29 May 2013

Five Stars for “Sebastian” and “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”

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Both of my books reviewed on Uk Amazon by a text book editor, and both with 5 stars: The Luck of the Weissensteiners - cover 5.0 out of 5 stars

The Luck of the Weissensteiners, 29 May 2013 This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

This is an extraordinarily good read which is both enjoyable and instructive. It captures the predicaments of people who are displaced by war, prejudice and social hostilities with great insight. The characterisation is both finely drawn and entirely believable. The characters’ experiences are set in context: the geographical and historic backgrounds are very carefully researched and accurately described. The background and the story are skillfully intertwined to make the storyline illuminating and compelling. The story is full of interest and the reader identifies readily with the characters in a most enjoyable way. At the same time we are learning about how those times really were, with all their horror but also with hope for the future and heroic actions that inspire. Strongly recommended for anyone who likes their fiction in the historical context.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Sebastian, 29 May 2013 This review is from: Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

Sebastian is the second the Three Nations Trilogy; the first book, The Luck of the Weissensteiners, was set in the 1930s and World War 2. Sebastian opens in 1913 and follows him and his family through World War 1 and into the post-war period. Both books have as their themes, identity, nationality and borders. Set as they are in central and eastern Europe, they highlight the instability of life there in the first half ot the 20th century, the rapid shifts and power struggles and the extreme effects on individuals who are facing serious difficulties in holding onto a normal life of any kind. Eastern Europe was truly a melting pot at that time. Fischer has described the background wonderfully well and very accurately but he never becomes tedious. As with the Weissensteiners, deft characterisation ensures that the reader empathises with each individual family member. The book explores the reactions of the characters to extreme duress and shows how they may err but also how they retain a capacity for helping each other and doing the right thing. The author really appreciates the social pressures of the early 20th century: the adoption of more liberal attitudes since that time can obscure our view of the way life was then, but this book is brilliantly and clearly set in the real social scene of the time. The storyline starts quite slowly but quickly gathers pace. This makes it a very good read and leaves the reader with a strong sense of the realities of the period. Comment Comment | Permalink

19 May 2013

8 Five Star Reviews for “Sebastian”

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sebastian bookThe strength of this author lies in the choice of his characters, a large ensemble cast around the title character Sebastian. Each of them seems to represent a different class, a social or an ethnic group of the melting pot that is the Habsburg Vienna of 1913. The family shop with its wide selection of goods and changing staff serves almost as the perfect symbol for the forced Austro-Hungarian state that has run its cause. With much research gone into the setting Fischer however focuses more on the human side of his characters and their conflicts. As before, he never points the finger or favours one group in particular but manages to give a great and authentic feel of the times. Self-doubt and a fear of the future oozes out of most his characters, particularly the physically fragile Sebastian and his family. It seems the old generation is holding on to what they know and what is slipping through their fingers; the young ones are unsure how to be themselves in a modern world where old values are becoming meaningless and their own initiative and expertise will be needed. With a hint of irony and a love for sentiment and nostalgia Fischer portrays the stubborn heroes, the errant and self-defeating and often silly ways in which the characters trod along in their search for happiness, be that seances, amateur psycho-analysis or risking all for a piece of the past. This second part of his trilogy is less intense in terms of historic background and has an easier flow of writing. Greatly evolved Fischer gently shows the falling apart of the old order, showing some of the innocence of the time. After having first written a book about the brutal times that follow this is a daring concept that fortunately paid off. Just like the leg amputated Sebastian has to learn to walk through life with what he has left, so will the new shrunken state of Austria need to find a new stance in a changing Europe. Having read in an interview that the story is based on his own grandfather makes the story all the more touching and a small piece of history come alive.

 

when I stumble upon a gem like Fischer, I become a pretty fanatical fan. Character pieces are underrated and under appreciated in this world, and Fischer so brilliantly reminds us why the classic literary novels are, in fact, classics. The characterizations in this book are amazing. Not just Sebastian, either, but every single person making an appearance in this book has their own, rich, separate lives. I lost myself instantly in the description and the plot. The journey was swift, but it was rich and i could see the streets in my head. I could see the time period so richly, and with every page my heart went out, terrified for the worst and hoping for the best…. writers as brilliant as Fischer, who brings back that amazing story-telling without having to give their characters unrealistic beauty and superhuman abilities. … Fischer reminds us that everyone is flawed, but it’s because of that, that we are such a beautiful species.

