Beatrice Hitchman’s writing is beautiful from the start, though I found the first part of the book rather dull. It was only when Eve and Julia’s story began to intertwine with those around them that I truly became invested. The little community that built up around them caught me by the heart at once, and I found I didn’t know how to escape it. I also found I didn’t particularly want to. This book won’t suit everyone ... it’s slow to start, despite a prologue with action plucked from later in the story. There were times when I found the names and action hard to follow. All the same, I found I loved it.
Hitchman...has written an absorbing novel of love and lust and found family that spans 1910 to 1946, a period when Vienna was a haven for queer couples, then turned dangerous when the Nazi Party ascended to power.
Hitchman...tells a preoccupying if underwhelming story of queer love in Vienna over the course of both world wars ... Hitchman makes good use of interwar bohemian Vienna, presenting it as a time capsule of relative permissiveness before the rise of the Nazis, though the happy ending after WWII feels far-fetched, and the cameos of such historical figures as Freud don’t add much to the narrative. Though there are some bright moments, little distinguishes this in a crowded field.
Hitchman excels at capturing both the liberating permissiveness of turn-of-the-century Vienna and the city’s paralyzing fear after Hitler’s 1938 annexation of Austria, but the big time jump between 1913, when the novel’s first part ends, and 1938 and then 1946 feels jarring. Her main characters are sympathetically drawn, but all are not given equal focus. The more compelling Eve receives less attention than the self-absorbed Julia ... An engrossing, if flawed, novel.