Cover Image: When the Summer Was Ours

When the Summer Was Ours

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Member Reviews

This is my first time reading Roxanne Veletzos. This is a love story that happened in the time of WWII.  A rich girl and a poor boy, they went through separation during the war.  
About the love story, -- I feel their struggle, but I don't feel the love.   About the war, -- there is nothing new from what i have already known.  It is a love story that doesn't need to be set in WWII.  It makes both parts weak.  
Overall it is a good story, I believe a lot of readers will love it.
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A story of loss and love during and after the Second World War, one that had me almost glued to the pages. So much drama. The story takes place in Hungary, 1943 between Eva César and Aleandro, a Romani artist and tells of all the heartbreak they go through and Eva's marriage to Eduard. I would recommend. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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One of my favourite genres is WWII historical fiction and the bar has been set really high this year with great books by Kristin Harmel, Jennifer Robson, Kate Quinn, Kelly Rimmer, Natasha Lester, Pam Jenoff and Genevieve Graham (among others).

This was my first book by Roxanne Veletzos and I really enjoyed it! The story features headstrong Eva who has big dreams that get derailed when war comes to Hungary. Engaged to Edward, a Red Cross doctor she falls in love with Aleandro, a Romani fiddler and street artist when her fiancé is away during one idyllic summer.

But when her father drives Aleandro and his people away the two are torn apart - each set on very different paths for the duration of the war. Aleandro endures life in a concentration camp and Eva helps as a nurse.

I liked that this story was set in a country I wasn’t familiar with, featured the unique hardships faced by the Romani people and that the story didn’t end with the war but that we get to see what happens behind the Iron Curtain in Hungary as the country and its people try to recover and tensions escalate into an uprising in 1956.

Highly recommended for fans of Kelly Rimmer’s The Warsaw orphan and anyone who enjoys EPIC star-crossed love stories set against the backdrop of WWII. Much thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy!
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I have been loving historical fiction lately, and this one is no different.

A heartbreaking love story that packs a ton of emotional punch that broke my heart so many times. My heart was in my mouth as I routed for Eva.

Make sure to have plenty of kleenex for sure.
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Roxanne Veletzos created rich and deep characters in her latest novel When the Summer Was Ours. This is not your typical war story or your average love story. I can see the comparisons to Romeo and Juliet. The characters were from different classes, it was very clear that their relationship was not okay with their families and friends. Veletzos has a wonderful way of writing about hope during one of the worst wars the world has ever seen. I always like books set during WWII I particularly enjoyed how this one extended beyond the war years. 
Thank you #netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I was excited to read When the Summer Was Ours,  Roxanne Veletzos's follow up to her debut novel, The Girl They Left Behind. 

When young (and affluent) Eva Cesar sets out for her family's country estate in Sopron, Hungary, her life was pretty much all set up. She was about to be engaged to her long time boyfriend, and she was also determined to study medicine (she brought her reading material with her to Sopron). One day, in the city square, Eva crosses paths, accidentally, with a Romani fiddler, and soon she is questioning all her plans for her future. One thing she never questions is her desire to study medicine, but who she truly loves, is a question she continues to struggle with, throughout the war, the Hungarian Revolution, and decades later.

This was an interesting follow up for Roxanne Veletzos. Thank you #netgalley and @simonandschustercanada for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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☆☆☆☆ /5
(english review below)

