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Midnight Train to Prague

3.03  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  116 reviews
An unforgettable tale of what we owe to those we love, and those we have left behind

In 1927, as Natalia Faber travels from Berlin to Prague with her mother, their train is delayed in Saxon Switzerland. In the brief time the train is idle, Natalia learns the truth about her father and meets a remarkable woman named Dr. Magdalena Schaefferová, whose family will become a sign
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Average rating 3.03  · 
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May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“She wanted peace, sanctuary, untroubled days slipping past like rosary beads.”

Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is the story of a girl named Natalia who is tossed about by war (and a silly, irresponsible mother). We follow Natalia from her girlhood to falling in love, to marriage and her experience in Hungary and Prague in World War Two all the way to her experiences in a post-war world.

What I Loved:
1. The Writing Style: Excuse me, what? Considering most all of these negative reviews a
Lee Husemann
I love World War II Historical Fiction but this book was disappointing to me. I did not care for the passive narration of the story, the too numerous characters and numerous places. The story seemed to jump from one time line and place to another one which was very confusing. The characters seemed very superficial and I really could not pick a favorite. I think the author did do a very good job researching this book.

Thank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC of this book in exchange for
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Rambling and disconnected. There were too many characters in the story with a very thin story line. It should have been kept a bit more simplified instead of including every person it seems the characters met! This book fell way short.
A. M. Kimber
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Thank you Netgalley for a copy of Midnight Train to Prague in exchange for a review::

I did not enjoy this. I was really looking forward it, as I love historical fiction and love Berlin, but those loves were soon ignored as I couldn’t get a handle of this book. It was all-over the place.

First of all, it didn’t help that the majority of the story was told in the passive (tell). There was a lot of: ‘When they finished doing this, X did this and Y then did that.’ Pages and pages of tell (which doe
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
At times, you don't understand the value of a book until you finish it. "Midnight Train to Prague" was one of those poignant reads. I love historical fiction, especially WWII's chapter. However this book chugged along on a journey but I couldn't discover its direction.

The second half I felt was stronger than the first and through Anna, I began to care about Natalia. Anna's innocence mixed with Natalia's fortitude paralleled lost girls in terms of family and fortune. As the story continued into
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is an excellent historical fiction that follows Natalia Faber from childhood, 1920s Berlin, and through WWII in Prague.

We see Natalia’s interesting and eccentric mother, Beatriz, and her upbringing to the point where Beatriz and Natalia travel on a train from Berlin to Prague. This seemingly benign trip becomes monumental, pivotal, and full of surprises. Little does she know how much this trip will change the rest of her life. She meets Miklos Andorjan
Allison Speakmon
Jun 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited for this book. While I think the story line could have been great the narration was a huge turn off for me. The passive narration through the whole book and the abundance of characters made it really difficult to get involved with the story. It sounded like more like a textbook than a novel.
Cheryl Sokoloff
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Midnight Train to Prague is Carol Windley's ode to the people of Hungary, in particular, and to the people of Germany, who carried out Hitler's orders.

I loved all the characters that Windley created, and there are a lot in this book, so be prepared. As well, there is a lot of detail about the history of the Czeckoslovakia.

Carol Windley ingeniously intertwines the players in her story. In the first chapters of the book, Nathalia, as a child, from her seat on the train, first sees Milõs (and Zit
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm simply stunned by the lackluster reviews of "Midnight Train to Prague," which I found to be a standout in the field of World War II novels. Set mostly in the East--Czechoslovakia and Hungary with some stops in Berlin and Buenos Aires. The characters are so relatable and appealing that any reader will fall under their spells.

