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Vienna Prelude (2005)

Vienna Prelude (2005)
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Rating
4.28 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
1414301073 (ISBN13: 9781414301075)
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English
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publisher
tyndale house publishers
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Vienna Prelude (2005)
Vienna Prelude (2005)

About book: I stepped out of our car at the rest stop on the long drive from Sacramento to LA. The music playing in front of the MacDonald’s was so light, so happy, focused on love and feelings. But suddenly it all seemed so frivolous. People milled in and out of the glass doors, wandered to and from their hot, sticky vehicles. They all seemed to blissfully unaware. Didn’t they understand the deeper things in life? Was it just all about themselves?You see, I’d just read a stirring chapter in Vienna Prelude. And to me at that moment, I was walking among the everyday folk in America and Great Britain, among the kind of people who figured that anything that was not New York or London wasn’t worth a thought about. I felt like John Murphy, from the story, who’d despaired at the isolationist attitude running through the Allies. They didn’t know a Holocaust was coming, and did they care? Only the few, exiled Churchill and beaten Eden, saw what we know now.But it was this book which gave me this perspective. It was this piece of fiction that spoke fact like I’ve never felt it before. There are many times in this book where I’ve cried, where I’ve been enlightened, where I have joyed or sorrowed in events so real and poignant. It is not a book of mere entertainment. It is a book to make you grow and understand. What it teaches ranges from the political to the spiritual. From this book, I’ve learned and understood the political feelings before the war. I’ve learned how people could crowd the streets to cheer Hitler. I’ve learned how one could hope in a place like Dachau, I’ve learned how the danger of isolationism can lead to another Holocaust. I’ve learned how small a person could feel when he is living in times like the late 1930s, when he knows what is coming, but can do nothing to stop its evil advance. And I’ve placed a greater meaning to the Christian idea of “hoping in the Lord.” Hope is such a little thing to people like us who are financially and politically secure, but to those people, hope was something tangible. My perspective has been shifted so I can see and appreciate the deeper things by seeing myself in their shoes and asking, how would they see this?In critique, the style of the writing is perfect, vocabulary changes from character to character, and one reads it as though it were a movie. The narrative was a little heavy, at first, as Thoene gave us backstory and background. Around 70-80 pages into the story, things begin to really get moving, and from there, it doesn’t stop much. Amazingly, there is no long lull in the middle that has come to every other story I’ve read. Thoene does a marvelous job of pacing, mixing humor, irony, and tragedy in a rich, complex blend of perfect poignancy.Vienna Prelude has left me with images and scenes that I’d want to remember all of my life. So many are powerful, so many have such meaning and purpose. I’ve truly learned so much, experienced so much, felt and understood so much that I could never have gained from mere history books alone. Richness and depth are my criteria for beauty, and Vienna Prelude is beautiful indeed.“Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan” (JS Bach)What God has done is rightly done.

This is the tale of a Christian German violinist living in Vienna who finds her family torn apart by the rise of the Nazis in the years leading up to WWII. Her father is a German Jew who is a Christian and a war hero; her mother is a concert pianist from Vienna. Now Elisa is living and working in Vienna, safely (or so she thinks) sheltered from the trouble in Germany. This illusion is shattered when Hitler's Nazis increase pressure on the Austrian government and imprison her father before he can leave Germany. Elisa and her family are pulled into the middle of the crisis and she has to learn to rely on God for her help, believing that He alone is the protector of the innocents.I saw this series in the library and decided to check it out. I've always been obsessed with WWII history and this was right up my ally. I enjoyed and appreciated the level of historical research that went into this story. Every page was steeped with it and I can see how it could be preferred over the usual dry text of a classroom. I was very happy to discover that this book covers the rise of Hitler's power and how he took over Austria--two often-ignored aspects of WWII history that could teach us a lot about the minds and methods of evil but powerful people.I will admit that in a couple of chapters (but not really often for the book as a whole) the history made the action of the story drag. However, I can't see how any of it could have been removed from the story without draining it of its richness.I will most likely be reading the next one soon, but I want to get to a few other books on my reading list, first. This book took a long time to read (I am a fast reader but this one is nearly 2x the length of the average bestseller), but it isn't torture. Quite the contrary. It is engaging and also enlightening. If we can't see similar patterns developing in today's political landscape, we are blind.I heartily recommend it!
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Reviews
Pamela
Sorry, but I won't read any more of this series. A lot of people love this, but it wasn't for me. It was overwritten to the point of ho-hum--put it on the nightstand to ensure falling asleep. The historical background was accurate but only served to lengthen a book that was unsatisfying in plot--with a few unrealistic coincidences. The basic premise of the book was good, but the main characters were perfectly plastic. For better writing and a much more gripping story, stick to SARAH'S KEY or something similar.
Kasey Begg
This book can be slow at times, but I kept reading because there was always something about it that made you need to know what happened next. Since there are so many books about people's lives during World War II, it was nice to read something about how it was for people in the "prelude" before it started. This book uses real names and people involved in politics at the time and gives lots of information about the situation and feelings between European countries. The two main characters are an American journalist, John Murphy, and a Jewish violinist, Elisa Lindheim. Because of all the changes happening in Europe they are both forced into difficult situations and have to make crucial decisions regarding themselves, their jobs, and their families. Lots of crazy things happen and the book does a good job depicting the internal struggles of the characters. One thing I wish was different is that I wish the authors had made some of the political characters more prominent or told us more about their lives so that when it was necessary to describe political interactions there would've been more personal interest.
Alana
It's been years since I first read anything in this series, and I remember enjoying it very much as a young adult. On a re-read the romantic aspects of it make me roll my eyes a bit, but the rest of it, the intrigue, the fear of the unknown, the political watchfulness, all captivate the attention. Reading it as an adult, also, allows me to now understand more of the deep feelings of family, of the unrighteousness of someone's entire life being ripped away from them simply for not having the right parentage, and the evil that can grow "when good men do nothing." Back then, I would be pleading with Elisa to get out while she still can! Now, knowing it MATTERS when people do what's right, even at a cost, maybe ESPECIALLY at a cost, I can only hope that if I was ever faced with such life and death decisions, especially when they affect someone else, that I would have the courage to do what's right.3.5/5
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