Tristi's Reviews > The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz by G.G. Vandagriff
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Mar 24, 2009

really liked it

When I first received my copy of “The Last Waltz” in the mail, I was a little intimidated by its size. This bad boy comes in at 591 pages and one deftly placed blow would stop a midnight marauder in his tracks. But once I opened the covers, I was hooked and the size didn’t matter so much—in fact, it meant more story to enjoy.

The first thing that attracted me to the story is the fact that it’s set during World War I. We don’t see a lot of fiction based on this era—World War II gets most of the attention in that regard. I also appreciated that the book was set in Austria, a country that is sometimes overlooked in the shadow of Germany’s history. And the third thing … well, I’m going to be blatantly honest. I’m not much of a romance reader, but this book had my heart going pitty-pat on more than one occasion.

We begin the book with nineteen-year-old Amalia, a girl born into the aristocracy, engaged to Eberhard von Waldburg, a Prussian baron. He has decided to enlist in the army and wants to call off their engagement, knowing war is eminent, and fearing he will be killed. She’s hurt and outraged, believing herself to be in love with him, but he tells her that someday, she’ll know what it means to truly be in love, and she’ll realize that her feelings for him were just an infatuation. This doesn’t soften the blow of his leaving, but soon she has the chance to realize what he meant, when Andrzej, a charming and enigmatic Polish doctor, comes into her life.

Their chemistry is instant, but she badly wants to avoid the scandal of her broken engagement to Eberhard seeming to come so soon before an engagement to another man. She puts Andrzej off, believing it to be for the best, but when he finds out she’s no longer engaged, and has been delaying him, his feelings are hurt and he lashes out at her in turn.

This sends both of their lives into a spiral. They each make decisions, some for good and some for ill, as fate continues to bring them together across the years. We see World War I through their eyes, and later, see the groundwork laid for World War II. I can only hope there is a sequel that will take us through that momentous event as well.

Through it all, we see Amalia grow up from the idealistic teenager to the mature woman who still wants to see the world made a fair place. She does the best she can with her circumstances, which are far from ideal, and we feel every bit of anguish she experiences as she copes with death, insanity, misplaced trust, misplaced mistrust, and a passion that lives in her heart, even though she tries time and time again to push it down.

I really liked this book. The history was woven in beautifully as we see the characters react to it. We didn’t jolt out of the story to hear rehearsed historical facts and figures – something that always drives me nuts when I’m reading a historical fiction. I felt connected to the characters and just about ate my liver out when Amalia … well, I’ll let you read the book for yourself and see if your liver comes out of it unscathed. I’ll just say, the book held me captive all afternoon and I congratulate author GG Vandagriff on a well-written, well-researched novel that deserves rich praise.

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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by Sabine (new)

Sabine So I read The Authorian Omen and lets just say, I had a really hard time with it. How would you say this one compares to her other books?

Tristi This is my favorite of her books. I truly enjoyed it.

message 3: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann our library here just has the book on order still, how do you buy/find books faster? Are there publisher's lists I can be put on for the latest ones?

Tristi I'm a media reviewer and receive advance copies from several authors/publishers. You could write to each of the publishing houses and let them know you'd be willing to do reviews in exchange for advance copies.

message 5: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann Tristi wrote: "I'm a media reviewer and receive advance copies from several authors/publishers. You could write to each of the publishing houses and let them know you'd be willing to do reviews in exchange for a..."

good idea! How fast do I need to read the books they send? Will they pay you for opinions/reviews?

Tristi Unless you're writing for a company that pays for content, you will not be monetarily reimbursed for reviews. As far as how soon they want the reviews goes, that will be between you and them.

message 7: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann great. thanks so much

message 8: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Wow, this sounds good, Tristi you give the such great reviews. Thanks!!!

Tristi It is good, Jenny. I really think you'll like it!

message 10: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann Tristi wrote: "It is good, Jenny. I really think you'll like it!"

I really liked this one, too. Couldn't put it down.

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