Cover Image: Midnight Train to Prague

Midnight Train to Prague

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Member Reviews

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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First - thank you SO much to Netgalley & Grove Atlantic for sending this my way in exchange for a review.

Midnight Train To Prague is a heart wrenching tale of what it takes for love to survive in such a formidable time of war. 

What I liked:
- you, the reader, can sense how much research the author put into this novel. 
- The Europe during WWII setting. 
- The main character, Natalia. She came across very strong willed and determined. Although, there wasn’t much depth to her. I also enjoyed Beatriz as a character. She made me laugh at times and I found her enjoyable.

What I didn’t like:
1. Completely a preference thing, but I did not like the writing style. There were instances where grammatical errors were made and it made me have to double back what I had just read to figure out what was going on. For example, there were sentences without the quotation marks letting you know there was a statement being said. I have a feeling this will be smoothed out by the time the book is published. ARCs tend to sometimes have grammatical errors. 

I didn’t like the way the story was told, I felt like there was too much going on at times and then nothing going on at others. There wasn’t a balance of inner thought, dialog and exposition. The plot was bogged down by passive dry writing, and I just didn’t find it enjoyable. I had a hard time following along with the jarring time jumps. I love when time jumps are done right but this story fell flat for me. I enjoy historical fiction and classics quite a bit (this book felt like I was reading a classic), but this one just was not my cup of tea.
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I loved this novel. At its heart, it is a love story, though like all good love stories it is much else besides. The action spans several decades, two world wars, and is told from the point of view of three different characters. Glancing at the other reviews, I see some people had difficulty with the time jumps, the multitude of characters, the language and the general unwieldiness of the thing. Yes, it is long, and perhaps towards the end I felt it could have been shorter; the Anna point of view, in particular, I could have done without. And it’s not The Girl on the Train - it’s gentle, thoughtful, reflective rather than especially page-turney. But, for me, it was worthwhile. I found it a moving, intelligent, hugely enjoyable read.
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I generally enjoy historical fiction set in WWII that is focused on people rather than war and battles.  However, I just couldn't get into this book.
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“She wanted peace, sanctuary, untroubled days slipping past like rosary beads.”

Midnight Train to Prague by Carol Windley is the story of a girl named Natalia who is tossed about by war (and a silly, irresponsible mother). We follow Natalia from her girlhood to falling in love, to marriage and her experience in Hungary and Prague in World War Two all the way to her experiences in a post-war world. 

What I Loved:
The Writing Style: Excuse me, what? Considering most all of these negative reviews are about the writing style, I can imagine some people might be confused. Basically, what’s going on with the writing style that OTHER PEOPLE (not me) don’t like is:
A. Grammar: Many instances of dialogue don’t have quotation marks. (It was very good, he said. [at 8%])
B. Passive Voice: I didn’t even notice the use of the passive tense in this story, but apparently other people did. I think what a lot of people were referring to is the level of “passiveness” in the story (see “exposition”) but I find that to be a stylistic choice that I enjoy.
C. Time Jumps: People say the story is choppy. Yes, it does jump through major passages of time, but that didn’t bother me. A lot of time needed to pass in this story. I found it refreshing to have a story that took place over such a span of time, actually.
D. Exposition: I think the biggest complaint everyone has is that they feel like this story has too much exposition, but this is what I love about it. GIVE ME LENGTHY PASSAGES OF DESCRIPTION PLEASE. Especially when it’s done as well as this author does. This author writes nature and food in a way that is tangible: “She drank coffee from a translucent china cup and spread sweet, golden butter on a warm, floury scone,” and all my senses were engaged in this story (as were my poetic sensibilities).
The history:  This book covers eastern Europe during wartime and communism. I learned a lot about countries I normally don’t hear much of-- Hungary, Czechoslovakia (at the time), Russia, etc. and overall found it really intriguing.
The ridiculous mother: There is a silly, wild mom names Beatriz in this story who is quite the character, and I laughed a lot at her but also really enjoyed the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship that was a byproduct of this mother’s behavior. Compelling.

What I Didn’t Love:
This has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with the publisher. The email I got from NetGalley when the publisher agreed to let me read their book felt really condescending to me. I felt like it assumed that since I was not a “librarian, bookseller, or professional book reviewer (whatever that is)” that my opinion on the book was somehow less valid. I’m sure the publishing company is lovely, but maybe we can change the phrasing “If you are simply an avid reader,” to something a bit more condescending, considering us “simply avid readers” are the ones buying the books. Whew. Rant over.
The second storyline following Anna didn’t seem necessary to me. I ended up liking Anna a lot, but I felt like her story didn’t add anything to the principal storyline.