 

 … a marvellous and well-crafted story … that takes twists and turns along with the plots and subplots to help define a character that goes from being weak to growing an inner strength and beauty. Sebastian’s story is the story of his family, the women who enter his life and the war that surrounds and defines them all. …Sebastian’s story is a metaphor for lives thrown into turmoil because of war and what war does to individuals separately and as citizens. It is a story of how the human condition and stresses become heightened and exaggerated when threatened by personal and geographic political evils. This is a story of great compassion and selfishness, of jealousy and love, of loss and risking, of having material and losing it all, of families and finding out what is important, of loyalty and betrayal. It is a story that runs deep in all of us, with emotions displaying what it is to be human. It is a story of every man and every woman with themes and messages that any reader can relate to, right down to the surprise and unexpected ending, which is how we do live our lives, after all is said and done. This intelligently and sensitively crafted story pulls the reader in, pulls at our heart strings, and keeps us glued to the page, long after the last one is closed, and the memory of Sebastian lingers, one that won’t be easily or readily forgotten. I loved Sebastian.

 

  …exceptional account of this kids life … This is one book I would recommend to anyone that likes to read historical fiction. I had previously read, “The Luck of the Weissensteiners,” and this story is definitely showing the development of his writing skills. He’s becoming quite good I feel. ***** In essesance this book is about prophecies and personal beliefs that hinders and shape our characters in ways unexpected. Self-fulfilling prophecies makes Sebastian loose his girlfriend and unborn child? His own family has little to do with this particular set of events but in their own way, with their own beliefs they set events in motion! Most of this book is about growth, and the ending was filled with hope! I kept wondering if these peoples lives would have turned out better if their inner dialogues and belief systems were positive instead of paranoid and negative! What I liked best? The way the story made me think and the setting in Vienna that gave me a glimpse into unexplored territory for me.

 

Sebastian is about the trials and tribulations of one family, about loyalty, about human failings, and the inner strength it takes to get through difficult times. The author weaves a clever tale using subplots and character development to include the women who come and go in Sebastian’s life and the approaching war that defines the time period … with his textured storyline and vivid characters … a true gift from a superb author.

 

Sebastian takes the reader through a wide variety of characters that grow, learn and evolve as the story unfolds. The historical background is masterfully woven to set the reader in the time frame. The story has very entertaining metaphysical aspects, historical flow and a wide range of the universal feeling of love. Mr. Fischer secures a place with this second book as a great story teller who knows how to tug at our heartstrings while taking us in a journey before during and after WWI. On a personal note I absolutely loved the way he tied everything up in the uplifting ending.

 

just one more page then chapters later I was still reading. The characters make you you feel what they are living through and the depths of their characters. Descriptions of Lvov so well written that I could see places that were described. I see its a Trilogy and can’t wait for the next book.

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27 Apr 2013

Two 5 Star Reviews for The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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I was enthralled by this story, “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” offered so many emotions. While I read this story it felt more like I was having the story read to me, I could hear the pain and suffering that Greta and her family went through in the the authors words. How difficult life for them was no matter what they tried to do. Having to change their names, their ethnic background, religion everything just for acceptance and safety/freedom.Having to separate from one another and sacrifice so much just for them to try and find safety. While along t he way they found few people that were willing to over look things and help them, but also came across many that would just a soon turn them in and hope that that doing so would help themselves. This story tells the tales of Pre-Holocaust leading up to the end of WWII.Christoph Fischer did an amazing job on telling this story, and did an outstanding job reaching so much history. So many times while I read I cried, got angry and even laughed. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves a little history. Thank you Christoph Fischer for giving me a little more insight as to what history has to offer.

5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic saga!, 27 April 2013
This review is from: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)

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 times. It was almost as if I were immersed in a time bubble. I was there! Everything one can imagine being in a historical romance, set amid the terror of the Nazi occupation of Europe, and its immediate aftermath, appears in this book. All I can say is this: get yourself a copy because this guy can write!

