Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Csardas by Diane Pearson

Csardas by Diane PearsonCsardas (pronounced CHAR-dosh) takes place in Hungary and spans over thirty years and the rise and fall of two generations. The characters endure two world wars and subsequent government changes which affect their standing in the community,their livelihoods, wealth, and eventually their very lives. Over almost 600 pages we watch the three families grow and interact, raise eyebrows, marry (or not), bear children (or not) and finally either live (or not). That's Csardas in a nutshell.

So I really liked this. I didn't feel that the story ever lagged and I was engrossed and emotionally "invested" for several days. Because of the size and scope of the book, it is divided into two parts and the first part was my favorite as it focused on generation one (WW1). While you never 'lose' the first generation as the focus moves to the 2nd (and WW2), I have to say I cared more about the original cast of characters.

As with all of Diane Pearson's stories, the characters are complex and some will disappoint from time to time. I also was upset when some characters were killed off over the course of the book. Can't be helped, I know; but there were times when I was not happy.

I think it's hard with a book of this size to really satisfy the reader when it ends. It seems that any ending will feel abrupt. And it did. For those who need a HEA, I can tell you that it did end relatively happy but I would have loved a bit more in the "warm fuzzy" closure department.Yes, I KNOW this is post WW2 Hungary; but it's also FICTION, so make it up if you have to!

Overall, a very good read and one I would recommend to those who like works by Emma Drummond, Tolstoy, or chunky generational family sagas like "The Forsyte Saga".


SEX: characters do not always make good moral choices but any sex is largely behind closed doors, fade to black or non descriptive.
VIOLENCE: Moderate. Some war imagery is disturbing.
PROFANITY: Mild, a few B's.

MY RATING: Strong PG-13

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