Who I Would Recommend This Book To:
People who love classics or literary fiction: I think part of the reason I enjoy the level of exposition is because my mind formed itself around classic literature, so if you are a person who enjoys classics or literary fiction, you will be able to appreciate the author’s writing style and go on a sensory-rich adventure.
People who want to learn more about eastern Europe: I always learn best through stories and feel like I understand a bit more about what happened in Russia, Hungary, Argentina during the war.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic for allowing me early access to this book via NetGalley.
To see me talk about more books (historical fiction, classics, and contemporary) check out my YouTube channel, Perks of a Bookflower:
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I received this book from NetGalley  and Grove Atlantic as an ARC. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book but I found I did not enjoy it.  The WWII storyline had meaning and it touched on various aspects of the war but I found it was too divided. There were so many different characters and although there was a connection amongst each of them it just lacked that “something” that made me care. The book seemed to be a series of events that happened to people but the thread that should have woven them together was missing. The end of the book did pick up some but overall it does not compare to the numerous WWII books that I have read recently.
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I did not enjoy this book. While I love historical fiction, I just could not get a handle on this book. The story was bogged down with too ma’am ideas to make it flow.
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I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions are, of course, my own. 

The cover and description are what grabbed my attention, but my excitement was almost immediately depleted when I started reading. Sadly, this book was just not working for me at all. 

I felt very confused and lost from the get-go. Not to mention, that simple grammatical errors are frustrating in a published book. 

The writing was mostly in a passive voice, tenses kept switching as well as timelines, a lot of telling instead of showing making me not able to gain any kind of connection to the characters.

Very rarely do I not finish a book, but I just couldn't keep going. 

I really, really hate negatively reviewing books as I know regardless of the level of quality, someone's hard work, and heart and soul went into this. However, I think a better editor was definitely needed as well as several re-writes. I, essentially, feel like I read the first draft of a novel. The concept has potential which is what really makes this frustrating and the only reason I'm giving it 2 stars.
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I wanted to like this book.  I really did.  The plot and setting sounded like they were perfect for me.  But I just couldn’t get into it.  There were too many characters in the beginning and the time period kept changing without any kind of warning or clue.  

I hate giving a less than 3 star review for any book because I know someone put their heart and soul into this novel.  But it just wasn’t for me.
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I enjoyed this book! Midnight Train to Prague is the story of Natalia, a young woman growing up in Europe with a single mother prior to and through the world wars. Natalia’s life is full of random coincidences and chances taken. 

The thing that makes this book stand out the most for me is the writing style itself. The writing is direct and concise - very different from the flourishes commonly found in historical fiction. The subsequent effect is that the gravity of the events that Natalia witnesses becomes clear even when they are simply described without commentary. Threads come together so beautifully in this book-  small details you wouldn’t even know were important while you were reading them, but you wouldn’t miss because of the writing style. My only qualm about this was the lack of passionate voice in the characters - while in some aspects the straighforward "X happened followed by Y" is very powerful, there is definitely something lacking that would endear me to characters in a usual book. Overall a good read!
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Stories and families intertwine;  locations change from Argentina to Zehlendorf (Berlin), to Charlottenburg (Germany) to Vienna to Lake Heviz (Hungary) to Paris to Budapest to Prague.

Beatriz Faber , a widow with her only child, Natalia, meets her past on a train;  Miklos is Count Andorjan who met his wife in 1919 at the Eighth Congress of the Russian Communist Party, and who is a journalist and who loves beautiful, fast cars.  

In Part 2, we are introduced to the Schaeffer family:  Julius, Magdalena (who is a physician) and their children Anna and Franz.  

This is their story.  See it through to the end.  
I read this EARC courtesy of Grove Atlantic and Net Galley.    pub date 11/03/20
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I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley. 

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, I especially enjoy reading books set during WWII. Reading the description of this book I thought it had a lot of promise. Unfortunately this novel fell short for me. 

Whilst very descriptive at times I found emotions lacking, especially when the story was dealing with war, death, turmoil and heartache. It was very difficult to have a real connection to the characters because of this. I also found the switch between time frame and characters confusing and often struggled to figure out which character I was reading about. 

I did really enjoy reading about the history of Hungary and seeing the war from a different countries perspective.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this.
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The midnight train to Prague told an interesting story of several characters that intertwined around each other and always seem to link back together in one way or another. Unfortunately I wasn’t a really big fan of the writing style and found the story lacking emotion.
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