Goodnight, Vienna

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 8 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 22 Feb 2022
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing

Talking about this book? Use #GoodnightVienna #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

Katya never wanted to look after Gretchen. Now she’s the young girl’s only hope of survival.

1937. Katya Komarovsky is studying medicine in Glasgow, living among friends and eager to begin her career as a doctor. But when her spendthrift parents announce that they’ve run out of money and are facing ruin—and that she’ll now have to support them by working as a governess in Vienna—the life she’s dreamed of goes up in smoke.

Furiously resentful, Katya rages at her wealthy employer, Thor, for stealing her future—and saddling her with twelve-year-old Gretchen, a deeply troubled child who has only a blazing musical talent to redeem her. Yet as Katya grudgingly digs into her reserves of compassion, she finds herself losing her heart to both father and daughter.

Storm clouds are gathering, though, and when Hitler annexes Austria, patriot Thor is arrested, leaving Katya wholly responsible for saving ‘imperfect’ Gretchen from being forced into a Nazi medical research laboratory. With the terrifying uncertainty of the new world order, can Katya and Gretchen flee to safety? And dare they dream of ever seeing Thor again?

Katya never wanted to look after Gretchen. Now she’s the young girl’s only hope of survival.

1937. Katya Komarovsky is studying medicine in Glasgow, living among friends and eager to begin her career...


A Note From the Publisher

Marius Gabriel was accused by Cosmopolitan magazine of ‘keeping you reading while your dinner burns’. He served his author apprenticeship as a student at Newcastle University, Britain, where, to finance his postgraduate research, he wrote thirty-three steamy romances under a pseudonym. Gabriel is the author of thirteen historical novels, including the bestsellers The Designer, The Ocean Liner and The Parisians. Born in South Africa, he has travelled and worked in many countries, and now lives in Lincolnshire. He has three grown-up children.

Marius Gabriel was accused by Cosmopolitan magazine of ‘keeping you reading while your dinner burns’. He served his author apprenticeship as a student at Newcastle University, Britain, where, to...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781542035231
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (MOBI)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 45 members


Featured Reviews

The way the book started (talking about the first page!) really intrigued me.

The way the main female character gets introduced is something I would wish most of the books I would read in the future would do!

I would say I am thoroughly impressed with the writing as well as the character development of the three basic main characters.

It's been a while since I read a historical romance with an outspoken main female lead. I was a bit apprehensive when I reached further into the book if the character would lose its identity as to how she was introduced: a strong independent woman who strived hard to become a doctor when no one was actually quite impressed with the idea but was rather interested in getting her married to pay off her parents' debts).

But I am glad I met and came to know the male lead character as well as Gretchen, the child who no one could diagnose what made her quite different from the rest of the children her age.

I find the plot quite interesting. I feel the themes of child behaviour and behaviour therapy are dealt with with an understanding and with reference to the facts available about similar conditions. I find this quite interesting and refreshing.

As much as I love the writing and the characters, I couldn't feel the romance. It's okay as I was expecting a bit more I guess.

I would say all's well that ends well.

Thank you, Lake Union Publishing and the author, for the advance reading copy.

Was this review helpful?

This book was sent to me electronically for review by Netgalley. Likable characters...story moves quickly...intrigue...romance...friendship...try this one...on a chilly afternoon, cuddled under a warm afghan...I hope to read more by this author.

Was this review helpful?

Special thanks to NetGalley for sharing this free digital copy with me in exchange for my honest thoughts.

Wow! I have no words. I loved the character of Katya. She is clever and perceptive. I rooted for her throughout the story. The book is about Katya's experiences during the war, lost love, secrets, danger, redemption, and hope. I felt the book was very well researched. The entire time I was reading the book, I was wondering how many unique and heartbreaking true stories there are of the people involved or living in wartime conditions.
I think this would make a wonderful read for a book club for discussion in terms of morality and choices.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed reading this book. It was about the problems of the Second World War in Vienna. Katya accepts a job as a governess and gets caught up in the turmoil. The story is quick moving and at times the description is harrowing. I do recommend that this book should be read if you enjoy historical fiction.

Was this review helpful?

This is one of the best books I have read in 2021.

It was so well written and gripping, I couldn't put it down! It does show the ugly side of WWII, it also shows the good side. From what I have studied of WWII, it is a great portrayal of what happened in Austria as Hitler rampaged Europe.

It shows goodness can be found in unexpected places. It shows that evil can occur anywhere. It shows that the mob mentality is still alive and well 70+ years later. It shows love can conquer evil. It shows that maybe what we think is our life path, is not the way things turn out.

