Monday, March 30, 2009
The Last Waltz by G.G. Vandagriff: A Review
It’s not very often that a fictional character comes to feel like an old friend. But that’s exactly how I feel about Amalia, the heroine of G.G. Vandagriff’s ‘The Last Waltz’. Ever since my high school visit to Europe, where I danced around the gazebo used in ‘The Sound of Music’ singing ‘I am seventeen going on eighteen’ (Yes, I was one birthday too many for it to be the perfect moment), I’ve had a fondness for Austria and its rich history. The Last Waltz didn’t disappoint in any way. It is a beautifully-written epic story of Amalia, an Austrian who seems to have a penchant for men falling in love with her. The romance portion is full of surprising twists and turns, while being grounded in the most gruesome parts of World War I and the ushering in of World War II. The true futility of war is highlighted, along with the power of love and strong character. There was a perfect balance of story-telling and description that allowed the reader to see the subtle contrasts between Austria and Germany while losing themselves in Amalia’s anguish. I’m sure I’ll never forget the poignant tale of this brave woman who loses everything without complaint, but perseveres—thinking only of others—to rise again to success. Vandagriff is truly a gifted writer. The amount of research put into the story is truly impressive. I highly recommend the Last Waltz to anyone, whether or not they consider themselves a history buff.