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The Winter Soldier


A story of war and medicine, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, ...
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Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Created: 09/19/18

Replies: 35

Posted Sep. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lois Irene

Join Date: 01/20/16

Posts: 76

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The Winter Soldier is a five-star book for me. I thought it had a bit of everything a reader could hope for - strong setting, fascinating time period, romance, mystery and a riveting story-line. I would have been happy to stay in the hospital with Margarete and Lucius, but the author took me on a great adventure of historic scope.


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 137

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I wasn't sure I would like it because I don't like to read about the horrors of war. But I did like it and was anxious to finish it. I wanted to know how the romance would play out.


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I did not really like this book very much although it did make me want to look into more information about WWI. I was not put off by the primitive surgeries and terrible conditions in the medical unit but I think some people would be. The book was interesting but I never really felt much for the characters except I did like the ending. It had a satisfying ending.


Posted Sep. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 151

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I really enjoyed this book. I would also give it 5 stars out of 5. The author created the ambience of war, of a military hospital during war, and of life as an upper class Austrian. The romance was realistic and you definitely want to know more about Margarete. The writing was enjoyable and kept you moving through the book. I was also fascinated by the various characters at the hospital, the woman to whom he was married and his parents. The book is excellent presentation of life in Europe during WWI, a time about which I know very little.


Posted Sep. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 182

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book a lot. I think that WWI was a greater tragedy than WWII as it put all the pieces in place for WWII - the punishment of Germany and Austria, the redistribution of lands to Russia, the exclusion of Japan from the Versailles Treaty and peace talks, the redistribution of lands in the Middle East. It was also the first fully mechanized war and, as such, it was responsible for extreme psychological and physical destruction. The whole concept of kings and emperors was also really put to the test during this time and many dynasties were destroyed - the Romanovs in Russia, for example.

I like all the components of the book including Lucius' redemption at the end. This is a book I will definitely recommend


Posted Sep. 23, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
christine

Join Date: 05/30/11

Posts: 9

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I was swept away from the very first page. Each page, in itself, was poetry. I will go back to places to revisit the feelings that the sentences or passages gave to me. For example: he understood how it had happened - the rain, the ghost, the chemistries of memory, the magic way that crystals appeared out of solution, before dissolving once more into its haze.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 86

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I wanted so much to love this book but it fell short of my expectations! It had all the things I like in a story...war, medicine, romance and history. I had trouble with the names (difficult to pronounce and therefore remember) and the geography (even with the map in the front) as well as the history (had to use google for some of it). These things disrupted the flow of the book for me.
I loved the characters...Margarete and Lucius. They were extremely well developed. I felt as if I really knew them even with the shroud of mystery surrounding Margarete. The history associated with medicine at the time, the knowledge of anatomy, physiology, tools of the trade, diagnosis and management of diseases was very interesting. A special interest of mine. This was very well done.
The romance, the passion, the mystery was also very well done. The ending, although I was disappointed, made sense to me. It could not have ended any other way for Lucius and Margarete.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kdowney25

Join Date: 01/25/16

Posts: 160

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book! Like joang mentioned above, I had a hard time with all the names at first and that slowed me down. But I did the best I could with them and moved on. Having the story told from only one character's point of view made Lucius seem more real to me. It would have been a totally different effect if it had been told simply as a story narrative.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilliantpr

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The Winter Soldier has a variety of elements that make a War Story different from others.
The way in which the author wove the different themes of war, mystery, romance, history, and well-developed characters had me flipping pages in the wee hours of the morning. The book is riveting and intense from beginning to end. Even though there were times that I got a little lost with the vocabulary and some of the names of the secondary characters, it still didn't make me lose interest on the plot.

Definitely, I honor this masterpiece with my 5.00 Rating and would recommend it to all readers who love Historical Fiction with pages of mystery, war and love.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 192

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I gave it 4 stars. It was a bit wordy in areas. Its a good historical fiction of WWI. It has it all historical war stories, romance and mystery. Good for Book Club.


Posted Sep. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindac

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 28

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I would definitely give it 5 stars. It had the elements of a good historical fiction, romance and mystery. It was a different kind of war story for me. It zeroed in on this one part of the war, the medical branch and I found it fascinating. Appalling insight into the real horror of war and how crude and primitive care was in WWI. It began with his education before the war and makes you realize how far medicine has come in these past 100 years. The love story had passion and mystery and an ending I didn't expect! Daniel's writing was superb in that his detail of the world around each action of the story really helped bring me there. Names were impossible to remember though!!


Posted Sep. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 435

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

This book is wonderfully written. I felt that I knew Lucius personally and I totally understood him. He was a man of genius but socially backward. His parents seemed cold people caught up in their own worlds. When in school, his only joy was through his studies and his one best friend, Feuermann. Being a doctor in war opened his eyes, not only to the horror of war, but to truly caring for others. Margarete and the circumstances pulled him out of himself. The story was haunting and heartbreaking. I'd give it five stars.