L’autrice nous emmène dans le passé, dans une romance tumultueuse et bouleversante malgré les ravages de la guerre.
Hongrie, 1943 : Alors que la guerre empiète sur les frontières du pays, la jeune Eva César arrive dans la ville idyllique de Sopron pour passer son dernier été en tant que femme célibataire sur le domaine de sa famille aristocratique. Aspirant à se libérer de son père autoritaire, elle compte les jours jusqu'à ses noces à venir avec un médecin de la Croix-Rouge aimable et dévoué qu'elle admire beaucoup.
Mais la vie d'Eva change lorsqu'elle rencontre Aleandro, un violoneux et artiste romani charmant et passionné. Avec le temps et de profondes différences de classe contre eux, Eva et Aleandro tombent pourtant profondément amoureux, pour être séparés par un acte de haine brutal.
Alors que chacun est emporté par les marées de la guerre, ils essaient d'oublier leur amour. Pourtant, le souvenir obsédant de cet été va remodeler leur destin et conduire à des décisions ressenties à travers les générations.
Au départ, ce roman m’intriguait par le fait qu’on allait étudier la Seconde Guerre Mondiale d’un autre point de vue. On se retrouve donc en Hongrie et aussi Roumanie. C’était intéressant de voir la guerre se dérouler du point de vue de nos deux personnages phares du roman. Je trouve que l’autrice a eu du talent pour décrire les événements de manière graphiques. Je n’ai eu aucun mal à imaginer ce qui était narré dans l’histoire tant le style d’écriture m’emportait et était naturel à lire.
Les personnages d’Eva et d’Aleandro m’ont fait ressentir mille et une émotions. À travers ces deux personnages, l’autrice va aborder le sujet des classes sociales, de l’autorité abusive parentale, de la volonté de liberté, d’un amour impossible et d’une vie pendant une guerre terrifiante. Bien que la romance soit plus accentuée, au point qu’on n’a peu d’informations historiques finalement, je trouve que l’autrice a su rendre ses personnages le plus humain possible afin de bouleverser son lecteur et de le sensibiliser à ce qu’ont pu vivre les personnes de l’époque. Cette histoire aurait pu arriver. Cette histoire est peut-être en train d’arriver d’ailleurs dans d’autres pays en guerre.
Même si j’aurais voulu voir plus d’équilibre entre le côté historique et le côté romantique, l’histoire d’Eva et d’Aleandro pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale ainsi que les conséquences qu’il y a eu sur les prochaines générations ont été déchirantes.


The author takes us into the past, in a tumultuous and overwhelming romance despite the ravages of war.
Hungary, 1943: As war encroaches on the country’s borders, willful young Eva César arrives in the idyllic town of Sopron to spend her last summer as a single woman on her aristocratic family’s estate. Longing for freedom from her domineering father, she counts the days to her upcoming nuptials to a kind and dedicated Red Cross doctor whom she greatly admires.
But Eva’s life changes when she meets Aleandro, a charming and passionate Romani fiddler and artist. With time and profound class differences against them, Eva and Aleandro still fall deeply in love—only to be separated by a brutal act of hatred.
As each are swept into the tides of war, they try to forget their romance. Yet, the haunting memory of that summer will reshape their destinies and lead to decisions which are felt through generations.
At first, I was intrigued by this book by the fact that we were going to study World War II from another point of view. So we find ourselves in Hungary and also Romania. It was interesting to watch the war unfold from the perspective of our two leading characters in the story. I found the author has a talent for describing events graphically. I had no trouble imagining what was being told in the story as the style of writing carried me away and was natural to read.
The characters of Eva and Aleandro made me feel a thousand and one emotions. Through these two characters, the author will tackle the subject of social class, abusive parental authority, the desire for freedom, an impossible love and a life during a terrifying war. Although the romance is more accentuated, to the point that there’s little historical information, I found that the author has made her characters as human as possible in order to upset her reader and make him aware of what were able to live the people of the time. This story could have happened. This story may be happening elsewhere in other countries at war.
While I would have liked to see more balance between the historical side and the romantic side, the story of Eva and Aleandro during WWII and the consequencies which are felt through generations have been heartbreaking.
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Veletzos was born in Romania, but moved to California as a child. Her first novel "The Girl They Left Behind" was a international bestseller.  This new release is her second novel and also an historical fiction.  It is set mostly in Hungary from 1943 until the 1956 uprising and beyond.  We meet Eva, who was raised with wealth and is engaged to marry a doctor.  While he is away treating soldiers at the Russian front, Eva meets and falls in love with Aleandro.  Aleandro is Romani who is caring for his three much younger brothers by using his skills as an artist and musician.  When first a act of hatred and then the war separates them, we follow their separate lives as they try to move on without each other.  This is a wonderful recommendation for historical fiction fans.  I really enjoyed it.
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Read if you like: WW2 stories, Hungarian history.
With the war coming to Hungary soon, Eva meets Aleandro, a Roman fiddler, and they fall in love. Even though Eva is engaged to someone else. I love the forbidden romance trope, so I enjoyed reading this book to see if Eva and Aleandro would eventually end up together.
We also get to see ow the war impacted Hungary, as well as the Soviet occupation and then the 1956 uprising!
CW: war, violence, death, concentration camps.
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I just could not make my way through this book. I love historical fiction. It is one of my absolute favorite genres. As a former student of History (specifically European history), I am just drawn to the opportunity to travel to different times and places. I don't, however, love sappy romances and star-crossed lovers plots. I was pulled in to reading this one because of the different perspectives it purported to offer about World War II and, perhaps, a different story than the usual novel based during this time period. Sadly, this was more of a historical romance parading as historical fiction. Romance + historical facts, rather than History with a little bit of romance. I had a feeling within the first 2 chapters of how the story would develop, and was physically holding back from rolling my eyes at the sappiness I was dreading would come. I am sorry to say that I wasn't proven wrong. 