23 Apr 2013

First Review for Sebastian

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A week before being released Sebastian has got its first review on Goodreads 

sebastian book

 

What a marvelous and well-crafted story Christoph Fischer’s Sebastian is. The story starts with a young sixteen-year-old boy, Sebastian, receiving an amputation to his leg for an infection, from a rusty nail, that went untreated, due to fear of doctors and needles. The reader is instantly drawn in to this protagonist and his mother, Vera, as well as the medical situation that lingers throughout the story that takes twists and turns along with the plots and subplots to help define a character that goes from being weak to growing an inner strength and beauty. Sebastian’s story is the story of his family, the women who enter his life and the war that surrounds and defines them all. The scenes begin with Sebastian living in a dwelling that houses the grocery store his father Franz works in, that was owned by his father, Oscar, (also Sebastian’s best friend). Also living with them is Oscar’s wife Rebecca who is mostly bed ridden with a bad back, his mother Vera who has a weakened condition. Sebastian is in and out of the hospital with complications from problematic healing leg. Because of the strain on the family workload help is needed and enters a beautiful 18-year-old Ingeborg who becomes infatuated with Franz to complicate matters and ends up with her being replaced by Eva who Sebastian has a crush on as he begins to come into maturity and is sexual hormones awaken. Eva has her own secret that unfolds in a fascinating way opening to a new hire, Margit and her mother, Peroska. When Concurrent with Sebastian becoming involved with Margit his mother, Vera, connects up with friends who play key roles in throwing twists and turns into the story, which involve mystical aspects, séances and connecting with the afterlife. A revelation and slip of communication sends all their lives into chaos and the war in the backdrop takes center stage as the story moves along poignantly and engaging the reader with great depth. This is a time of great turmoil for people of Jewish faith, where divides are drawn with nations geography being molded and remolded, threatening to unsettle and disrupt millions of peoples. Sebastian’s story is a metaphor for lives thrown into turmoil because of war and what war does to individuals separately and as citizens. It is a story of how the human condition and stresses become heightened and exaggerated when threatened by personal and geographic political evils. This is a story of great compassion and selfishness, of jealousy and love, of loss and risking, of having material and losing it all, of families and finding out what is important, of loyalty and betrayal. It is a story that runs deep in all of us, with emotions displaying what it is to be human. It is a story of every man and every woman with themes and messages that any reader can relate to, right down to the surprise and unexpected ending, which is how we do live our lives, after all is said and done. This intelligently and sensitively crafted story pulls the reader in, pulls at our heart strings, and keeps us glued to the page, long after the last one is closed, and the memory of Sebastian lingers, one that won’t be easily or readily forgotten. I loved Sebastian.

Thanks Paulette for this wonderful and kind review! Coming from an amazing author like yourself this is a huge honour.

13 Mar 2013

Guest book highlight: “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” & “Sebastian” by Christoph Fischer

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Guest book highlight: “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” & “Sebastian” by Christoph Fischer

the luck book
 Plot of “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” 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 into life with the Winkelmeier clan. The political climate and slow disintegration of the multi-cultural society in Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and their families. The story follows their lot through the war with its torment, destruction and its unpredictability – and the equally hard times after. From the moment that Greta Weissensteiner enters the bookstore where Wilhelm Winkelmeier works, and entrances him with her good looks and serious ways, I was hooked. But this is no ordinary romance; in fact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story.
What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance Christoph Fischer gives his readers to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. Set in the fascinating area of Bratislava, this is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck. I cared about every one of this novel’s characters and continued to think about them long after I’d finished reading.

sebastian book

Plot of “Sebastian”:

This is the forthcoming second book by Christoph Fischer: Sebastian is the story of a young man in 1913 Vienna who has to come to terms with the amputation of his leg just before World War I. When his father is drafted to fight he has to step up and manage the family grocery store through the hard times, bad fortunes and changes of personnel. Vienna is the capital of a multi-cultural and multi-religious, liberal society that is on the verge of collapsing into several split nations, a development accelerated by the war. Against this backdrop Sebastian is finding himself and his own place in life.

