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Travel – Skiing in Niederau

Where and what makes the best ski resort? 

Niederau, Austria is great for beginners and extremely family-friendly. It’s low-key and if you’re really lucky you’ll be near the Haffenwirt Hotel and feel you’re stepping into a Wes Anderson film.

Haffenwirt Hotel Terrace looks onto the long nursery slope

Haffenwirt Hotel Terrace looks onto the long nursery slope

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Fever At Dawn – Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Fever At Dawn by Peter Gardos, Translated by Elizabeth Szasz

An epic love story about a couple who got together writing letters while recovering  from  being liberated from concentration/enforced labour camps during WW2. I’ve read several first novels this year and apart from one other the rest have been a bitter disappointment. Fever At Dawn is a hit, a story to be savoured and a reminder there is a human story behind every refugee.






The  art of translation is a challenging one. Do translators get as much credit as they deserve for bringing other worlds to life? Elizabeth Szasz pulls it off with her  translation of Peter Gardos’ tribute to his parents early relationship. What a joy to read. Ultimately, it’s a love story but more importantly it tells the true story of how his Father, Miklos was given six months to live and defied all odds to recover. Instead, he was given the all clear six months later and went on to live for several decades. Yehhhhhhh.

Miklos is part-fantasist, part-survivor using all his skills and enthusiasm to woo Gardos’ mother  through a series of letters while they both recover in a Swedish therapeutic unit miles apart after the war has ended. Initially he simultaneously wrote to several woman from his Hungarian birth village in the hope that one would be the perfect partner for him. According to Gardos, he whittled it down quickly to his mother, Lili.

He was clearly a bit of a character and prepared to go to exhaustive lengths to engage his mother. The story behind their courtship  in Fever at Dawn  would seem unbelievable if it weren’t true.  A classic case of truth being stranger than fiction.

This is an extraordinary story.The  post-script to his father’s ideals and his wavering career post-war when he returned to Hungary were fascinating footnotes. How many survivors ended up with similarly disenchanted views and being ostracised again by their mother country?

The book looks compassionately at what it must have been like for survivors from the camps post-war, their guilt and the radical adjustments they had to make.

A thought-provoking read, I didn’t want it to end.


Fever at Dawn was published in hardback in early April 2016 by Doubleday – Transworld Publishers. It is available  online and all leading bookshops. The film was released late 2015.

Disclaimer: I was sent a proof copy for review. All opinions are mine.

Travel: Who dreams they’re Skiing?

When I can’t sleep or I’m bored I practise going down runs instead of counting sheep. These are the ones from Les Arcs 2000 I think of. Les Arcs 2000 is not the smartest resort in France.  It does offer perfect piste for all abilities, long runs where you can ski for hours and visit inter-connecting resorts (1950, 1800, 1600, Peysey amongst many others). You can even Heli-ski by being dropped off in Italy and ski back to the resort. The cost is about €50 and you need to book in advance Extremely family-friendly and fantastic views everywhere you ski. What more could you want?


Long runs from Les Arcs 2000 image image image image image image image

The Playground Mafia Book Review

The Playground Mafia is an interesting read. It’s essentially a series of profiles of different parents. Although both authors stress the characters are tongue in cheek i.e. not based on anyone they’ve met through their own playground experience I find it difficult to believe.

The book features 30 plus different  characters and I recognised them all. This is a book to read in small chunks. It might seem a bit far-fetched but if you have children you know it’s all true.

The Playground Mafia by Clare Christian and Elisabeth Kent published by John Blake Publishing. RRP £7.99

I was sent this book to review as part of the BritMums Book Club. All views are my own.