I'm sure other readers will adore this book, but it just was not for me, personally. 

I appreciate the opportunity provided by Netgalley and the publisher to read and review "When The Summer was Ours" in advance of its release.
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🎻 When The Summer Was Ours 🎻 
By Roxanne Veletzos
Publisher: Washington Square Press (Aug 24.2021)

I’m always searching for my next historical fiction novel that shows how far of a reach WWII had. I’ve ventured into most countries by now but never Hungary and never a story that bounced off from real people in the past. Until now. 

The start of the novel felt like The Crown. I could visualize the high society parties where Eva felt like she was going through the motions. Then quick flash it switches to a chance encounter meeting with Aleandro, whose magnetic pull allows her to feel peace and a family within the gypsy camp that he was living in. 

Aleandro or Eduard. One decision sets Eva’s path into a growing snowball with tragedy, loss, pain, love and a journey that finishes full circle. 

The writing was beautiful. The story (while I wished Aleandro had a happier story) was beautiful. Well done.
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As I always note, although I enjoy historical fiction, I have yet to find one story  evolving In WWII era that totally captured me. Once again, the beautiful cover and a review that said this novel contained « everything an historical fiction should have » attracted me to request it.

This story spans over the lifetime of Alejandro and Eva from Budapest, Hungary, Vienna (Austria) and all the way to New York City. 

I felt the love story was under developed and it failed to engage me emotionally from the start. However, I never thought about quitting as I was curious enough to learn how it would end and if these lovers would find their way to each other in the end. Many times I felt the author skipped important lifetime events and just wrote it had happened instead of having us witness it through the eyes of the characters. There was even a 12 years gap at some time that disappointed me, right in the heart of the action.

I would say it does have everything an historical fiction should have however with the multitude of WWII novels, there was just nothing extraordinary about it.

It finally dawned on me I should totally skip WWII fictions from now on as my reviews probably don’t give them justice,

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me a complimentary e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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WW II is my favourite era of historical fiction and this book did not disappoint. I was glad it focused more on Hungary and less on Germany as it depicted a whole other side of the war I did not know much about. 

I loved this story but felt it was somewhat rushed and maybe tried to cover too many years in one book. and jumped around a bit. Overall the storyline was good and I especially enjoyed the ending.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
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From Hungary in the 1940's to New York in the 1990's "The Summer Was Ours" documents the story of Eva and Aleandro through the decades. From the horrors of the holocaust through the Hungarian Revolution the love story prevails. Separated by circumstances and well meaning people Eva and Aleandro's lives intertwine until the 90's when once again they meet where they began. A unique look at war time Hungary and a perfect read for those who enjoy the historical fiction of WW2.
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This story begins in 1943 in Hungary, when Eva César, a young woman from a wealthy family, meets and falls in love with Aleandro, a Romani fiddler and artist. The events of the war and the communist occupation that followed have life-changing consequences for Eva and Aleandro and their relationship.

This book does an excellent job of shining a spotlight on the treatment of Romani people during the war, as well as the failed uprising in Hungary in 1956. 