What reviewers say:

… a story of the strength of the human spirit … survival and hope … I will not forget this read for a while to come.
This is a well-crafted work of literature. It makes excellent and proper use of language. The word choice and sentence structure used is truly inspired, and shows artistry … I was barely into this book and I felt that I was reading a work that had been published out of its era, as though it were a classic work, only discovered and released in the modern age. I would have believed this book was written in the time it was set in. The themes the author chose to addressed, from classism and anti-Semitism to religious bias, mental illness, and sexual orientation, were all well presented in plot, and nothing felt forced or even slightly out of place. I was, and still am amazed at the quality of craftsmanship shown in the storytelling. I expected a work of fiction. This was a work of art.
If you enjoy well drawn characters whose lives and choices so deftly represent the themes of a book, The Luck of the Weissensteiners provides a rich read. In some ways, this book reminds me of classics I read long ago like The Canterbury Tales, or even The Odyssey, due to the diversity of personalities and the theme of journeys. … we see a cross section of humanity. Through their eyes and reactions, we can appreciate the full range of real outcomes and experiences, happy to sad or shocking, that occurred to real individuals during this era. By the way, the title of the book was an outstanding choice.
It seems paradoxical that a book chronicling hatred, fear, loss and death can be uplifting, but The Luck of the Weissensteiners left me on a high. This is a story about the best human qualities: love, generosity, trust, faith and hope. Christoph Fischer has brilliantly combined emotive fiction with detailed, historical facts to create a powerful and engrossing story. Although I finished reading it five days ago I’m still affected by its message and still charmed by many of its characters.
The Weissensteiners is an intellectual achievement and a lesson in historical perspective, as we are reminded that history is just that, a story told from a human point of view. In any given period of time, there are as many stories as there are participants, along with many converging sensibilities. … this is decidedly not another rendition of the holocaust. The novel illustrates how the destruction of war rained down on both Jews and non-Jews, who were part of the same community, often got along quite well and even intermarried This is not a book that you will read and immediately forget. The effects of it will linger on, and that is the mark of a truly talented author.
For the whole time reading this I kept thinking to myself that every single bit of this book is written as thou the writer has actually been there, when all of this was happening. I truly admire his work and ability to research everything in such details, and this is a true work of art … this book has not lost my attention for one second, and I truly can tell that I can’t wait for book 2.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is the tale of a family. But it is also a tale about us. About some of us being evil, some of us cowards, some of us brave, but most of us innately good. Francis Bacon said some books are to be tasted, some to be swallowed… The Luck of the Weissensteiners is to be chewed and digested. I can see that the author has made a great effort to show the reader what turmoil families endured to remain in contact with their loved ones, which must have been quite some feat considering the displacement of Jews after the war had ended. Congratulations to Christoph, for what must have been many long hours researching details and information to ensure that the plight of the family was made ‘real’ to the reader.
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. Christoph Fischer pulls it off in The Luck of the Weissenteiners.
And this is no ordinary Holocaust tragedy: it is a much more subtle and far-ranging canvas than that. For Fischer is not dealing with the obvious victims of those troubled times, rather with families and individuals who were more on the periphery and therefore affected in unforeseeable ways. He makes the characters and the frightening and bewildering situations they face come vividly alive. You will find it hard to put down as you follow your favourite characters through one testing situation after another. I thoroughly recommend you read it.

About the Author

Christoph Fischer is a new author who has taken on an ambitious project of writing three historical novels set in different nations to discuss the subjects of Nations and identity. In his first instalment “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” he takes us to Slovakia in the 1930s and sheds light on complex political development while telling the story of one Jewish family from 1933 until 1946. In “Sebastian” he moves back in time to the Vienna of 1913 and tells how a different family in a different era is confronted with similar themes, albeit under less extreme circumstances. As German expat living in the UK and having family roots in Eastern Europe Fischer’s own experiences clearly add to the tone of his writing.  Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother near the border to Austria. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He soon 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 is still resident today. The “Luck of The Weissensteiners” was published in 2012 and “Sebastian” in spring 2013. They are part of the Three Nations Trilogy which he plans to complete by the end of 2013.
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10 Mar 2013

