Thursday, May 19, 2022

All Things That Deserve To Perish by Dana Mack


Elisabeth von Schwabacher has just returned to her family home in Berlin from three years of music study in Vienna.  She is an accomplished pianist and along with the fact that her father is extremely wealthy will be considered one of the catches of this year's matrimonial events.  But in 1896, there are several things against her as well.  Elisabeth's family is Jewish and there is open discrimination against them in society.  She is also quite outspoken and has returned home with ideas of what women should be able to have outside of a marriage.

Two nobles court her.  One is an old friend but she isn't interested in him romantically.  The other is from an impoverished family although their standing  in society remains high.  Elisabeth is immediately attracted to him but isn't sure she wants to marry anyone.  She decides that this close to the nineteenth century she should be able to do as she pleases and determines that she will take him as a lover.  The noble is more than willing and she does so.  Her family discovers this and are appalled.  They send her away to relatives.

But love will out and the noble and Elisabeth eventually marry.  She goes to his estate only to be shocked at how different it is from the heights of Berlin society.  His family is open with their distaste for her Jewishness as are the other families in the area.  

Dana Mack is a historian, musician and journalist.   This is her debut novel but her articles on various subjects have appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor and the Washington Post.  Her background has made her the perfect author to write this novel about women's changing roles in society and the fact that the Jewish population were being ostracized long before Hitler came to power.  This book is recommended for historical fiction readers.

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