Very few books have affected me the way this one did. It is almost 24 hours later, and I am still caught up in the story. And, while the ending isn't what you might think it should be, it does a wonderful job closing the story on a happy note after the horrors of the war and Hitler's actions. I laughed. I cried. I cheered. I booed.

My only complaint? I think Marius Gabriel should write a sequel.

Was this review helpful?

“Goodnight Vienna” by Marius Gabriel is a historical fiction book written about WWII. The story starts off in the present (post-WWII) with our heroine, Katya, in Vienna. I didn’t know that, like Berlin, Vienna was sectioned into different sectors (American, Soviet, British, and French). The subsequent chapters set up the story, starting with Katya’s background (she wants to be a doctor) but is forced (basically) by her parents to be a governess to a wealthy man in Austria. Eventually, Katya develops feelings for both her employer and his pre-teen daughter. Along the way the reader meets some famous doctors - Freud (and his daughter, Anna) and Asperger. It’s decided that the three main characters will leave Austria and they attempt to in a very harrowing manner. The book concludes by picking up from the beginning - where Katya is in Vienna.

I really wish that the author had included some notes on what was historical fact and what was fictionalized. Obviously some facts can be guessed - but was Katya or the employer’s daughter based upon real people? Parts of this book were heartbreaking - especially the scenes in the ward under Dr. Asperger’s watch, but also on the various trains while our heroine et al were trying to escape. The fear people faced were described well enough to make it seem “real,” but the bits of kindness shown throughout the book were nice bright spots of hope.

In a nutshell, this book wasn’t what I expected. Katya is a fiercely independent woman - and that’s shown pretty much from the first full chapter when we meet her (that she wants to be a doctor I found wonderful!). But that she also cares about her employer’s daughter and realizes that she was unfair to her, I also found moving. Katya stood up to a lot of people in this book, but she was fiercely protective of those she loved and would try to move heaven and earth to keep her loved ones together. A very enjoyable book, but any book where I learn some new facts is always enjoyable to me.

Was this review helpful?

This novel set in 1938 in Vienna has kept me glued to the pages all way through! The second half of the story was so intense that I read it in one go! Good characterization, a suspenseful and realistic plot, tension does not let down. Fear is strongly described, I felt with it with the characters. No gruesome details which is a plus for me. Highly recommended for readers of WWII novels.
Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this novel for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

This was a really beautiful story, which started very gently, and then the tension really built in the second half of the book as Hitler took over Austria. It was such a gripping story, that I read it over 24 hours. The story drew me in from page 1 and I really liked having Freud and Asperger as part of the story. The story became so dramatic, and I really didn't know what would happen next. After the final chapter, I had to go back and read the prologue again, and it all fitted together. I have never read any of this author's books before, but I would definitely like to read some of his other books now.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve read other books by this author and enjoyed them so requested this one. Whilst I’ve read several books set in this era this is the first one that was set in Vienna. Heartbreaking and thought provoking. A really good read.

Was this review helpful?

This was an incredible book that starts in 1938 Vienna. Katya wants to be a physician, but she’s forced by her parents into being a governess for a wealthy Viennese family. While there, Katya becomes immersed into taking care of twelve year old Gretchen. When Hitler’s forces invade Austria, life changed dramatically for Katya and obviously not for the better.

This book shows you the goodness of people in the worst of situations. There’s heartbreaking moments, and there moments of love, particularly the love of the family and not necessarily family by blood. Also, it wasn’t just the war experiences that were intense. We got to see how a child considered “difficult” and “different” was treated during the 1930s and having Freud and Asperger make appearances in this book were interesting. Obviously very different from how these children would be diagnosed today.

This was a moving story, and happily it ended on a positive note. The romance didn’t really interest me, but the relationship formed between Katya and Gretchen was incredibly done. I definitely recommend this book!

Was this review helpful?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I lived for a short time in Vienna, and am always drawn to novels set there, but this was a great discovery and I was rapidly pulled into this WWII story with its excellent sense of place and time.

The year is 1937 and Katya is a bright and promising medical student in the UK. Her parents, Russian noblemen who fled their homeland with young Katya at the outset of the Russian Revolution, are now on the brink of bankruptcy. No longer able to afford Katya’s medical school and counting on her to be the family breadwinner, they ship her off to Vienna to take a governess position with a wealthy Viennese family.

Katya is distraught by this turn of events and furious with her new employer, the wealthy businessman Thorwald (Thor) Bachmann. She is even more perplexed as to why she has been chosen to care for his difficult twelve-year-old daughter, Gretchen, who is awkward and shy and cannot read or write. But while Gretchen struggles with most aspects of daily life, she is a musical genius, playing complicated musical compositions by ear.

