I miss Julia.
Sometimes my need to know the “rest of the story” competes with not wanting to let the main character go by finishing a book.
I can be almost finished with a book but find that I have to force myself to read the final chapter.
This is the case with Julia, the main character in Julia’s Violinist.
This is a beautifully written and compelling historical novel from author Anneli Purchase.*
Julia’s story begins in 1932 in Saaz, Neusattl in the Sudetenland, a part of Czechoslovakia.
Sudetenland “ the German name (used in English in the first half of the 20th century) to refer to those northern, southern, and western areas of Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by ethnic German speakers, specifically the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and those parts of Czech Silesia located within Czechoslovakia, since they were part of Austria until the end of World War I.
“The word “Sudetenland” did not come into existence until the early 20th century and did not come to prominence until after the First World War, when the German-dominated Austria-Hungary was dismembered and the Sudeten Germans found themselves living in the new country of Czechoslovakia. The Sudeten crisis of 1938 was provoked by the demands of Nazi Germany that the Sudetenland be annexed to Germany, which in fact took place after the later infamous Munich Agreement. Part of the borderland was invaded and annexed by Poland. When Czechoslovakia was reconstituted after the Second World War, the Sudeten Germans were largely expelled, and the region today is inhabited almost exclusively by Czech speakers.”
An Ordinary Life
Like most people in any country, Julia looks forward to a normal life.
She is a young woman being courted, riding her bike to work, and singing in the choir while living with her parents in their tiny village.
It is bittersweet to read about her innocent life knowing the hardships that war would bring to Europe.
Julia’s story is one of courage in the face of desperation and the appalling circumstances of war and its aftermath.
Julia, as a German, was on the wrong side of the war.
In telling Julia’s story, the author honors the story of her mother who was relocated to Germany after the WWII from the Sudetenland.
In reading this story, the reader comes to understand and appreciate that many ordinary Germans were victims also of Hitler’s brutal regime.
Ordinary people become pawns.
“I am young, I am twenty years of age; but I know nothing of life except despair, death, fear, and the combination of completely mindless superficiality with an abyss of suffering. I see people being driven against one another, and silently, uncomprehendingly, foolishly, obediently and innocently killing one another. I see the best brains in the world inventing weapons and words to make the whole process that much more sophisticated and long-lasting. And watching this with me are all my contemporaries, here and on the other side, all over the world – my whole generation is experiencing this with me. What would our fathers do if one day we rose up and confronted them, and called them to account? What do they expect from us when a time comes in which there is no more war? For years our occupation has been killing – that was the first experience we had. Our knowledge is limited to death. What will happen afterwards? And what can possibly become of us?” (pg. 180) All Quiet on the Western Front
Beautiful love story that transcends the ravages of war.
This book tells the story of Julia before and after WWII.
It opened my eyes to a different group of people whose lives were upended by Nazi Germany.
The strength of women and the strength of love fill the pages.
I recommend this to anyone interested in WWII history recounted as an enduring love story. `My review for Amazon.
“The lovely Julia has it all—a seemingly perfect life. The aftermath of war in Europe changes all that. Widowed and homeless, Julia and her two small children become refugees in Germany. As she tries to rebuild her life, Julia becomes an immigrant and in the new country is drawn into a love triangle. New flames or old flames—both can burn and destroy.” Amazon description