A sweeping tale of love and friendship, for readers of Suite Francaise, The Reader, and The Imposter Bride.
Clara Herzog is a privileged, intelligent, and thoughtful young woman whose world is changed forever when 1930s Vienna is swept up by the dark prelude of the Second World War. The cavalry officer she married in spite of her family's objections is soon called away to the thick of the conflict, and it falls to Clara, as to so many mothers, wives, sisters, and sweethearts through the centuries, to stay at home to provide and protect.
Through the war, its aftermath, and into the present, Clara must make choices and take risks that are as heroic and life-altering as any that men make in battle. She is an unforgettable character, and this is an unforgettable novel about family bonds and women's deep friendships, about courage and the love that can endure even in unimaginable times. - (Random House, Inc.)
*Starred Review* Clara is studying in Vienna when she meets her Albert on the eve of WWII. A student of philosophy, she spends her school days being awakened in classes with greats such as Freud and Wittgenstein and her nights attending meetings of political activists. Youthful exuberance meets harsh reality, however, when shortly after her graduation and marriage, their country is torn by war and her life thrown into turmoil. With Albert away at the front, Clara faces the difficult landscape of Nazi-occupied Austria alone, raising their children and caring for friends and neighbors as best she can. She encounters heartbreaking difficulties and is forced to make onerous decisions through the long years of war and the following recovery. Told in flashbacks after Albert's death decades later, Clara's tale is part love story, part tribute to the women and families left behind and the terrible hardships they faced with great dignity during the war. Palka weaves an intimate tapestry of the Austrian home front and the philosophies and mind-sets of the time. Unflinching in its realism yet devoid of sensationalism, Clara showcases Palka's great attention to detail, which enhances an already beautiful and deeply moving story of hope, love, and triumph. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.