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When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed th When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest. From sheepfolds harried by wolves, to courting expeditions in the snow, he experienced the traditional way of life to the full, and became accepted into a community who treated him as one of their own. But Blacker was also intrigued by the Gypsies, those dark, foot-loose strangers of spell-binding allure who he saw passing through the village. Locals warned him to stay clear but he fell in love and there followed a bitter struggle. Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker's adventures will soon be part of its history. From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania, to the book's poignant ending, Along the Enchanted Way transports us back to a magical country world most of us thought had vanished long ago.


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When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed th When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world. There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest. From sheepfolds harried by wolves, to courting expeditions in the snow, he experienced the traditional way of life to the full, and became accepted into a community who treated him as one of their own. But Blacker was also intrigued by the Gypsies, those dark, foot-loose strangers of spell-binding allure who he saw passing through the village. Locals warned him to stay clear but he fell in love and there followed a bitter struggle. Change is now coming to rural Romania, and William Blacker's adventures will soon be part of its history. From his early carefree days tramping the hills of Transylvania, to the book's poignant ending, Along the Enchanted Way transports us back to a magical country world most of us thought had vanished long ago.

30 review for Along The Enchanted Way: A Romanian Story

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    This book, as well as Patrick Leigh Fermor's Between the woods and the water, make me feel lucky to be ever-so-slightly initiated into the world of Romania. However, two things irritated me while reading: 1. Blacker uses foreshadowing frequently. To me, his lines at the end of chapters, something akin to "...and little did I know how this would play part later in my story..." came across as a sign of the author's lack of confidence in his own prose. I didn't need them. His writing is beautiful e This book, as well as Patrick Leigh Fermor's Between the woods and the water, make me feel lucky to be ever-so-slightly initiated into the world of Romania. However, two things irritated me while reading: 1. Blacker uses foreshadowing frequently. To me, his lines at the end of chapters, something akin to "...and little did I know how this would play part later in my story..." came across as a sign of the author's lack of confidence in his own prose. I didn't need them. His writing is beautiful enough to keep me reading. Leave the foreshadowing to Dan Brown. But as a book that is completely accessible and a pleasure to read aloud, the foreshadowing is a nice device for eager-eyed listeners and somewhat Hobitesc. Blacker also uses this device to emphasize how surprised he is at how often the ethnic Romanians (whatever that means) blame the gypsies for crimes that they themselves commit. I still don't like it. 2. Blacker constantly laments the end of the idyllic provincial life he came across in the 90s and early 2000s in Maramures and Transylvania. Perhaps my agitation with these passages speaks more of my own confusion on the subject rather than a fault in the writing or narrative. I agree completely with his premise that happiness does not lie in the new materialism of a global age and can rather be found more abundantly in producing your own vegetables to see you through the long winter. I guess it boils down to me feeling millennial white man's guilt, i.e. that my consumer decisions in Salt Lake City somehow contribute to the destruction of Saxon villages, and that I am unable to do anything about it. Blacker tells stories of gorgeous moments lazing in hay fields in the summer gloaming that make me want to move to Transylvania, own a home and live the simple beautiful life he describes. While traveling in Transylvania I have been mistaken as a Saxon. This story makes me believe that perhaps I could run away and become one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    What a lovely book. Stylistically, William Blacker is not a great writer, but he makes up for any lack in that department with his obvious love for rural Romania, the country that he adopted as his home almost by accident. His descriptions of rural life evoke a lifestyle which disappeared centuries ago in other parts of Europe. It's startling to think that peasants continued living this simple, self-sufficient life throughout the massive upheavals of the 20th century -- making their own tools, c What a lovely book. Stylistically, William Blacker is not a great writer, but he makes up for any lack in that department with his obvious love for rural Romania, the country that he adopted as his home almost by accident. His descriptions of rural life evoke a lifestyle which disappeared centuries ago in other parts of Europe. It's startling to think that peasants continued living this simple, self-sufficient life throughout the massive upheavals of the 20th century -- making their own tools, clothes, and furniture with simple hand tools, keeping pigs, travelling by horse and cart, using money only to buy the odd bit of salt or sugar. This community survived Nazism and Communism, but it looks as if capitalism will finish it off in a generation. This quote summed it up for me: In the evening we came down from the hill through the orchards with hoes and baskets on our shoulders. I was tired and in reflective mood. How long would it be, I wondered, before these strips were abandoned? How long would it be before most of the people of Breb were lured away to work abroad or in factories in the towns, and the village houses became the holiday homes of whey-faced city dwellers? Then some of those city-dwellers might pass by the fields where we had just been working and would say to each other, "Look! You see those raised strips? They are the remnants of the old medieval field system." His good fortune in meeting Mihai and Maria, effectively becoming the son they never had, is remarkable, and I was moved to tears at the end. His other encounters are with gypsies, whom he gets closer to than most other non-gypsies, looking beyond the stereotypes to find real human beings. Glancingly, the book does evoke some of the upheavals that resulted in these Romanian gypsies wandering throughout Europe, where they suffer as much prejudice as they do at home. (edit) Further thoughts: I read a review on Amazon that criticised Blacker for his simplistic dichotomy of "old ways good, new ways bad" and for not discussing the political situation in Romania. But I think that's a book for someone else to write. Here, William truly seems bewitched by the place and the people he meets (well, he does visit a white witch!) and the broader situation in the country completely passes him by in his remote valley: he is simply living life as he finds it. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Felicity

