Beyond the Chestnut Trees, is a haunting and deeply personal memoir by Maria Bauer, who escaped Hitler’s invasion of Prague. After 40 years in exile, Bauer makes an unforgettable journey back to her homeland, searching for lost friends and lost loves, and finds the spirit of her beloved city forever changed. Through flashbacks, Bauer weaves the tale of her idyllic childhood, where she spent her summers at her family castle, with her harrowing flight through Europe on the last train leaving Nazi-occupied France.
She paints a stirring picture of Prague, wistfully recalling the magical and mystical city of her youth. “I didn’t want to write about Prague’s sufferings under two occupations nor about its heroes and martyrs,” Bauer said. “Many books and movies have recorded them for posterity. But there is more to the story of a city than historical upheavals. Each city has its inner life; and Prague, in the era between the two world wars, had its unique character and a mysterious atmosphere that deeply affected those who grew up amidst its old stones.”
Goodreads rating: 3.84/5