Cover Image: Midnight Train to Prague

Midnight Train to Prague

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Member Reviews

Rambling and disconnected. There were too many characters in the story with a very thin story line. It should have been kept a bit more simplified instead of including every person it seems the characters met! This book fell way short.
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At first I wondered when this book would get to the point, or any point at all. It seemed random and unfocused though I did like the characters. When it jumped to a new family in a totally different place, it was random and confusing. That being said I did enjoy the book. But it was overwhelming sad and depressing.
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I was really excited for this book. While I think the story line could have been great the narration was a huge turn off for me. The passive narration through the whole book and the abundance of characters made it really difficult to get involved with the story. It sounded like more like a textbook than a novel.
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Exploring history through Natalia's eyes is heartbreaking and emotional - from the time she's a child in the 20's in Berlin to spending WWII in Prague.

The relationships, friendships, and romances she has along the way... and how WWII changes each relationship and devastates a group of people. Taking the train from Berlin to Prague seems like a typical adventure, but it is life changing.

If you're a historical fiction fan like I am, you'll find yourself immersed in a far away time and facing life as Natalia and her friends did. This gripping read will suck you in and leave you emotional at times.

Thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins for allowing me to read this and give my honest opinion.
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From Peace, through War, and Back Again
The study of history is one of my true loves in life. It doesn’t matter if the focus is social, political, economic, or military…I’ll take it all! Naturally then, I always jump at the chance to review historical fiction books, particularly those set in war-time. On this particular occasion, as I took on Midnight Train to Prague, I was even more intrigued than usual since the story is set mostly in Eastern Europe (Hungary, and Czechoslovakia specifically), which is a departure from the WWII based novels I usually choose, focusing on American, British, or French characters. The main character, Natalia, is a wealthy German girl who finds herself married to a Hungarian count, and through the lens of her experiences, Carol Windley does indeed offer up a story that documents a side of Nazi brutality, and the barbaritySee the source image of the conquering Russian Army, that is not usually covered in WWII novels (more on that in a minute).

Before I get to the real substance of my review, I want to offer up my main critique: the writing style takes some getting used to! There are many long descriptions (not necessarily bad, but easy to get bogged down in), and because the dialogue is very matter-of-fact, sometimes characters’ musings seem to run together. This bothered me for about the first 30% of the book, but from there it was smooth sailing, as I became more invested in the characters, and as the story started to pick up the pace.

Now that I have that out of the way, let me tell you why I think this book is a worthy investment of time for lovers of historical fiction. Carole Windley doesn’t shy away from describing Nazi atrocities, and I See the source imagethink that is important, even in works of fiction. Any time you read about WWII, there should be a certain level of discomfort; it’s not all about grand Allied victories! In this case, not only does the book discuss the Nuremburg laws and how European Jews were affected by them, but it touches on the treatment of Hungary’s Sinti people, on the “Germanization” of Czech girls with “Aryan traits”, on the rape and savagery  practiced in Berlin and other German-controlled areas by the conquering Russian Army, and even on how diabolical American and British bombings were in employing incendiary weapons. Finally, one of the most chilling moments of the books takes place when an SS officer describes mass killing tactics used by the Einsatzgruppen battalions to an adolescent girl, while she is on vacation with her family.

But its not all about the grim realities associated with living in war-time Europe. The book begins with a sweet, if understated love story, bringing together Natalia and the count. This love endures through uncertainty and separation caused by the war, that at times is nothing short of tragic. It shows the kindness and solidarity that people find in having a common enemy like the Nazis, and reminds us of the good work down by the Allied nations after the war was over, to help those who had been victims of the concentration camp system. And for my “Happily Ever After” crowd, there’s quite a bit of satisfaction to be had, if you hang on through the grim moments! All in all, this is a good, quick read.

3.5
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The preview of the book sounded great. I love historical novels and I am interesting in this time period. Therefor  am sad to say that this book didn’t live up to its expectations.