Despite her earlier misgivings, Katya is quickly drawn to this lonely girl and wants to protect her. But Germany’s annexation of Austria (the Anschluss) changes everything – and raises the stakes for protecting Gretchen from falling prey to Nazi eugenics experiments.

This novel had striking depictions of Vienna leading up to the Anschluss and war, including deft depictions of the disbelief many sophisticated Viennese displayed at each stage leading them closer to the Third Reich, desperately hoping that things would not get any worse. There were also excellent segments on the work of Dr Hans Asperger, whose key role in the Nazi eugenics experiments has been uncovered in recent years. The story of Thor, Katya and Gretchen and the horrors they encounter in their attempts to flee an increasingly authoritarian city make for a fully engrossing World War II novel. I highly recommend this novel.

Was this review helpful?

This book did not start very promisingly. The language was cliched and stilted - I almost gave up. I’m very glad I didn’t. This tells the story of Katya daughter of Russian aristocratic parents who fled the revolution. To save her parents she is forced to abandon her studies and take a job as a governess in Vienna at the very start of the Second World War. Up until this point I didn’t like the story at all, the romantic element I felt was contrived and unbelievable but then Nazism takes hold and the story takes on a much wider scope. To save her charge from the horrors of the Third Reich there is nothing Katya wouldn’t do - the bulk of the book follows their desperate e attempts to escape and the horrors and bravery they encounter on the way. The second part of this book is incredibly moving, emotional and powerful .I won’t say too much more for fear of spoiling the story but it is a book that will stay with me for a long while.
Excellent - don’t be put off by the stilted beginning.

Was this review helpful?

Goodnight, Vienna

by Marius Gabriel

Amazon Publishing UK
Rated: 4

Back of the Book: “Katya never wanted to look after Gretchen. Now she’s the young girl’s only hope of survival.

1937. Katya Komarovsky is studying medicine in Glasgow, living among friends, and eager to begin her career as a doctor. But when her spendthrift parents announce that they’ve run out of money and are facing ruin—and that she’ll now have to support them by working as a governess in Vienna—the life she’s dreamed of goes up in smoke.

Furiously resentful, Katya rages at her wealthy employer, Thor, for stealing her future—and saddling her with twelve-year-old Gretchen, a deeply troubled child who has only a blazing musical talent to redeem her. Yet as Katya grudgingly digs into her reserves of compassion, she finds herself losing her heart to both father and daughter.

Storm clouds are gathering, though, and when Hitler annexes Austria, patriot Thor is arrested, leaving Katya wholly responsible for saving ‘imperfect’ Gretchen from being forced into a Nazi medical research laboratory. With the terrifying uncertainty of the new world order, can Katya and Gretchen flee to safety? And dare they dream of ever seeing Thor again?”

Impressions: Although this was not my typical genre of clean romance, I have to say that I devoured this book. Like a ball rolling, I couldn’t resist the momentum and read far past my bedtime. I think that the journey these characters went through was gruesome but authentic to the struggles I’ve read about of WW2. I was stumped with Gretchen's character, however. I wasn’t sure what she was struggling with. Was she dyslexic? Was she just odd due to being a prodigy? There was too much inconsistency in her behavior for me to justify her as autistic, although that is what I feel the reader is made to believe. I also felt this was not a great romance. The characters were awkwardly paired in my opinion and never really had time to show depth in their relationship. Regardless the journey of this story is what was fascinating and worth reading.

Quotes: “‘Longing for what you can’t have is the recipe for unhappiness.’”

“‘Think of it as an adventure. Whatever happens, it’s going to be an interesting experience for you. And in my book, interesting experiences are what make life worth living.’”

“‘In my experience, even the most difficult children respond to honesty and kindness.’” - I wouldn’t limit this thought to children.

“‘You’re not very polite, Gretchen,’ Katya said. ‘Why should I be? Nobody bothers being polite to me.’” -Perspective...

“‘Being brave doesn’t mean not being frightened. Being brave means carrying on even though you are frightened.’”

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review shared here.

Was this review helpful?

Hats off to author Marius Gabriel for writing a 5-star novel that encapsulated all of what ‘Goodnight, Vienna’ really means.

Firstly, the phrase captured in the title implies ‘it’s all over.’ Readers certainly get a sense of all the threads in this story that showcase that meaning; it’s over for Austria after Anschluss, it’s over for Katerina’s post-secondary education and it’s over for Mr./Mrs. Komarovsky.

