It’s 1943 and twenty-year old Eva is preparing to marry Eduard, a kind young doctor who is working for the Red Cross as Germany expands its occupation across Europe. Eva has lived a sheltered, charmed life in Bucharest, Hungary. With her wedding approaching, Eva travels to her family’s country estate in Sopron for the summer. There she meets Aleandro, a young, charming Romani who is a fiddler and an artist. While they are from two different social classes, they form a close bond and fall in love. Yet their time together is short-lived and they are separated. The Germans soon overtake Hungary and the Nazis deport all people deemed undesirable, including the Romani.
Eva has no choice but to try and rebuild her life and vows to help others. Aleandro and his family cannot escape Nazi persecution but his memory of Eva gives him the will to survive. This beautiful story takes the reader from the horrors of the war, to post-war Hungary and the struggles the country continued to face.
When the Summer Was Ours is a heartbreaking story of two people torn apart by circumstance. It is rare for a book centered around World War Two to reflect the experiences in Hungary and tell of the Romani people, which makes this book especially interesting. Author Roxanne Veletzos, through extensive research and family history, does an excellent job creating a sense of what people were experiencing during and after the war. And keeps us wondering if the two people who loved so deeply will ever see each other again.
Pack some Kleenex and enjoy.
Many thanks to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this incredibly moving book in advance of its publication.
Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: August 24, 2021.
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