Burning Horses
by Agatha Hoff


Sweet Earth Flying Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-979-09871-0.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 09/19/2010

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: History/Current Events

This creative non-fiction is the story of Eva Leopold Badies, from her birth in 1905 through the end of WWII. Eva, whose family converted to Catholicism from Judaism because of growing anti-Semitism in Hungary, leads a frivolous, privileged life until the advent of the war. It is then that she finds that being a Catholic does not protect her and her family from the persecution of the German occupation and accommodating Hungarians. The survival of Eva and her small girls is the centerpiece of a story which portrays hardships during the occupation.

Agatha Hoff, one of the daughters of the protagonist, writes in a clear and interesting manner, depicting a fascinating and harrowing survival story. Her use of conversation brings life to the figures. The depiction of Eva's early life fascinates, with its descriptions of lovely silk frocks, fine china and a material care-free life. A strong sub-plot is her relationship to her socialite mother who neglects or even psychologically abuses her. Most interesting is how Eva matures and becomes a responsible being.


Agatha Hoff is a retired attorney living with her husband in San Francisco. Her column "Tales from the Bench" appears in the San Francisco Bar Association's quarterly magazine.

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