Secondly, the phrase also refers to an implied coming conclusion that’s become inevitable. Readers certainly see the inevitable situation the Jews find themselves in when Austria is incorporated into the Third Reich, the inevitable when Katya assumes her caregiver role in the Bachmann household and the inevitable when it’s revealed what’s happening behind closed doors at Dr. Hans Asperger’s clinic. I love this title!

Gabriel stuffs so much into this novel, yet it doesn’t read like stuffing oneself at Christmas dinner and walking away uncomfortable. It’s amazing what little known historical facts he’s included!

The absolute highlight of the book for me was how expertly Gabriel was able to tap into my emotions. I threw this book down MANY times and walked away. Yet, I kept coming back to it because Gabriel tells so much more than a story; it’s full of emotion-evoking scenes! The unsympathetic characters in this novel were fantastic. I loved to hate the ugly soul of the man they met at the resort. I just knew when he opened his mouth there’d be more nasty comments I wouldn’t like. Furthermore, there were cruel characters doing cruel things. I knew when Katya took Gretchen to Dr. Asperger’s clinic, I’d hate what I’d read. Katya’s reaction to the care Gretchen was receiving gave me validation for the emotions I was experiencing. Because Gabriel crafted Gretchen as a mysterious, gifted and delicate child, I was already cautious of people who came into her life. When I saw how others treated her, I became agitated. With respect to the effects of war, the suspense and anticipation Gabriel included only served to increase the tension and emotional impact. He was able to draw the fear out just enough that when horror occurred, I lost it!

At a close second was the conflict Gabriel included in Katya’s life; she was placed in an uncomfortable spot where there really were no options. I loved that she was en route to achieving her dream of becoming a doctor and giving back to society and loved her strength and drive. Therefore, when she was made aware of her parents’ improvidence and their plea (solution) was presented, I got defensive. It propelled me to keep reading because I had to find out the repercussions of the ‘choice.’

Katerina Komarovsky and the Bachmann family's tale is an exceptional read and should be on every historical fiction lover’s radar come February 8, 2022.

I received this advance copy from Marius Gabriel, Amazon Publishing UK, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

Was this review helpful?

I found this to be a compelling read. It was an intense read and kept me interested from start to finish.

Was this review helpful?

Goodnight, Vienna tells the story of Katya, a young Russian woman living in England who is sent by her parents to be the governess of Gretchen, the daughter of a very wealthy Viennese man, Thor. Katya falls in love with Thor and becomes a surrogate mother to Gretchen. In 1938, after the Anschluss, Thor is arrested and Katya flees with Gretchen to save their lives from the Nazis. No spoilers, of course, but both Katya and Gretchen grow and survive loss and brutality and come out stronger. This beautifully-written story was difficult to read sometimes as the Nazi's cruelty wasn't glossed over. I found myself staying up late to read this book! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Katya a single Russian women moved to England with her parents but as they became bankrupt she was forced to Vienna to become a Governess to Gretchen and work for Thor. As in many novels they fall in love but with WW2 just around the corner life becomes very complicated and hard. I’ve read many WW2 novels but this made me very emotional and I couldn’t put it down. Thanks Marius your publisher and NetGalley. Well worth 5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely brilliant book! I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I've added Gabriel to my favourite author list. I will post a more in-depth review on @Hyggebookclub via Instagram as soon as I'm Well enough. A stellar read for a fan of historical fiction, based on frightening and true experiences.

Was this review helpful?

I might be in the minority with my thoughts on this one. At the beginning it pulled me in and I enjoyed the main characters. I also enjoyed a different perspective but I felt there was a big build up and then the ending was just abrupt. The epilogue did answer questions I have but I was expecting more to the ending.

Was this review helpful?

Saving Gretchen

There are times in life when we make great sacrifice for others, even for strangers, this is one of those times. To some it would be inconceivable that one would give up their career and risk their lives for a child that was not their own. This is a story of a young woman and a gifted child that had to be saved at all costs.

Katya and her parents were forced to flee from Russia when the reds came and had gone to England where they have made their home and were now British citizens. Katya had been sent to the best schools and was currently attending medical school with her dreams of becoming one of the few women doctors. Then her world ended when her parents told her they were basically bankrupt and she must take a post as a governess in Vienna to save them from financial ruin. This made Katya very angry but finally she agreed since there was no more money for school or for anything else it appeared.

Upon arriving in Vienna Katya meets Thor and his trouble daughter Gretchen. The child cannot read or write, but she is a musical prodigy. Gretchen can play any song just from hearing it on the gramophone. Katya soon falls in love with both the father (her employer) and the daughter.