Posted Sep. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
RuthEh

Join Date: 07/31/17

Posts: 62

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I could not put it down! Fascinating history about war, love and how a young man was thrown into an unknown situation. The writing was some of the best I have read in a long time. I look forward to reading more written by Daniel Mason. An extremely memorable story.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 337

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I very much liked the book, the setting, the period of history, the medical practices and developments, the characters, the juxtaposition of the life of Lucius parents which is soon to be past and Lucius future which will be totally different. I liked the ending so far as Lucius and Margarette were concerned but not the relationship she developed--a bit far-fetched to me.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AmberH

Join Date: 05/09/18

Posts: 72

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I loved this book! It started out a bit slow, but by the time Lucius got to his post at the church I was hooked. I can see this book not being for everyone, especially if you can't stomach gore-y details of sickness/injuries/war, but I found it captivating. I think the ending was just perfect - there's no way to please everyone of course, and I found the ending smart.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 121

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The story enthralled me from the first page. While Ihad some challenges with the names initially, I loved the well drawn characters. The dichotomy between the wealth & privilege of Lucius’ family and the growth he made, his determination to learn medicine & become a doctor over his parents’ lack of support, his transformation into an empathetic doctor, and the early research of PTSD or ‘shell shick’. Many WWI veterans suffered greatly and never talked about the war. My Uncle Mart drank himself into oblivion and spent a lot of time in VA hospitals when he returned. This was the beginning of the horrors of modern war fate. I also loved the relationship of understanding and mutual respect that developed between Margarete and Lucius. Now, I need to read other books by Daniel Mason.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyj

Join Date: 06/26/18

Posts: 28

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I would give it a 3/5 rating. Parts of the story were compelling, but other parts dragged. I did like the ending because it seemed more realistic.


Posted Sep. 26, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marie De

Join Date: 03/14/17

Posts: 15

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I found the character’s names difficult. Having no idea how to pronounce them, it was hard to keep them straight. I also wish I were more familiar with the geographic setting. Aside from these little difficulties, I have enjoyed this book.


Posted Sep. 27, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 356

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The setting - the Eastern front - and the point of view - testimony from a medical professional -- at least almost -- in a hospital setting made this book unique among the World War I books I've read. (Pat Barker's Regeneration ma be the closest, and certainly its setting is much less primitive.) I appreciated Mason's writing and the development and interaction of the characters he created.


Posted Sep. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 353

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed the book. It was well written but for me, not an easy read. I was interested in WW1 because I really didn’t know much about it. For me, history is better digested in fiction. I liked the Romance and found the medical fascinating. I would give it a 4 and think it would be good for book clubs.


Posted Sep. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 89

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I can't say that I enjoyed reading the book. I forced myself to get through it as soon as I received it. Lucius was forced to learn his craft under the most difficult conditions possible. I realize that the story telling had to be graphic, but I had trouble getting through some of it.


Posted Sep. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
colleena

Join Date: 07/18/18

Posts: 34

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I really loved this book. The author immediately conveyed the unsettled personality of Lucius the main character in this historical tale. I empathized with his doubts about his ability to make a difference in the wartime hospital setting. Neither his privileged upbringing nor his medical studies prepared him for the role he was thrust into. His mentor Margarete taught him so much about the real meaning in life - being for others. Five stars!


Posted Sep. 29, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 668

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this novel. When I saw that it was a war-time romance I thought, "Uh-oh... this one might not be for me!" But it was handled well/realistically, and the plot dealt with so many other issues that it really held my attention. I thought the ending in particular was very well done.


Posted Oct. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 146

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I liked the book but I think it could've been edited down a bit. I found myself skimming sections that were detailed descriptions of surroundings. I enjoyed learning more about WWI & the struggle of soldiers and doctors experiencing & trying to diagnose and treat PTSD.


Posted Oct. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 496

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I really liked this book, would consider it a 5 star rating, and have already recommended it to others. I was not sure that I was going to feel this way, but at no time was I tempted to start scanning the pages to finish the book. I definitely did not want to miss any details.


Posted Oct. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 173

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was such a different look at the war. I have always believed that the psychological wounds of soldiers were more difficult to deal with than the physical. The way the book explained how treatments were used for the WWI soldiers was fascinating. The characters were so rich and human that I became lost in this novel and did not want it to end.


Posted Oct. 01, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieRauter

Join Date: 10/01/18

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I really tried to love this book but I found it a bit disjointed. In parts of the novel the prose was beautiful and moving, then the story moved on and other phases of the novel become trite - especially the portion covering Lucius's marriage and the time period following that marriage. The descriptions of the countryside and surrounding areas was so vivid and I loved the main hero - Lucius - but at times he failed to come through with who he was being portrayed to be. I did like the ending - for it had to be that way - but again it just fell short in bringing out the true feelings of the characters.


Posted Oct. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 84

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I found it hard to get into at first, but once I did, I didn't want to put it down. It was fascinating - the descriptions of the state of medicine in those days; the horrors of the war and the physical deformities war caused for so many, many soldiers; as well as the PTSD suffered by them. And then after the war, Lucius' search for Margarete - how could it possibly end? Yes, a 5 out of 5 star book!