Carol Windley launches the book in 1927, meaning that the relationships are well-rooted long before the war starts. An encounter on a train introduces young Natalia to a
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this novel. At its heart, it is a love story, though like all good love stories it is much else besides. The action spans several decades, two world wars, and is told from the point of view of three different characters. Glancing at the other reviews, I see some people had difficulty with the time jumps, the multitude of characters, the language and the general unwieldiness of the thing. Yes, it is long, and perhaps towards the end I felt it could have been shorter; the Anna point of vie ...more
Jennifer Cook Nafziger
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. The book sounded so interesting from the description and I enjoy reading fiction centered around World War II. While there were parts of the book I devoured quickly, it didn’t really follow a logical sequence. There were times when things would take an abrupt jump and I would find myself going back several pages to see if I had missed something... which I hadn’t. There were many characters and a lot of back story on parts that didn’t matte ...more
Sometimes IRead
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley was such a quiet and gentle read but still captured a powerful message. It’s one of those books that reminds me that not everything needs to be about pacing, or plot climaxes, or impactful messages. There can be important lessons to be learnt in the quieter moments in life as well.

When I read the blurb, I thought I was in for a sucker punch to my gut because of the atrocities of the Second World War. However, Windley chooses to skip past the graphic, lea
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely intergenerational story around World War II in Hungary set in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I sometimes felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the characters coming and going, but overall, this was a story about Natalia Faber, from the time she is living with her over-the-top mother Beatriz up to her middle-age self and how life has changed her.. This is a story about love, loss, the ugliness of war, hope, disappointment, friendship, starting over, and basically life in general ...more
Mrs. Kristin
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had issues with this novel. FIRST...I received a bit of a snarky email from the publisher essentially criticizing me for not being a "professional reviewer" and forced me to subscribe to their email digests since I was only an "avid reader". While I totally get where they are coming from, business wise, I am a history and English teacher and do read a lot of novels for myself, my knowledge, my students, my lessons etc. So yes, I am NOT a professional reviewer and don't rack up the likes on my ...more
Soni S
Dec 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book follows Natalia Faber, between the 1920s-1940s. She is on a train to Prague with her mother when she finds out the truth about her father, meets Dr. Schaefferová, and this sets off a series of events that unfold in her life. Her mother has a life of her own and Natalia is left trying to figure out where she belongs. She eventually marries and settles down, but everything is turned upside down when war breaks out in Europe. She meets various people whom are within 5 degrees of separatio ...more
On a train to Prague strangers meet. More strangers meet while in Czechoslovakia at a health resort in the mountains. Their lives intersect later on in ways they never imaged during WWII after the Germans invade Czechoslovakia. This story takes readers from Berlin, to Buenos Aires, to Hungary, to Prague and Seattle as it highlights the devastation caused by the Nazis during WWII.

There are a lot of different characters in the book, initially making it hard to follow the novel during the first ha
Jennifer Hoffert
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn’t love this one. The writing style of the author was slightly abrupt and strange. It was overly descriptive where it wasn’t necessary, interspersed with short spurts of dialogue. The book got better in the second half, but the author tried to span too long of a time frame with too many characters. The descriptions during WWII in the second half were heart wrenching and well written. Being a foodie, I did love reading any of the descriptions about the foods they were eating, as I’ve never ...more
Jennifer N
Feb 09, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I tried - it seemed like it would be up my alley but I was so bored that I put it down 100 pages in.
Veronica (Honey Roselea Reads)
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My review will be going up on Tuesday at 10 am CST my blog and will upload a direct link here when it publishes. For now, here is a preview of what the review will look like:


Midnight Train to Prague shows the journey of Natalia Faber through World War II and the struggles of experiencing the war and the aftermath of the war.

Throughout Midnight Train to Prague, we are
Jul 09, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley — thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book!

Midnight Train to Prague is WWII historical fiction, obviously set on a train to Prague in Czechoslovakia. The book follows Natalia and Anna on their journey with this train. Normally I would give a more thorough response in relation to the plot of the book, but I cannot find more than this on the pages. The line of the plot was so thin that I could barely see it; this book definitely read more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was very surprised to read so many negative reviews for this book. I found it one of my favourites in the historical fiction category.
At first , I was concerned about the writing style of "passive narration " and felt that I may not get through the book.......but very quickly I came to love the style and found that it made the story so fascinating. All of the minute details of the lives of the main characters enhanced the story telling and I was totally enthralled with the tale.
So much pain, s
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is an excellent historical fiction that follows Natalia Faber from childhood, 1920s Berlin, and through WWII in Prague.