    Loved it! Loved it! An elegaic memoir of a vanishing country and people, including its much-maligned gypsy communities. Now I know why that poem remembered from childhood went something like " Now and then I wish I could Live with the gypsies in the wood' It did NOT leave me dry-eyed... Loved it! Loved it! An elegaic memoir of a vanishing country and people, including its much-maligned gypsy communities. Now I know why that poem remembered from childhood went something like " Now and then I wish I could Live with the gypsies in the wood' It did NOT leave me dry-eyed...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Stancomb

    An extraordinary achievement. The author has managed to turn the tale of his few years of living amongst the gypsies of Romania into an exposition of Romania and all that goes on in the countryside. Life there is observed with extreme acuteness for someone of his age (then), and the reader is whirled through the events/love affairs/family altercations as he lives with various Romanian and gypsy families and becomes highly involved in what goes on.He even marries one of them after an affair with An extraordinary achievement. The author has managed to turn the tale of his few years of living amongst the gypsies of Romania into an exposition of Romania and all that goes on in the countryside. Life there is observed with extreme acuteness for someone of his age (then), and the reader is whirled through the events/love affairs/family altercations as he lives with various Romanian and gypsy families and becomes highly involved in what goes on.He even marries one of them after an affair with her sister and has a child. Exquisitely written, one is held enthralled by his descriptions and becomes drawn into the local scandals, and in-fighting between neighbours, and the corruption the the country's authorities. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Niall Pelota

    Having had high hopes for this book, I was fairly disappointed by the end of it, mainly for the protaganists inserting himself into the story making himself seem like some kind of gypsy liberator. i found disturbing echoes of colonialism in his writing. Other than that, the book was an interesting insight into the lives of those in eastern europe and the roma, but so much more could have been said.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Flora

    Loved it. Unsurprising as am a fan of Patrick Lee Fermor. I enjoyed the first half the best - for otherworldly details of the charming (and hard working) life that the rural Romanian folk were living.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Belinda Carvalho

    This is a truly original book, falls within the travel (& self-discovery through a different culture) category. Came across this in Daunt Marylebone's very special bookstore last week, my eye was caught by the title, a line from a famous Patrick Kavanagh love poem, when I read it was about Romania and the gypsies there, I invested straight away! If you like books about central Europe in the 20th cent , this is a must I feel. William Blacker found himself in Romania shortly after the Berlin Wall f This is a truly original book, falls within the travel (& self-discovery through a different culture) category. Came across this in Daunt Marylebone's very special bookstore last week, my eye was caught by the title, a line from a famous Patrick Kavanagh love poem, when I read it was about Romania and the gypsies there, I invested straight away! If you like books about central Europe in the 20th cent , this is a must I feel. William Blacker found himself in Romania shortly after the Berlin Wall fell. Captivated by the countryside and the unusual mix of people and cultures that impacted this country, he decides to take a risk and move there. Thus begins a wonderful (true!) & moving account of his rural life with almost adoptive parents Mihai & Maria in Breb, where he experiences ancient and dying Maramures culture and his other life in Halma with his adoptive gypsy family, including his bitter sweet romance with the enigmatic Marishka. I was expecting more of the latter rather than the former and it his about half way through the book before his story of gypsy life takes off, nevertheless it is so worth the wait, when you do get there. I could not believe his accounts of life in Breb! I am so shocked that the country-side was so pre-industrial. It is like reading about agriculture in the 1600-1700's! That really surprises me and I do feel that I will have to ask a Romanian friend about this. Blacker is also so guilty of over-romanticizing what must be an incredibly tough peasant life. As the book goes on he is really sad that progress comes to the town but that's got to be a good thing for the locals who have no choice but to live there, unlike him who has a modern life in the UK to fall back. That grated on me a bit but he really is fascinated by their way of life and throws himself into it. The other story is of course how he becomes intertwined with Marishka and her family. It is amazing how you feel like you get an 'in' to their culture via his experience but I did feel on some level he wasn't 100 per cent accepted by them nor could he accept their ways and the ending ultimately confirms this. The ending itself wasn't fully elaborated on. I would have liked more information on his personal circumstances and what led him to do what. Having said this I thought the gypsies' difficult position in modern society was clearly and sensitively explained. I was very taken with the stories of the Romanian Saxons, I had heard of these people before but did not realise that they existed up until modern times. The fate of their ancient culture is really sad! Their story is the kind of thing that makes me obsessed with European literature and history. A major highlight of this book for me was the exposition of the traditions, superstitions and religious ceremonies in Romania. There were like something out of the darkest fairytales. My heart broke at the wedding funeral of the young men and when Marishka found the doomed artefacts from the witch. This is an enlightening read and was incredibly rewarding!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sportyrod