Then the Nazi's arrive and horrible events start to happen. Their friends are arrested and questioned, some are murdered. One day Thor is arrested and Katya is left with Gretchen to care for alone. When Gretchen is threatened with medical euthanasia because she cannot read and write, Katya knows that somehow she needs to get Gretchen out of Austria.

Will Katya be successful at saving Gretchen. she almost gives up when they barely escape being sent to Dachau, but then she has help from Austrian strangers that do not believe in the Nazi's and their view for Vienna. These proud Austrians put their lives on the line to help Katya and Gretchen.
The story is exciting and full of suspense and terror. It is also full of the love that a young woman has for the child and the trust they both have in each other. It makes for a great story of the lengths that some will go to for others.

I did enjoy reading this book about great courage in the face of danger and I would recommend it.

Thanks to Marius Gabriel for writing a great story, to Amazon Publishing U.K. and Lake Union Publishing for publishing the book and to NetGalley for making it available to me.

Was this review helpful?

Goodnight, Vienna finds Katya in Vienna on the cusp of WWII. She was forced to go to Vienna by her parents in order to be a governess for Gretchen, who has learning disabilities. Despite her unwillingness to go, she quickly falls in love with Gretchen, and her father Thor. But soon Germany invades Austria, Thor is arrested, and Katya finds herself with Gretchen trying to escape the country to go back home to her parents in England.

While there are a number of heartbreaking events in this novel, the relationship between Katya and Gretchen is very endearing, and we also get some glimmers of hope in such a dark time by kindness shown to them by some people they meet along the way.

I didn’t know too much about Germany’s invasion of Austria so I was very interested in reading about events from this perspective. At times I felt like some of the events that happened were a bit unrealistic and seemed to fit in too neatly for the sake of the story, but this one is definitely worth the read.

Was this review helpful?

I just can't get enough of great Historical Fictions books and this one is one that I really enjoyed. The story of young woman, Katya, who wants to make a career in medicine and the last thing on her mind is attending to and looking after a parents financially which puts her career at risk.

But that is not the half of it as the story builds from there. Resentment, war and looking after a young girl lead to big changes in the life of Katya. The book has all the emotion, courage, rage and danger you would expect.

This is a well written book with some wonderful characters who have been well thought out and have so much personality and strength in them. I think this is what makes it such a great book as it is their story.

A great book that I highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

After a promising start I was a little bit disappointed by the path this story took. I did not particularly warm to Katya as she took up her new post, her immediate success with the awkward Gretchen and the attraction to her father was a bit predictable. The description of life in Vienna, although interesting was a bit lacking in depth.
As the Nazis arrived and it is decided that Katya and Gretchen must leave, the story continued to follow a fairly familiar path. I am afraid that I found the constant repetition of Nazi sentiments quite difficult to read and several times was almost on the verge of giving up. I am glad I persevered though as the last part of the story introduced new characters which livened it up a little, leading to a satisfying conclusion.

Was this review helpful?

It begins in 1937 .with Katya Komarovsky studying medicine in Glasgow. She is excited about her plans to become a doctor, and life is good. Then she gets a call from her spendthrift parents that they are in dire financial trouble and she must quit school and become a governess for a 12 year old girl who is severely troubled, in order to get them out of debt and save them financially. Katya resentfully goes to live with the widower and his daughter. As she spends more and more time with the two of them, she begins to fall in love with them both. She discovers Gretchen's amazing musical talent, and as she grows closer to the girl, she is able to understand her better and therefore change many of Gretchen's negative behavorial issues. When the Nazi's begin to invade Vienna, and Thor is arrested, Katya has to take Gretchen and flee. It is up to her to keep Gretchen safe, and out of the hands of those who would want to put Gretchen in a Nazi medical research laboratory, never to be seen again.
This book was so good. I have read a lot of WWII books, but none about the Nazi medical research laboratory, or the role Hans Asperger played in this. This was truly fascinating, and I ended up doing a few searches on the internet to find out more on the subject after reading about this. I loved Katya. She was a force to be reckoned with, and I loved how she protected Gretchen and completely turned her life around in the story. This book is definitely a must-read for all historical fiction fans, and especially all WWII fans out there.

Was this review helpful?