We see Natalia’s interesting and eccentric mother, Beatriz, and her upbringing to the point where Beatriz and Natalia travel on a train from Berlin to Prague. This seemingly benign trip becomes monumental, pivotal, and full of surprises. Little does she know how much this trip will change the rest of her life. She meets Miklos Andorjan
I received an e-ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review of the book. I'd like to thank the author and publisher for this opportunity to read and review the book.

I don't like to give low ratings for ARC books, but have been asked for my honest review, so I feel that I need to rate this book 2 stars, which is 'it was ok' for me. I felt like the book I was reading was different from the book described. I had difficulty keeping track of the character lines, the time li
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC. The premise of the story peaked my interest. The story itself drowned that interest quickly. I struggled through the first 100 pages of character upon character and back stories. I don’t care what they were wearing even if it added to character development which it didn’t. I don’t need to know the trains were slow and smelled. What else would you expect just after WWI. The book doesn’t flow smoothly, the characters themselves aren’t particularly interesting a ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I definitely recommend this. It started out really strong. The first half of the book had me so hooked. The second half felt a bit rushed, but overall I think this is an excellent addition to the genre. At the beginning of the story, Natalia is on a train to Prague with her mother. In quick succession, she sees a Bugatti racing past and wonders about the passengers, meets a female doctor and her son, and then learns the truth about her father. Her life would never be the same. As they are all he ...more
JM Spade
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exploring history through Natalia's eyes is heartbreaking and emotional - from the time she's a child in the 20's in Berlin to spending WWII in Prague.

The relationships, friendships, and romances she has along the way... and how WWII changes each relationship and devastates a group of people. Taking the train from Berlin to Prague seems like a typical adventure, but it is life changing.

If you're a historical fiction fan like I am, you'll find yourself immersed in a far away time and facing life
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Thanks NetGalley, Grove Atlantic and Carol Windley for providing a free copy to review.
I am a big fan of historical fiction especially WWI & WWII novels, Midnight Train to Prague discusses both wars. I wanted to love this book and I didn't particularly dislike it either. In my opinion the second half of the book was stronger and more coherent, I was a bit confused during the first half. I feel like the writer wanted to tell everything which was too much to take. A
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The plot and setting sounded like they were perfect for me. But I just couldn’t get into it. There were too many characters in the beginning and the time period kept changing without any kind of warning or clue.

I hate giving a less than 3 star review for any book because I know someone put their heart and soul into this novel. But it just wasn’t for me.
Erika Janet
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
If you don't mind, would you be able to check out my blog. I post book reviews on there and we have discussions on my Instagram - thank you!

Bottles of Books
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is a post-Bolshevik Revolution and after World War One novel following the life of Natalia Faber. After discovering that the man who died on a train was her father, her life becomes unintentionally twined with the doctor on the train who attempted to save her father. The book follows Natalia from t
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book a bit slow to get into, so much so that I set it aside for a few months! I gave it a good go on the second attempt and am glad that I did. There are many things to like about this book. I enjoyed exploring Eastern Europe in the interwar and war years, I found myself looking up art and books that are mentioned and I really liked the characters, Rozalia being my favourite! However there are quite a few issues. The pacing of it is all over the place. Natalia's childhood goes on to ...more
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Born in Tofino, British Columbia and raised in British Columbia and Alberta, Windley's debut short story collection, Visible Light (1993) won the 1993 Bumbershoot Award, and was nominated for the 1993 Governor General's Award for English Fiction and the 1994 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.

She followed in 1998 with her first novel, Breathing Underwater. In 2002, Windley won a Western Magazine Award for

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