    Many of us dream of escaping the hectic life of city-living and spending our days somewhere where life is simple yet meaningful in a beautiful location faraway. This story is about someone who made that dream a reality... A British man falls in love with an old-fashioned rural community in the Maramures region of Romania whilst traveling and returns years later to experience life there for a decade. The hospitality is incredible and the countryside is picturesque. The traditions are intriguing. He Many of us dream of escaping the hectic life of city-living and spending our days somewhere where life is simple yet meaningful in a beautiful location faraway. This story is about someone who made that dream a reality... A British man falls in love with an old-fashioned rural community in the Maramures region of Romania whilst traveling and returns years later to experience life there for a decade. The hospitality is incredible and the countryside is picturesque. The traditions are intriguing. He stays with an old couple who take him in as a grown son, learning their ways and inculcating himself in their charming ways. He interacts with the gypsies in the area and forms some lasting relationships. The author comes across as a gentle, intelligent man who likes to focus on the positives despite life’s challenges. He is open and adaptable to new ideas and ways. He is an ambassador for travel to Romania. The prose is delectable. You just feel so happy reading about the descriptions given, even for parts that are just a mere observation of something inconsequential. Two of my favorite paragraphs are as follows: “Everywhere there were men and women in smocks busy buying, selling, bargaining, shrugging shoulders, licking their forefingers and slowly counting money note by note. On the ground were lines of wooden boxes in which piles of contented piglets, noses twitching as they dreamt of delicious meals to come, lay snuggled up to their little pink siblings.” “During those days one of the ducks went missing, and although we never found her, we did find her nest. In it were eight eggs and we persuaded a broody hen to take them on. Before long the eggs hatched and the hen became the proud mother to eight ducklings, and looked furiously at anyone who dared to come too close. All went well for a few days until, to the hen’s great alarm, all her ‘chicks’ jumped into the stream and started swimming and splashing about happily in the summer sunshine. The hen was thrown into confusion. For days she walked up and down the bank, clucking and fretting and calling to her chicks to see sense and return to dry land.” I will read this book again sometime. I can easily recommend this book to everyone. Particularly people who enjoy easy-reading travel memoirs and stories about faraway places.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jane G Meyer