The story was all over the place. It went abruptly from one scene to another, so I got lost quite a few times and I felt no connection to the main characters at all. I didn’t care about their story.
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I love World War II Historical Fiction but this book was disappointing to me.  I did not care for the passive narration of the story, the too numerous characters and numerous places.  The story seemed to jump from one time line and place to another one which was very confusing.  The characters seemed very superficial and I really could not pick a favorite.  I think the author did do a very good job researching this book.  

Thank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is an excellent historical fiction that follows Natalia Faber from childhood, 1920s Berlin, and through WWII in Prague. 

We see Natalia’s interesting and eccentric mother, Beatriz, and her upbringing to the point where Beatriz and Natalia travel on a train from Berlin to Prague. This seemingly benign trip becomes monumental, pivotal, and full of surprises. Little does she know how much this trip will change the rest of her life. She meets Miklos Andorjan and also a woman named Magdalena Schaefer. Through this trip Natalia finds out the father she thought had perished many years before, is in fact not dead. (I won’t divulge more as I want the readers to still have some surprises.) 
The book eventually covers the atrocities of WWII and we find Natalia struggling with her other half sent off to war and a friend, Anna, sent off to a concentration camp. We can see the events of WWII through the eyes of Natalia and Anna. 
This book definitely brought forth many emotions and at times really was hard to read. To see how so many people were permanently effected by war was important, but challenging, to read. This is a book about love, loss, friendships, sacrifice, the concept of people entering, affecting, and leaving our lives. 

This was a great book and I did enjoy the ending.
I definitely enjoyed it. 

5/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic/Grove Press for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
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Midnight Train to Prague covers an extensive period of time, therefore the timeline jumps around quite a bit and can be hard for readers to follow.  This wasn't a favorite book of mine, it was just okay, and I hope it improves with editing as I received an ARC from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The sentence structure and flow of the book is very simplistic, and that is a pet peeve of mine. I hate the feeling that the author is writing down to the reader.  Although the book is meant to evoke strong emotions from the reader, I just didn't feel it as there was no depth to the characters.  There is a lot of information about different countries of Eastern Europe and that kind of saves the book.  The author did do research about these countries and about the war itself.
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On a train to Prague strangers meet. More strangers meet while in Czechoslovakia at a health resort in the mountains. Their lives intersect later on  in ways they never imaged during WWII after the Germans invade Czechoslovakia. This story takes readers from Berlin, to Buenos Aires, to Hungary, to Prague and Seattle as it highlights the devastation caused by the Nazis during WWII. 

There are a lot of different characters in the book, initially making it hard to follow the novel during the first half of the book. It moves slowly and jumps around between the characters without a lot of rhyme or reason. I feel that the story is one worth telling as it's the first in many of this WWII genre that I've read that does take place in both Czechoslovakia and Hungary. I feel like there could have been more than one story out of this novel instead of cramming all of these people into one story and would honestly love to read more about someone who fled Europe to South American as two characters in this novel did rather just in passing as was done here.

If you are a hard core fan of WWII fiction, this one could be worth a read. If not, it's a much harder read than others of this genre.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for the chance to review this ARC.
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Frankly, I'm halfway through the book and couldn't tell you what it's about. It reads almost like someone's long winded, languorous diary. The characters are many, the plot points unknowable, and there's nothing about the protagonist, Natalia, that feels even remotely likable. She holidays in Paris, in the mountains, at spas, and is so unaware of her priveledge and life of ease it makes her cool and unreachable. 
The most interesting part, her romance with the Count, is also the briefest. They kiss. They shouldn't. He's too old for her. Poof! They are married. They have a son. He keeps on writing. She keeps on living at a castle and globetrotting.  That sounds like it should be interesting. It's not. 
I only have a handful of books on my DNF shelf. This now joins the Did Not Finish.
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Midnight Train to Prague is  Carol Windley's ode to the people of Hungary, in particular, and to the people of Germany, who carried out Hitler's orders. 