Five Star Review for Luck of the Weissensteiners

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I approached Elaine for a review on Goodreads where she has made a name for herself as one of the top reviewers. I had forgotten all about it already when yesterday her glowing and detailed 5 star review came in. I have copied and pasted the review to take out some of the story spoilers. fullbook3 Here is the link to Elaine’s blog Here is the full review (with spoilers) And here is the slightly cut review: I’m not usually one for sad stories, or historical fiction. I’m even not really one for family sagas. However, I enjoyed this book. At the beginning of the book I felt sorry for Greta, who is stuck with Wilhelm after he got her pregnant. She’s Jewish and he’s a German, but when they meet, a love of literature brings them together and he assures her that her nationality means nothing to him, even though it would to some others. After getting pregnant, Wilhelm promises to stick by her and they get married…… Normally, I don’t like long breaks in the story, or long history/background lessons during a story, but here it really works. It’s not a lecture or boring, it’s intriguing and captivating. I studied Germany and the war in high school and again in an OU course, Humanities, and never knew most of what Fischer is telling me through this story. I never knew that large factions of Jewish people saw it coming, that the writing was on the wall from as early as 1938. It’s a real eye opener, and it really gives a strong sense of anticipation, foreboding and ‘luck’ to the story. I do love the characters in this book. I love Jonah and although Johanna is a bit of a nightmare and a cow, you do get rare moments of light. When she does something, it’s always for the ‘greater good’ of her family, even if someone gets hurt or she has to feel remorse later. That’s her payment. I also like that you get to see both sides of the argument, and how easily a person who had once had no problem with Jews could have their mind changed. Wilhelm showed this well, and Johanna is constantly battling conflicting feelings against the Jewish people. I know someone, a German, who was conscripted into the army back then, even though he, like Egon and Gunter, had no issues with the Jews, and how, like Gunter, it wasn’t possible to say no without some ill effect. I also like how Egon and Gunter are considered inferior and weak by their families but its their intellect that gains them pride and praise in the army. It’s nice to see them getting some attention and approval after being practically abandoned and neglected by their families. I especially love little Wilma. She’s so fragile and you just want to wrap her up and protect her from life…….I particularly enjoy Edith and Esther, they’re so much fun. I enjoy the characters……… Freddie and even the old German women who are complete cows. They are real and honest and brutal sometimes, but believable. I especially loved Joschka. He was so sweet and lonely. You tend to forget that non Jewish people got caught up in the camps and that, besides hating Jews, the Nazis hated anyone who was different, whether that be religiously, politically, geographically or through sexual orientation. Edith, Esther and Joschka were both in danger for their sexuality, and it’s heartbreaking to hear Joschka’s story. ………a true testament to how people are people, humans are humans and it doesn’t matter about the colour of their skin, their accent, or their religious beliefs. Family are family. Friends are friends no matter what. I really loved the Epilogue….. Needless to say that I cried at the end. I held out hope enough to stop myself until it was over. I find it completely perfect…. and got a conclusion to the story. I really look forward to reading more from this author. Thank you Elaine once more for taking the time for such a in depth review.

27 Feb 2013

Interviewed by Paulette Mahurin

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A great honour for me today. Paulette Mahurin, the award sweeping author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, has featured me on her own blog. Thank you Paulette for your generous support. Coming from a writer like yourself it means a lot. Christoph Fischer
http://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/meet-the-very-talented-christoph-fischer-author-of-the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners/

Meet the very talented Christoph Fischer, author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