Engaging historical romance set in Austria during the German invasion. As expected, this latest by prolific Marius Gabriel has a solid narrative and characterization. I especially enjoyed the character of the troubled child who in the hands of the governess/would-be doctor flourishes into a lovely human being. Aside from the topic of the imminent arrival of WW2, Gabriel’s focus on behavioral issues in children, supported by real-life historical figures like Freud and Asperger who appear in the story, gives the novel an extra oomph to make the reading experience all the more worthwhile. The romance between the protagonist and her employer feels a bit hurried but the overall delivery is quite impressive. Definitely recommended, especially to those seeking emotionally-driven offerings. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I have enjoyed all of Marius Gabriels books. This is no different - a stunning story set in Austria during the lead to WW2. Katya against her will arrives in Vienna and, despite her fury, ends up loving the family she joins as a governess. The horror of the rise of the Nazi's is covered in detail during Katya's experience in Austria. It is hard to fathom the brutality of the SS and Gestapo and the adoration of many of the Austrian people towards the occupation. A story of courage, strength and vulnerability. Wonderful characters and beautifully written.

Was this review helpful?

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Recommending for young adult reader.
This is a tale of war time bravery with decisions made in an instant that have long lasting consequences. Loss, faith, love, hope and resilience in the face of horrific evil are reoccurring themes. Enjoyable book with strong characters. Great book for book clubs or discussion youth aged groups .

Was this review helpful?

A historical WW II romance novel. A very quick read. Took me less than a day. Very emotional. I loved it all. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read and review a book from my favorite genre

Was this review helpful?

Fantastic book with a lovely cover and i read in a matter of days, great cast of characters with twists.

Was this review helpful?

Loved this book set at the start of WWII set in Vienna quite frankly I don’t think we have enough books set in Vienna. I personally want more.

Was this review helpful?

This book was... not it. While it's good writing, it left a gross feeling in my stomach for how much Jews/Roma seemed to be an afterthought in a book that takes place during the literal Holocaust.

Was this review helpful?

What a read. Marius Gabriel wove a tale that had me sighing, crying, angry, and wishing for more. A unique point of view from other historical fiction I have read. Katya quickly became one of my favorite heroines, her strength and capacity for love are outstanding. I have recommended this book to lovers of powerful WW2 fiction and will continue to do so for some time.

Was this review helpful?

Goodnight Vienna, by Marius Gabriel, is historical fiction with all the feels. It also includes a bit of very interesting medical history related to autism and dyslexia. The medical community's ignorance about learning differences was astounding, in the sense that it was even worse than it is now. It was interesting getting a look at what Doctor Hans Asperger might have been like. I think it was probably pretty close to reality.
It's 1937 and Katya Komarovsky is in medical school in the United Kingdom. She's excited about becoming a doctor in a couple years but suddenly her parents turn her world upside down. Due to their own excesses they don't have anymore money so now they expect their daughter to support them by becoming a nanny. To add insult to injury, Katya will have to move to Vienna, right "next door" to Hitler!
Of course Katya is angry and she blames Thor, her employer, for taking advantage of her parent's financial situation. Now she's responsible for 12yo Gretchen, who's a musical prodigy but struggles with all her lessons. Soon she finds herself caring deeply for both Gretchen and Thor.
Unfortunately, the Nazis take over Austria and Thor refuses to leave, without fighting to help save his beloved homeland. Leaving Katya and Gretchen forced to flee to safety alone.

Was this review helpful?

Honestly, this book wasn't very good. The diaglogue was stilted and awkward and it felt like characters would do or say things just to move the plot along. Nothing ever felt quite natural and perhaps this is because of the fact that the author is a grown man trying to sound like a young woman. It is possible, just not this time.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

What an amazing book; I loved it from the start. The characters were so real, the setting perfect and the story so very realistic. I particularly liked Marius Gabriel’s style of writing, making this a true page turned. It’s not initially clear where this novel is heading, but bit by bit the all the pieces fall into place, including the aspects of the autism spectrum which have been well researched and conveyed. Mingled with fact, this historical novel brings to life the suffering and risks taken of so many communities during the rise of Nazism during WW2 in Austria. It’s a joy to read a book that is not only enjoyable but informative and the ending couldn’t have been better.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this advance copy - and I look forward to reading further novels by Marius Gabriel.

Was this review helpful?

I can certainly understand why someone once said of Marius Gabriel’s writing, that, “It makes you read until your dinner is burning!” So, so true! This is the first book of his that I’ve read, and it won’t be the last one.
This is one of the best books about WW2 that I’ve ever read, (and that’s saying something, because I read a lot about that time period). It focused on the German annexation of Austria and the aftermath, rather than the concentration camp horrors in many WW2 books. A particularly chilling aspect was the attitudes towards those that the Nazis considered “undesirables”, and the means that employed to get rid of them. (I have anxiety and hear with hearing aids, so I would have been in big trouble). The author did a masterful job of showing how the Nazis gained power little by little, the “slow burn” technique. By the time most people realized the actual danger, it was too late to put a stop to the atrocities.
I have to state that this novel did have some light-hearted moments. The best one? A display of portraits of Hitler without the famous mustache, in a basement, created by a woman in a wheelchair that Hitler would have eliminated. And the musings of this young woman about drawing Goering without his huge belly, and Himmler to look like a street thug; hilarious!
As soon as this book was released in print, I bought a copy.
*Th@nks, Netgalley, for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.*