However, I felt that the story might have tackled too much in too few pages - the relationship between Eva and Aleandro developed so quickly that I wasn't invested in it, and the same goes for Aleandro's friendship later on in the book. I would have enjoyed this book even more if it focused only on WWII or communist-era Hungary (or both but each in greater detail - nothing wrong with long books!) but I felt that I only got a  novella of a story for each. 

If you are a fan of historical fiction and enjoy reading about lesser-known events through the lens of fiction, I would recommend this one!
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This five-star read is definitely a book to be savoured, observed and appreciated! Set in WW2 Hungary and the turbulent days of the Hungarian Revolution, “When The Summer Was Ours” is a tale of survival, reinvention and the indestructible resilience of first love. 

In the summer of 1943, Eva César arrives at her aristocratic family’s estate in the village of Sopron to enjoy her last days as a single woman. Looking forward to escaping her domineering father, Eva spends her time planning her wedding to a Red Cross Doctor, Eduard Kovaks.

Her life takes a change of direction one summer afternoon when she meets Aleandro Szabo, a charming Romani fiddler and artist. Separated by class, circumstance and tragedy, the destiny of these two star-crossed lovers is reshaped and the impact is echoed in three generations of women. 

Veletzsos writes so beautifully. Her words seep into your soul affecting every cell and bone in your body; you forget about everything else in life while you are hanging out with Eva and Aleandro. I didn’t want the engrossing tale to end despite feeling the loss and heart ache. The author draws on early experience living in Eastern Europe and bases her characters on real life people; Dr. Andras Seibrigir as Eduard Kovaks, and Kalman Aron as Aleandro Szabo.

I love historical fiction and was excited to read this book set during the Hungarian uprising – a setting rarely used in wartime fiction. I learned about the Romani; not only of their bohemian existence, but also of their cruel fate during WW2. One quarter of Europe’s Roma reportedly perished at the hands of the Nazis. 

From rural Hungary in the early 1940s, to Budapest in the late 1980s, to modern-day New York city, this is an epic tale of the impact of war on civilian life, the toll of secrets, the endurance of the human spirit and a reminder that renewal can spring from the ashes. It needs to be on your radar come August 23, 2021. 

I was gifted this advance copy by Roxanne Veletzos, Simon & Schuster Canada and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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Set in Hungary late in WWII and moving forward in history, this bittersweet story touches on all of the heart strings - joy, sadness, romance, and tragedy. With wonderfully developed characters, the author shows us the difficult interplay between the rich and poor, the Romani and Magyar, and the gut-wrenching choices that were needed to be made to survive during the war.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Shuster Canada who provided me with a copy of this book. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of the ebook.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters and many of the scenes. The novel, set up with multiple parts, almost felt like each next section was like a very long epilogue. The characters were very believable in many ways with flaws and choices that were frustrating to experience with them. I think, rather than so many parts, it could have been nice to focus on some areas a little more in depth.

It was nice to read about the Romani and Hungary, though, and see a different, while altogether similar, side of World War Two. The atrocities know no bounds.
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3. 5 Stars

I received this book free for an honest review from Netgalley. 

I really love WW2 stories and this one did not disappoint. It wasn’t the typical story of a Jewish person needing to escape the Germans. Which was. A nice change if yo I have read a lot of WW2 books. It was interesting to get a completely new take on it as these characters were from different countries. It had similar ones to Romeo and Juliet as the characters were from different classes and it was made very apparent that was not okay with their families and friends. It also reminded me slightly of The Book of Lost Names. 
I would recommend this story to others.
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I received an ARC from Netgalley of this book.  This is an historical fiction set in Hungary starting during WWII and continuing after including the uprising in Hungary in the 1950s.  It included the treatment of Romany Gypsies in concentration camps.  I didn't know much about Hungary during/after the war.  The book was good, but not great.  A typical WWII historical fiction that I felt just didn't give me the depth and emotion that I have read in many other such books.  A young well-off woman falls in love with a Romany man, they get separated, and it follows them thru the war and afterwards.  I just felt it was predictable and I knew what was going to happen.  Again, good but not the best of the genre.
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