Posted Oct. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 140

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I also found it difficult to get into at first, it wasn't a book that I couldn't put down. But having said that, historic fiction is my favorite genre and I think this book fits well within that. It struck me as an honest portrayal, a bit raw but only when it needed to be, the characters were definitely real and the writing was good. There were a few instances when he was listing names or things and the lists seemed to go on and on and I wasn't sure why. So, maybe a bit wordy in places but not overall. I would rate it a 4.


Posted Oct. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 110

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

The Winter Soldier was a very good story. It brings WWI to you on a personal level not often reached by many authors. But D. Mason did it before in The Piano Tuner. His stories both started slowly with so much infinite detail about the craft/profession of his main character but after 100 pages, the "plot thickens" as they say, and romance blooms and becomes conflicted as war rages in its inimitably nasty way, and tragedy happens. This book has a "wow" finish that once you pause to reflect makes all the sense that can be made after this war to end all wars has been described so truthfully. It's a five for historical fiction!


Posted Oct. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lilliantpr

Join Date: 01/23/12

Posts: 42

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Five star rating *****. At the beginning I found it slow, but I had this feeling to give it a chance and wow, it was so worth it.
A lot of mystery, and surprises in this one! And the end, perfect!
Would highly recommend for Historical Fiction readers and Book Clubs.

Good job Mr. Mason!


Posted Oct. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 149

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

I liked The Winter Soldier but would only give it a 3 or 4 star review. I like the author’s writing - often beautiful & riveting - but often too long with descriptions of the countryside or the cold. I liked that Lucius told the story. The most fascinating aspect of the book for me was the picture of WW1, medicine, lives, culture, etc. I loved the story & all the characters but some depth was missing. Maybe the drawn out scenic descriptions caused the problem - I began to skim in the last 1/4 of book in search of the basic story of the war ending & the love story. The grim look into a field hospital & the lives of all there was more descriptive than any I’ve read before & certainly reason to shutter in horror. There were parts that were not compelling to me - Lucius & his mother’s later relationship; Natasha; Margarette’s fleeing; 2 letters attempting to find him?; and the abrupt ending after long pages of the love story. I would recommend the book to others. I found it a good story with flaws.


Posted Oct. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shannonl

Join Date: 12/04/17

Posts: 42

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

When The Winter Soldier, Daniel Mason's breath-taking novel opens it is early in the first world war. The twenty-two-year-old Lucius Krzalewski, eager to do his part in the war effort, enlists. This young Austrian medical student has never wielded a scalpel. He is the youngest son of a wealthy, powerful family. His parents did not discourage him. His mother, disappointed in her son for choosing medicine over the family business, thought him to be the best choice for their family's sacrificial lamb to the war.

With only two years of medical school, Lucius finds himself stationed at a remote outpost in the Carpathian Mountains in the dead of winter. Lucius' field hospital/clinic is in an abandoned church where pews serve as surgical tables.

The freezing outpost is ravaged by typhus and all the other doctors have fled. A single, strange little nurse name Sister Margarete remains. She is a mysterious and mesmerizing character. Someone who willingly uses a rifle and believes in taking whatever action is necessary rather than the subdued wait-and-see attitude normally associated with a religious person, especially someone charged with care and healing of the wounded.

When an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, he seems beyond rescue, when Lucious makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient and nurse forever. Horvath is this “winter soldier ” who, with his war-shattered mind brings the graphic reality of this war novel to life.

This war novel that has nothing to do with the battles on the field or the casualties of gunshot wounds and amputations. These casualties are from lice, typhus and gonorrhea. They are from the fear and severe depression that come as soldiers realize the seriousness of their situations and the fact they have nothing to go home for. They include the chaos and suffering of the Austro-Hungarian people.

The quality of this novel comes from the narrative in an “old-fashioned” way. With oddball orderlies and shellshocked soldiers, the cast of secondary characters are quirky and great. The reader sees their flaws and vulnerabilities. They enhance the more human aspect of war.

This is no Dr. Zhivago, but as the war rages across the winter landscape, Lucius finds himself falling in love with Sister Margarete. I am unsure if this restrained romance was necessary or too predictable but it is part of the drama and, with all its power, the narrative eventually slows down too much. The Winter Soldier needed an editor strong and willing to cut some of the beautiful words in order to maintain the pace and the tension. About two-thirds of the way through the book became a challenge and I began to wonder if Mason knew how it was going to end. Was there an ending that shared the novel's humanity and satisfied the reader.

Would I recommend this book? YES! Part mystery, part war story and part romance, The Winter Soldier is a tale of human endurance. It is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love and finally of the mistakes we make and opportunities we have for atonement.


Posted Oct. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
teacher reader

Join Date: 02/14/18

Posts: 47

RE: Overall, what do you think of The Winter Soldier? (no spoilers in this thread please)

Joang and MarieRauter expressed my feelings very well. I think the fact that I did not love this book had much more to do with me than with the author. I was not well-versed in the setting (history and geography), and I was bothered by the graphic descriptions.


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