Memorable Quote:
“Interesting, isn’t it? You’d think the man has a face you’d recognize anywhere. But all you really see is the ridiculous mustache.. If he were to shave it off, nobody in Germany would be able to pick him out of a police line-up of bag-snatchers.”- Dr. Turtletaub

Was this review helpful?

This books opening chapter managed to set the stage and pull me straight into the given narrative capturing my attention and compelling me to keep heading forward. What a ride this book was to read. I sailed thru the pages and had a great time reading it. It was just what I needed!

Was this review helpful?

After fleeing Russia, Katya is now studying medicine, settled in 1937 Glasgow. When her parents basically run out of money, Katya must travel to Austria as a governess. But as Hitler moves forward with his plans, Katya finds herself much more than a caregiver to her young charge, Gretchen. Well written historical fiction.

Was this review helpful?

Goodnight, Vienna, is the story of a Russian emigrant turned British governess, and her Austrian charge, who flee after the Nazis take over Vienna and all of Austria. I've thought a lot about this book since I finished it, trying to pinpoint why this did not work for me. While I think the effort was for a story arc of overcoming adversity and one of survival against repeated overwhelming odds, I think the story spent too much time buried in the adversity and very little time making me care about the characters except for in context of what was happening to them.

The writing was better when discussing some really horrible people and their revolting beliefs. The villains are more brightly drawn, such as Dr. Asperger and the Nazi commanders that show up repeatedly. That's not to say there aren't amazing and amazingly good people on the right side here. Specifically, I think Hildegard, the music student in Innsbruck, and the doctor, David, and his sister, Shulamit, were characters that were not as one dimensional. Though each had a relatively short time on the page, they had huge impact on Katya's and Gretchen's safe escape. That's great. But there was so much negative that ate up the pages, it was hard to find anything positive. Katya felt very determined but never very warm. Gretchen is a child struggling with the loss of her mother, a severe learning disability, possible neurodivergent behavior, and a magnificent musical ability. I saw more growth in the Gretchen character, but there was little in her POV. I think that would have been helpful. For example, her thanks in the prologue, to those that helped her, that showed her growth and character. But it's at the end!

And repeatedly over and over, the two of them escape the Nazis. Over and over and over. And the number of times someone said, just go, leave, and that's how they escaped? It just kept happening.

Instead of the persecution of Jews, the author focuses mostly on the Nazi plans to cleans the Aryan race of those who were not physically perfect. Gretchen herself is a target of this program because of her neurodivergence and dyslexia. Through the story multiple characters are subject to horrific treatment solely because of their disabilities. And yes, this absolutely was a component of the Nazi programs. The parade of disabled characters that Katya and Gretchen connected with, and who were then murdered by Nazis, began to wear on me as a reader. Georg and Shulamit are both well drawn initially, and while Shulamit helped Katya and Gretchen reach Switzerland successfully, both Georg and Shulamit were ultimately only victims. They existed mostly to be killed, it felt. And that was so disappointing.

I do not recommend. Rated 1 star as Goodreads labels that as "do not like."

Was this review helpful?

A beautifully written novel about Vienna before and during the beginning of WWII. Katya reluctantly leaves her medical studies in Ireland to become a nanny for the daughter of a wealthy businessman in Vienna. Soon after her arrival, Katya finds herself falling in love with the businessman and forming a strong bond with his daughter. As the war looms in Vienna, the businessman is arrested by the Nazis and Katya realizes she must flee Vienna with his daughter, before they, too, are taken prisoners.

I liked the contrast depicted in Katya's life - arriving and then leaving Vienna by the Orient Express - as the war progressed. I also was intrigued by learning more about Dr. Asperger and his involvement with the Nazis. One thing I disliked was Katya's reason for not marrying the wealthy businessman: She refused his proposal because she wanted to return to Ireland someday to complete her medical studies in her own language, not German. However, it is established early in the book that Katya was originally from Russia, so that excuse didn't hold a lot of water. Otherwise, it was a very interesting book and a strongly recommended read for anyone who enjoys the genre.

Was this review helpful?

