the most magnificent and the most vile of human nature during the collapse of civilization is epic ...more
Alan Hardy
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This epic tale covers the period from the 1930s to the end of World War Two and is initially centred in Bratislava in Czechoslovakia and on a romance between Greta, a Jewish woman who is something of a bookworm, and Wilhelm, a German bookshop assistant. When Greta falls pregnant, they get married, and then the perspective of the story changes. It is no longer a love affair viewed against a historical background of cataclysmic world events, but becomes the intricate recording of the fate and fort ...more
Mimi Marten
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war-novels
I'm originally from Bratislava and I was very intrigued to read this book. Second World War has been penned many times over, but not very often from the Central part of Europe, especially Slovakia. I grew up with war stories from our grandparent's generation and I was happy to see that finally someone told stories not only about the Nazis but the lovely Red army as well, and the brutal revenge of people after the war. The author showed a great knowledge about the racial politics of that era.

Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The pre-World War II Europe was a most fascinating time and place from a historian's point of view. The unresolved tensions remaining from the first World War, new tensions created as a result of it have been gradually building in Germany and surrounding countries. The people's perception of who they are as nations and nationalities became more astute due to a sizable amount of emigration that followed the events of the beginning of the century.

The book starts with an unlikely, as it might appea
Zrinka Jelic
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very poignant and sorrowful tale of Greta, a young Jewish girl falling for Wilhelm, a German boy in pre and during the WWII Czechoslovakia. Her family did not practice the Judaism and due to many different circumstances in the political, economical and national, they managed to slip under Nazi's radar. However, unlike Biblical Ruth who waited patiently for her Boaz,Greta settled for his relative lyin'-az and he did not respect her az. He kind of married her because he got her pregnant and in m ...more
Kayla De Leon
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is a very poignant tale about Greta Weissensteiner, a beautiful Jew living in Bratislava. It follows her and her family throughout World War II as they struggle to escape the oppressive Germans and the deportation lists.

Like I said, The Luck of the Weissensteiners was very moving. Christoph Fischer gave us a compelling plot and characters that tugged at my heart strings. What I really liked about this was how the author wrote black and white characters. The charac
Elizabeth Braun
May 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Luck of the Weissensteiners written by Christoph Fischer chronicles the struggles of one Jewish family to survive WWII in Bratislava. The tale begins in 1933 with Greta, the family’s eldest daughter, falling in love and marrying a scholarly German, Wilhelm. Greta moves in with her in-laws and helps work their farm. As time passes, more and more anti-semantic policies spread across the border from Germany into Slovakia. Eventually Wilhelm is so poisoned by the propaganda that he returns to Be ...more
Charlie Bray
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The story is set in three European countries, each affected by war and political intrigue.

It starts in Bratislave in 1933, when the heroine, Greta Weissensteiner meets and is immediately attracted to a young bookseller. The writer's skill is evident this early on when he successfully depicts the difference in these two lovers. Two quite different characters, she a serious, quite old fashioned young lady, he a mischievous, devil may care romantic. Christoph Fischer captures the differences beauti
Paulette Mahurin
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners , was an epic and impressive read. The amount of research the author must have put into writing this story was evident by the well thought out and described times in time when geography was redirected by reigns of terror in Germany, in Russia, in the hearts of others that could watch nations of peoples, families torn apart and displaced. What starts out as a love story, a metaphor beginning in the spring of a young couple lives moves into the d ...more
Steven Malone
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Luck of the Weissensteiners – Book 1 of the Three Nations Trilogy by Christoph Fischer

A story that needs be told; ‘lest we forget’.

I give Christoph Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners – Book 1 of the Three Nations Trilogy 5 Stars.

Here is a powerful story of the fate of Eastern Europe through the years of tragedy that was World War II. The author shows us, through the eyes of the Weissensteiner family, the disintegration of the whole of human experience from the pressures exerted upon
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
although the author claims that the book is fiction, this is a story told in such a way that the reader walks away with the feeling of having read someone's retelling of personal and family experiences during wwII. i suppose, compared to some, the weissensteiners considered themselves "lucky" in how they had to endure the war, and while times and conditions continued to get worse, they felt that "luck" was on their side. i enjoyed the characters -- i felt what they felt, hoped their hopes, and c ...more
Amalie Jahn
As an avid history buff, I was excited to read The Luck of the Weissensteiners on the recommendation of a friend. Christoph Fischer delivers a powerful and intense look into the lives of several connected families living in Czechoslovakia before, during, and after WWII. There were several factors that made this novel particularly enjoyable to me. First was the author’s writing style, which presented itself as though it was being told by a great storyteller to its listeners around a fire, much in ...more
Ty Patterson
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is not easy to write about history if one has not lived in the moment, since what one writes is colored by the opinions of others. It is even more difficult to write historical fiction based on events that were some of the most momentous in the last eighty odd years.

Christoph Fischer pulls it off in The Luck of the Weissenteiners.

This is the story of Greta Weissensteiner and the Weissensteiner family, a Jewish family in Bratislava in war torn Europe. The scope of the book is immense, covering
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
History can either slow a book or enrich it. Christoph Fischer found the secret formula. This historical novel blends the right bit of romance, slice-of-life reality and historic facts to paint a story that is difficult to put down and impossible to let go of. The characters are all people I know, who I can never forget. Their drama and survival during the most horrendous period of the last century is crafted with such care and perfect detail that you might believe it is a story of your own fami ...more
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Weissensteiners hits Number One 5 35 Jul 01, 2014 11:06AM  

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Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a smal ...more

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The Three Nations Trilogy (3 books)
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