  Welcome Christoph Fischer, Author of The Luck of the Weissensteiners. I’m thrilled to have you here and ask a few questions from this great read, one of my favorites of 2012. Below is our interview, my review and some of his readers showing off the book. (Dog lovers don’t miss the photos of his girls) christoph coverchristoph photo   Your book has a title that implies a lucky family. Why did you choose this in the setting of Nazi Germany?   It was during writing that the title came to me and that was when the theme of ‘luck’ as one of the main issues of the book emerged. In war and in persecution, naked survival is already undoubtedly luck, but it is more complicated than that – as the stories of some of my characters hopefully will show. Under extreme circumstances, such as the Nazi period in Germany, many succumb to their scars, whereas others are lucky enough to survive in their humanity. Only by living through their trials with my characters during the process of writing did these things come clear to me.   What were the seeds of inspiration for you to write this story?   The seed of inspiration was a family anecdote about my grandparents, whose story I initially meant to tell. I never met my grandfather and my grandmother died when I was young. My aunt and my father told me different stories about the family history as well, and so my imagination was free to run wild about their marriage and their lives. I am sorry I cannot say more but I don’t want to give away any of the later plot.    Do you have any personal history or connection with this time and autocrities that went into the story?   My grandparents lived in Czechoslovakia before and during the war as part of the minority group of Germans who gave Hitler the excuse to invade. I know nothing about their political affiliation during that time. My father had to join the Hitler Youth – as every boy had to do – and he only said how scared he was to be punished for mistaking left for right when they had to march. After the war, the family was expelled from the country and spent many months in refugee camps in occupied Germany before finally settling. They lost their homes but fared much better than others in that time.   You started it with a love story but then you took the love story to an interesting place. Without spoiling the story what were your thoughts behind how you presented this.   The story developed naturally in the way it did. When writing the chapters, I sat down without knowing ever exactly what would happen. My imagination of how everyone would react to the events in the book took my characters on their individual paths; they were naughty characters who would not do as I had sometimes intended. I often did not understand their actions and only during the next re-write did their motives become clearer to me. I think I let them develop freely to show that they fell victim to their circumstances and their feelings.   There are a lot of really interesting characters in your story, some courageous and some evil and cowardly. Who do you relate with the most and why?   That is very difficult to answer. Whilst writing, at some point I identified with almost all of them and many lines in their dialogue would come straight from my own mouth. I would like to be like Jonah, Greta’s lovely and witty father; have some qualities of the generous Countess, a patron of the arts; or the selfless Alma, the help in the weaving business. On the other hand, I can be as moody as the Dutch painter Visser and even as self-involved as the wicked but ambiguous farmer’s wife Johanna.   What was the most shocking thing you learned while researching your book? How did you incorporate that into your story?   Fortunately nothing new that I learnt during my research was as shocking as the horror stories we already know about the holocaust. That aside, I was surprised to find many details and individual stories of suffering on a different scale. I was lost for choice which ones to choose and to incorporate and so I let ‘luck’ choose for me. Army movements, local uprisings and the timing of political measures could change lives overnight. Just as I had ‘saved’ my characters in one chapter, the next page brought new challenges.   Is there a question about your book you would love to be asked? If so, what is it?   Yes, the question is: Why are you writing a story about Jews when you are a descendant of Sudeten Germans who have lost all their land and possessions after the war?   What’s the answer? My heart certainly goes out to the poor innocent citizens who were drawn into Hitler’s vicious politics and had nothing to do with him; I grieve for their loss of home and sense of belonging, for the injustices that they had to suffer. But the story of that War belongs to the victims: Jews, Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals and so on. I could not bring myself to take the main focus at least away from that group. They are there but in minor roles. In Germany, there are still groups of descendants of these expelled Germans who lobby for retribution and a return of their former properties. My father publicly distanced himself from these people and taught me to look forward and not to try to waste my time trying to reverse history and reconstruct a past that is gone.   What would you like to say to your readers? Thank you for taking the time to read this interview and the works of independent authors. Without the publicity of established Publishers, we rely on your support and appreciate it very much. (From Paulette: Those were great answers and it helps to broaden the dept of all that you put into writing this very remarkable story. Thank you so much!) My Review: 5* 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 dark themes of our human shadow, where love turns to distrust and betrayal. This is a story of intolerance at its worst, but is also a story of the strength of the human spirit to help and do good at great risk. While parts were too overly narrative for my taste the story and oppression of the time were never lost on the read, which kept me involved in this story, that by the time I was half way into the story I wanted to take time off to sit and finish it, to find out what happened to all the characters in their struggle to escape and survive. Sadly, like all of life there is much sorrow and loss, reality, but there is also survival and hope. I will not forget this read for a while to come. Links: (provide all your links here – anything you want me to post) Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1361906924&sr=1-1&keywords=luck+of+the+weissensteiners Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361907092&sr=8-1 Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/ Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheLuckOfTheWeissensteiners?ref=hl http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl  dog book 3dog reading bookdog book 2on the beach w:dog

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About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for “gross indecency” under Britian’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes’ imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs— Max and Bella. She practices women’s health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)

25 Feb 2013

More praise for The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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Another 5 stars, thank you Graham Sharpe http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/545354189 If you’ve read the blurb and any of the other reviews then you’ll already know that this is a story about the Weissensteiner family and their troubled journey through the Second World War. I’m not usually drawn to stories like this because I think I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen. A Jewish family, Hitler’s revolting regime and the horrors of the Holocaust can only have one dire outcome. It’s a bit like watching a film about the Titanic – you know the ship’s going to sink so why put yourself through it. I was so wrong to make this assumption. It seems paradoxical that a book chronicling hatred, fear, loss and death can be uplifting, but The Luck of the Weissensteiners left me on a high. This is a story about the best human qualities: love, generosity, trust, faith and hope. Christoph Fischer has brilliantly combined emotive fiction with detailed, historical facts to create a powerful and engrossing story. Although I finished reading it five days ago I’m still affected by its message and still charmed by many of its characters. I work regular nightshifts and my sleep is precious, but this book often kept me up well past my bedtime.

23 Feb 2013

Wonderful review of The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/533119705
The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an intellectual achievement and a lesson in historical perspective, as we are reminded that history is just that, a story told from a human point of view. In any given period of time, there are as many stories as there are participants, along with many converging sensibilities.

The setting is Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, 1933. We follow along with the Weissensteiner family on an epic journey, from the pre-WWII years to the end of the war, with an epilogue culminating during the fall of the Berlin wall. They are not an insular family, and have a great many friends and acquaintances that move in and out of the story line.

Greta and her family are Jewish, but this is decidedly not another rendition of the holocaust. The novel illustrates how the destruction of war rained down on both Jews and non-Jews, who were part of the same community, often got along quite well and even intermarried. We learn that, at least in Bratislava, many non-Jews detested the Nazi’s, and quietly tried to hide a Jewish friend or two, if they could manage without being discovered. Through no fault of their own, they too suffered terrible hardships, hunger and loss of property, sickness and death.

I think we readers are accustomed to accounts of WWII that portray the Jews as victims, and the non-Jews as either perpetrators or uninterested people out to save their own skins, but in the Weissensteiners there is no sharp line of demarcation. Instead, we see how ordinary people were swept up in the same storm of war and tossed about by fate. Through a bit of luck, some narrowly escape destruction, only to perish later on through one mistaken move, or an arbitrary unlucky event.

The families and extended families we meet are quite large, so the novel is chock full of people. We learn many details about their lives, their thoughts and feelings, their relationships, all through the voice of an omniscient narrator. There are many historical accounts that for me, read like a history book; sometimes the narration continues along this vein when describing the intimate details of people’s lives. These long periods of narration often felt rather distant, sounding like a reporter summing up the facts.

However, throughout some chapters there was lively dialogue that made you feel as if you were traveling along with real people, evoking the emotional connection that I especially enjoy in any novel. During these times I felt anger and fear, anxiety and relief. I also came away feeling that I learned something of the history and people of the region. All in all, I strongly recommend that you read The Luck of the Weissensteiners.

17 Feb 2013

Praise for my ‘short story’

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Earlier this year I published an excerpt from “Luck of the Weissensteiners” as short story on Readwave. This short comment is just too good to keep to myself.

  • The historical genre is not something that I usually go for but this was a solidly written piece of highly entertaining mainstream fiction with compelling characters and a fast paced story. If this is typical of the authors full length works, then I’m sure they enjoy a loyal and enthusiastic readership.

The full excerpt can be found here: http://readwave.com/party-for-jonah-weissensteiner_s1704?utm_source=notification&utm_medium=email&utm_term=&utm_content=story_page&utm_campaign=new_comment Here is the beginning of the story:

Party for Jonah Weissensteiner

Bratislava 1942

The New Year’s Eve party at the manor house was once again the social event of the year. It was one of the few occasions where time seemed to have reverted to the ‘good old days of the monarchy’ during which so many of the guests had enjoyed privileges they were no longer accustomed to in the new and independent Slovakia. Many rich Hungarians had opted to stay here after the Great War hoping that it would be easier to keep their properties and money. They were concerned about the political instability of a republican Hungary where old enemies might seek retribution for the abuse of power and position but more so they feared a Bolshevik revolution. In the Czechoslovak state they had seen a tumbling of their influence at first due to the dominance of the Czech aristocracy followed by the German military leaders and their emerging Slovak ‘puppet’ politicians. The Hungarians were equally unpopular with the emerging intelligentsia and players of the Slovak society who still had their reservations against their former Magyar oppressors. To some it seemed a high price to pay for evading the threat of Communism. At the manor house ball however, all of these problems seemed forgotten or unimportant. The Countess did not tolerate heated debate or disagreement in her house. As a charitable and generous woman she was a shining example of a respectable modern Hungarian and a role model to her countrymen. The players in the current Slovak high society who had taken a shine to her also felt more positive to her countrymen. With her gift for diplomacy

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