I loved all the characters that Windley created, and there are a lot in this book, so be prepared. As well, there is a lot of detail about the history of the Czeckoslovakia. 

Carol Windley ingeniously intertwines the players in her story. In the first chapters of the book, Nathalia, as a child, from her seat on the train, first sees Milõs (and Zita), through the window, driving in his Bugatti, all of them heading to Prague. From those opening moments the book follows them through the war, through Europe and South America.

If you are looking for a WW2, historical fiction novel, with an emphasis on Hungary, then this oneis for you. I really enjoyed reading it and I am always proud to read books by Canadian authors. #5stars for Carol Windley's #midnighttraintoprague. Thank you #netgalley for an early edition, in return for my honest review.
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Though this started out strong, it quickly got a little slow for my liking. I thought there were too many characters to ever find myself actually caring for any of them or what would happen next. Historical fiction is generally a hit or miss for me. I wasn't too big of a fan of the writing style either. Thank you for the advanced copy!
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Midnight Train to Prague is a book set around WWII which is currently my favorite time period and I was looking forward to reading the story. I had a hard time getting through the story because it seems disjointed. Several times I had to back up and reread to make sure the storyline was about the character I thought I was reading about. As you get wrapped up in one character's story you are suddenly dropped into another character's story. Later in Natalia's story, you figure out the connections but it can be pretty confusing. I never felt connections to the characters because they felt like acquaintances, no real insights into who they really are.
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Midnight Train to Prague brought up a strong imagination of what the book might hold.
Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this one. I tried numerous times. I love historical fiction but found this book never could pull me in and make me stick with it. 
I appreciate Net Galley and Atlantic Monthly Press for the offering.
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I love WWII historical fiction and was looking forward to reading this book but I couldn't get into it. There were so many characters to keep track of and too much description. I appreciate prose as much as the next person but I found myself skimming at times. I liked Natalia and cared what happened to her, but something about the way the story was told make it hard for me to feel like I really knew her.  

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC
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I definitely recommend this. It started out really strong. The first half of the book had me so hooked. The second half felt a bit rushed, but overall I think this is an excellent addition to the genre. At the beginning of the story, Natalia is on a train to Prague with her mother. In quick succession, she sees a Bugatti racing past and wonders about the passengers, meets a female doctor and her son, and then learns the truth about her father. Her life would never be the same. As they are all headed toward WWII, this metaphor seems to work for what is to become of all their lives. Or at least it sets the scene nicely and introduces the main characters. The first part is truly engaging. Once WWII begins, this seems more like all of the other novels in this genre. That isn't bad. I was just hoping for something spectacular.
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This historical fiction was a little slow to start but once I got into it i was compelled to finish. It’s tragic and realistic but also full of love and hope. This is a story of day to day life and how that was ripped away from so many in world war 2. A story of families separated, lives taken, and what happens when hatred is allowed to run rampant.  Overall I enjoyed the story although there was a distance felt in the narration.
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This was my first book by this author, It was pretty enjoyable. I would give this book a 4.5 star rating! It was a pretty Quick and easy read!
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Historical fiction is my favorite genre, especially war time dramas with strong female protagonists.  I was pleased to receive the ARC from Netflicks and Grove Atlantic and excited to read this one from an author who was new for me.  

Midnight Train to Prague is Natalia's story:  a sheltered teenager with a single mother who started life in Berlin then abruptly moved to Prague as WWII begins. Early in the book, we follow Natalia as she travels to Prague, meeting people enroute who will change her life forever and learning her mother's secret about her birth. The book chronicles her life journey through turbulent times, sharing random coincidences and time-hopping that didn't always tie together.  Many characters are introduced in quick succession that is somewhat disjointed, making it hard to keep track of which person's backstory is being told.  For me, this distracted from Natalia's story, making it hard to emotionally engage. 

I enjoyed reading about the war as it impacted individuals in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Russia.  In the end, the author brought together most of  the story threads. But even then I didn't feel emotionally satisfied, thus only 3 stars..
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