A very well-written book with a strong lead character, I really enjoyed Goodnight, Vienna by Marius Gabriel. I was also drawn to Gretchen as a character and would have liked just a bit more development from her perspective. All in all, a great book that I had difficulty putting down and which I would highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I've just got up after a very very late night reading about Katya, Gretchen and their struggles to escape Nazi Austrua.
Katya went unwillingly to Vienna to be governess to the child Grey Gretchen. She sacrificed her medical studies to fulfil her parents' wishes who were emigrees from Russia and she set off for Vienna
She hadn't planned on falling in love though and her life took a very different path.
The struggles of leaving nazi occupied Austria were immense and she met good friends on the way.

I honestly could not put this book down abd thank netgalley.co.uk so much for this Arc.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to @amazonpublishing @amazonuk @lakeunionauthors for the ARC in return for my honest review.
.
My thoughts…
Moving. I grew up in Vienna, so the title was the main attraction. And, I’m so glad the book turned out to be well written as well. I’m so glad that Katya started off strong and stayed strong. Sometimes, the woman’s strength decreases in a story for the sake of the plot. Here, it didn’t do that and the character development for the main characters were well done. I was intrigued and enjoyed the cameos of famous Austrians such as Freud. And the beginnings of Hans Asperger’s treatment of children with Asperger’s syndrome. For a historical war fiction, it touched a lot on the issues of child behaviours, behavior therapy, and how children, like Gretchen, were considered imperfect and were placed in concentration camps.
.
❗️This would be a great book club read.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed the historical thread throughout, especially reading about actual real doctors and when the Nazi party started taking over Austria.
Whilst I felt the main characters were believable, the story seemed very rushed and to me left questions unanswered.

Was this review helpful?

(Read a finished copy)

‘I am only here tonight because certain people gave up a great deal for me.’ She lowered her eyes to Katya and David in the front row. ‘Some gave up their dreams. Some gave up their lives. None of them ever asked for thanks. But I thank them now. And tonight, on my debut, I dedicate this music, and all the music I will ever play in my life, to those people.’

Goodnight, Vienna is told from the perspective of Katya a young woman who wants to be a doctor, but whose parents convince her she needs to go be a governess to an Austrian businessman (Thor) to take care of his daughter as a job instead of continuing her studies to become a doctor. Katya does not want to do this and goes to Vienna determined to turn down the position once she had met both Thor and the child (Gretchen), but once there she realizes she can't go back to university yet for so many reasons. You see Katya's family was Russian but they left when the revolution happened and had been living off of the items they had brought with them, as well as their title. While that part is not that important the title Katya's family held and how close they were to the Russian Royal family is important, because Katya would 'play' with the Alexie as everyone else was to rough with him, but she had a gentle touch it seemed and the two of them were close. This closeness she had with Alexie has convinced her parents that she will be a good fit for Thor's daughter Gretchen who needs some extra help as well.

Gretchen and Katya get off to a bit of a rough start, but quickly become friends. Katya is so patient and kind to Gretchen and actually listens to her instead of ordering her around or making her feel stupid like everyone else around her had been doing since her mother died. Katya believes in Gretchen and because of this Thor starts believing in her to. While the time together they all have together is short it is one filled with happy moments, and moments of seeing a family brought back together after so long apart. The entire priority for both Katya and Thor is about saving Gretchen and the lengths they will go to, to do so.

Overall I loved this book. I couldn't read it fast enough and I needed to know what was going to happen to them all next. Once the Nazis invaded Austria everything quickly changed and with this change came violence and uncertainty for everyone who was 'different' in the eyes of the Nazis. Gretchen was considered one of those people who were different, as was her father Thor for his feelings towards the Nazis, and Katya was a threat as well as she was a foreigner originally from Russia. This is when everything became tense, and almost every time you think something else won't and can't go wrong it does. There were so many ups and downs, and the downs kept getting lower every time because the danger was increasing for Katya and Gretchen. Throughout this part, though we really got to see Katya's determination and love for Gretchen and the lengths that she will go to in order to protect her and get her to safety. All of the side characters we got to meet, while some of them were cruel, we also got to see the kindness that others had and the want to help others to safety. This book had so many layers to it when it came to telling the history part as well as the human part of what was happening in 1938 Austria.

‘When I see all this, I feel despair. I feel that a shadow has fallen over the world, and there is no light anywhere.’

The ending of this book, whew, it was a hard one. So many hard truths happened and were said throughout Goodnight, Vienna. While they are important and made this book what it is and set it apart from other historical fiction books set in the same time period.

"Katya could still hear Gretchen’s voice: We didn’t say anything. Why didn’t we say anything? And her own response: Because we were afraid."

I can't wait to read more by Gabriel in the future as his writing captivated me.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: