A gripping and powerful tale of resilience and courage set in Vienna on the brink of WWII, as two members of Freud’s Circle try to keep themselves and their loved ones safe as the SS closes in.
Spring, 1938: Café Mozart in the heart of Vienna is beloved by its clientele, including cousins Mathias Kraemer and Johannes Namal. The two writers are as close as brothers. They are also members of Freud’s Circle—a unique group of the famed psychiatrist’s friends and acquaintances who once gathered regularly at the bright and airy café to talk about books and ideas over coffee and pastries. But dark days are looming.
With Hitler’s annexation of Austria, Nazi edicts governing daily life become stricter and more punitive. Now Hitler has demanded that the “hidden Jews” of Vienna be tracked down, and Freud’s Circle has been targeted. The SS aims to use old group photos to identify Jewish intellectuals and subversives. With the vise tightening around them, Mathias and Johannes’s only option appears to be hiding in plain sight, using assumed names and identities to evade detection, aware that discovery would mean consignment to a camp or execution.
Faced with stark and desperate choices, Mathias, Johannes, their families and friends all find their loyalties and courage tested in unimaginable ways. But despite betrayal, heartache and imprisonment, hope remains, and with it, the determination to keep those they love alive, and Mathias and Johannes at the same time discovering that what originally condemned them—their writing—might also be their salvation.
Vienna has now been annexed into Nazi Germany. This creates despair and apprehension! All the new laws really change the population’s perception. The fear and the thought process needed to get around the city changed Mathias and his family’s daily activities and actions. Every day is something they never imagined could happen in their quaint city.
I loved how the author used Freud throughout this tale. This just added to the authenticity. I also had a favorite character. I loved the policeman, Josef. He goes out of his way to help Mathias and his family on more than one occasion.
Why am I giving this 3 stars? Honestly, it is most likely me. I am definitely in a minority with my review. But, I am a bit tired of WWII. And I LOVE this time period but I have been overrun with books in this setting and I expect a certain amount of emotion to go with this type of book. I felt this book moved a bit too slow and it did not have the emotional effect I expected.
Need a different take on daily life in WWII…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.
I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.