Author: A. L. Sowards
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Publisher: Covenant Communications
The Former Russian Empire, 1918
Czech soldier Filip Sedlák never wanted to fight for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So at the first opportunity, he defected to the Russians. Now he and others like him have formed the Czechoslovak Legion. Their goal: leave the chaos of Russia, sail to France, and help the Allies defeat the Central Powers, thereby toppling a hated empire and winning an independent Czechoslovakia.
With the fall of the Tsar, Nadia Linskaya’s life is in ruins. Her family is dead, her lands are confiscated, and her aristocratic world is gone forever. But Nadia is determined to elude the Bolshevik agent who destroyed her family and find a way to survive in this changed world.
When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally. But when Filip proposes a sham marriage to ensure her safe passage across Siberia, she takes it. Neither Filip nor Nadia expect real love, not when the Legion has to take over the longest railroad in the world—and then hold it against Bolshevik counterattacks, partisan sabotage, allied intrigue, and a set of brutal Siberian winters. At risk is the future of Czechoslovakia, the fate of Russia—and their hearts.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“When Nadia takes refuge with the Czechoslovak Legion, the last thing she expects is an ally,” the back jacket states in A.L. Sowards novel, A Waltz with Traitors.
This three-hundred-and-twenty-eight-page advance reader copy targets those interested in romantic Christian historical fiction involving surviving the Great War in Russia. Topics of physical abuse, rape, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. While the beginning has two maps, a glossary, and historical background information, the ending includes an author’s note and her biography.
In this tale covering the former Russian Empire in 1918, twenty-year-old Nadia witnesses her aristocratic parents being executed and flees into the hands of Filip, a member of the Czechoslovak Legion, who promises his protection by arranging a sham marriage to her. As the two deal with multifaceted issues trying to stay alive during the war, the brutality of the land and its people continually keeps them apart.
I love historical fiction, where I learn something interesting. This one covers the gambit of how the Czechs, Bolsheviks, Red and White Army, and Cheka agents operated while fighting for what they believed in. I appreciate the details of the trains on the rails and how love endured during incredible hardships. The tenderness between many characters and those they loved was well-written and believable.
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like this story of how God provides protection, even during wartime. Some may not like reading about the numerous battles, bloodshed, or the horrible atrocities committed during war. A few may not understand the reason why so many heartlessly died for a country’s freedom. The Catholic references to God were limited.
It would have been thoughtful to include the eternal plan of salvation. Adding a list of characters and discussion questions may be helpful.
If you don’t know much about the Czech Legion and their persistence to start their own country, this is an engaging read that includes an unlikely relationship of love and loyalty.
Thanks to the author, Covenant Communications, and Interviews & Reviews for this complimentary book. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
Reviewer: Ewurabena Wilson
A beautifully written novel with yarns of suffering and hope skilfully interwoven.
A Waltz with Traitors has the elements of history, romance, war, faith, and hope all woven together to form a heart-wrenching yet beautiful novel. The author clearly has done extensive homework on the fight for independence by the Czechs and Slovaks. The historical aspect of this novel really drew me in, and it was insightful to learn about the struggles the Czechs and Slovaks faced to attain independence. There were periods in the book where it felt like the author had been physically present and gave a vivid account of what was seen and heard.
The characters of Nadia and Filip were beautifully developed. Nadia and Filip are people from different life spectrums finding love amid war. The secondary characters were very well developed. Dalek and Anton will always be remembered.
I must confess that I almost stopped reading at a certain point in the novel as the unending sufferings faced by Nadia were overwhelming and gut-wrenching. What kept me reading was that some people in this world have gone through worse sufferings and a desire to know the end. In the end, I am glad I finished reading the novel. The note of faith in God and perseverance during immense suffering is well echoed in this novel.
If one is looking for a book that gives hope during adversity, along with a touch of faith and a strong dose of history and romance, then this is definitely a book to read.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Covenant Communications through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
“We just wanted to go home. The rest was forced on us.”
Set mainly in Russia in 1918 amidst the Revolution and the ending of WWI, this fascinating book details little-known historical events involving the Czechoslovak Legion and their fight to get home and have a land of their own. With obvious impeccable research and rich historical detail, author A. L. Sowards has penned a riveting story of history and romance.
Colorful, carefully drawn characters pulled me right into this tale and kept me intrigued to the end. Nadia is a Russian aristocrat who narrowly escapes with her life as her family is killed by the Bolsheviks. She is rescued by Filip and his friends from the Czechoslovak Legion, who struggle to get across Russia and make their way home. Nadia and Filip enter into a sham marriage in order to protect her.
“Maybe all the darkness makes it easier to recognize the light.”
“God is always there, even when it’s too dark to see Him.”
With plenty of suspense, action, history, and a dollop of romance, this book is a good example of why I love historical fiction. I get to learn about historical events while enjoying a great story. The maps and glossary were very helpful in understanding what was going on and where the events took place, while the author’s notes in the back added interesting information. This well-written book has earned a place on my keeper's shelf. I’ll be looking forward to more from this author in the future.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Covenant Communications through Interviews & Reviews. All opinions are my own.
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