Diane (South Portland ME)
Nice and light!
Valeria's Last Stand is full of funny & quirky characters, although I felt the book moved along in fits & starts, at times dragging. Fitten's detailed descriptions encourage the reader to imagine just what the townspeople and landscape would look like! If you're looking for a quick & cute read, this is your book!
Fran (retired high school librarian) (Woodland Hills CA)
Valeria's Last Stand
An enjoyable book. I liked the descriptions of this Hungarian town, and its surroundings. The interactions of the people gave the story life. The contrast between Valeria and Ibolya was especially notable; and I could even picture in my mind the sculptures of the potter.
Priscilla (Houston TX)
Zivatar is a small Hungarian village that has managed to exclude itself from the march of time and technology, and the setting comes across as something out of the Middle Ages because nothing ever changes. Not even Valeria, the crusty village shrew. That is, until she falls head over heels in love at the ripe old age of 68.
When I first met Valeria, I was not prepared to like her as the main character. As the story unfolds, so does the life of Valeria. You can't help but cheer for her as she battles for the affection of the village potter. Supported by a cast of hilarious characters, the village and Valeria find their way into a new life and a new world. Valeria's Last Stand is a fun read and you will enjoy the comical characters you will meet in Zivatar.
Patricia (Bryson City NC)
A Whale in a Puddle
It's almost impossible to believe that this wonderful little gem of a book is a first novel by a young writer. The characters are vibrant, alive, and the reader cares about them; the story is ever-changing and holds the interest; and all's well that ends well, as they say! As a retired editor (and having once been engaged to a Serb) I could find no fault, except that it is too short! Quickly, where is the next one, Marc?
Jane (San Diego CA)
A folktale for the modern age.
Marc Fitten's first novel, Valeria's Last Stand, is a delightfully crafted tale of love, disillusionment, betrayal, greed, corruption, and friendship in a small village in Hungary. It's a small village in Hungary, but we can all see ourselves in Fitten's characters. Full of symbolism and simple humanity, this is a lovely and satisfying refuge in the midst of today's complexity. A simple, warm, and wonderful read.
Barbara (Roswell GA)
An enjoyable read!
For the first 20 pages of this book, I thought,"Oh, no, this book is going to be horrible. I can't believe I have to an ARC review on it!" But, the book got much better, and I enjoyed it!
The book has some central themes that are presented in an entertaining manner: the transition from a communist/socialist society to a capitalist society; the older generation's feelings about the end of their golden age; corrupt politics - presented in a fable/fairy tale style. Valeria, the crusty old woman, grows on you. The potter is a wonderful character. And Ibolya, the tavern owner, is quintessential in her role. In some ways, this book reminded me of Joanne Harris' Chocolat. The author has said he envisions this as the first book in a trilogy that will explore "how three generations of people were affected by the major shift in the late 1980s." After reading Valeria's Last Stand, I will look forward to reading the next two installments when they are published.
Donna (Wauwatosa WI)
Valeria's Last Stand
This was a charming story mainly about a romantic triangle but with political undertones. The characters are endearing and many of the situations are humorous. It was an easy read, and because it was written in a fable format it had a somewhat different feel to it. Definitely worth reading.