    Having lived in a little, hidden-away village during modern times, where bees were still kept, where the alpine grasses were cut by hand, where the villagers made cheese, and harvested their own grapes to make wine, I was captivated by this story of a place that seemed to exist still further back in history. From the commentaries on daily life, bar brawls, and clashes between the cultures to Blacker's romances, it was an intriguing and charming path into an almost alien world. The music and the Having lived in a little, hidden-away village during modern times, where bees were still kept, where the alpine grasses were cut by hand, where the villagers made cheese, and harvested their own grapes to make wine, I was captivated by this story of a place that seemed to exist still further back in history. From the commentaries on daily life, bar brawls, and clashes between the cultures to Blacker's romances, it was an intriguing and charming path into an almost alien world. The music and the dancing struck me most, and dragging rugs into the pastures and meadows so you could snooze and play the day away without sitting on sticks and soil... I pray some of these traditions remain today in those far-off Romanian villages. It inspired me to continue on my own road of moving along life just one small moment at a time...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This memoir made me want to read a more objective/scholarly account of Romania in the years following the fall of communism - so points for this book for sparking that interest. I like memoirs with little historical asides that me think, yes I do want to learn more about the painted churches of Moldavia! The customs and relationships between the Romanians and the Gypsies were interesting too. When the author got into his own personal history with his gypsy love interests, it got tedious. I was a This memoir made me want to read a more objective/scholarly account of Romania in the years following the fall of communism - so points for this book for sparking that interest. I like memoirs with little historical asides that me think, yes I do want to learn more about the painted churches of Moldavia! The customs and relationships between the Romanians and the Gypsies were interesting too. When the author got into his own personal history with his gypsy love interests, it got tedious. I was also constantly eye-rolling his idealization of peasantry and the simple life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Surprisingly well written. Great companion for my trip to Transylvania. Finished it on the flight back

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maria Velkova

    This book needs a persistence to finish it. The story is slow and somewhat repetitive. It is almost as if there is no story. But the book is beautifully written, the story slowly unfolds and one almost wants to move to this life of the past still possible in Romania. I am fascinated by the gypsies, enchanted?, and I appreciate a lot every book, which reveals to me more of their way of life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lotte

    Memoirs/travelogue of a British gentleman who stayed in Romania longer than he thought he would. A good introduction to some bits of Romanian history, especially of the Maramures and the Saxon voltages of Transylvania. I liked this a lot in the beginning due to its exotism and my interest in Romania. After a while, I started to lose interest. The author's lamenting of the loss of traditional life exasperated me. How can one get an education if they have to work in the field all the time? What ab Memoirs/travelogue of a British gentleman who stayed in Romania longer than he thought he would. A good introduction to some bits of Romanian history, especially of the Maramures and the Saxon voltages of Transylvania. I liked this a lot in the beginning due to its exotism and my interest in Romania. After a while, I started to lose interest. The author's lamenting of the loss of traditional life exasperated me. How can one get an education if they have to work in the field all the time? What about the women? Furthermore, he sometimes seems apologetic towards his own lesser actions and likes to portray himself as some kind of saviour (which maybe he was, but it was a bit uneven).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate Forsyth

    My cousin recommended this book to me. After reading it, she told me, she and a friend felt utterly compelled to visit Romania before it changed too much. I can totally understand this. I long to go too now I’ve finished this book. The author, William Blacker, was in Germany at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Curious to see what lay beyond, he set out exploring and found himself discovering a long-lost world in which the peasants wore linen smocks and leather-wrapped shoes with u My cousin recommended this book to me. After reading it, she told me, she and a friend felt utterly compelled to visit Romania before it changed too much. I can totally understand this. I long to go too now I’ve finished this book. The author, William Blacker, was in Germany at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Curious to see what lay beyond, he set out exploring and found himself discovering a long-lost world in which the peasants wore linen smocks and leather-wrapped shoes with upturned toes, and mowed their meadows with hand-made scythes. Fascinated by their cheerfulness and simplicity, Blacker ended up staying for almost a decade. Along the way he fell in love with a Gypsy girl and found himself drawn into their wild and chaotic lives, and at odds with his old-fashioned Romanian hosts. An utterly charming and poignant book that captures a way of life that is already vanishing, as Romania opens up to the west and its rampant materialism and advanced technologies.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirk Astroth

    A fascinating book about an Englishman who falls in love with Romania in the 1990's and then also falls in love with two Gypsy girls he meets. This time in Romania is still much like the Middle Ages although it is after the fall of the Soviet Union but seems like a bygone century. People in the rural areas live a peasant lifestyle with traditional clothing and traditional ways. An intriguing description of life in Breb and Hamal where he learns to scythe grass, chop wood and live like the locals A fascinating book about an Englishman who falls in love with Romania in the 1990's and then also falls in love with two Gypsy girls he meets. This time in Romania is still much like the Middle Ages although it is after the fall of the Soviet Union but seems like a bygone century. People in the rural areas live a peasant lifestyle with traditional clothing and traditional ways. An intriguing description of life in Breb and Hamal where he learns to scythe grass, chop wood and live like the locals. Eventually, he shacks up with the older Gypsy sister and fathers a son by her. The life in rural Romania, though, is changing fast and he laments the commercialism and trash that results. A great book that I would not have found except for my trip to Norway this summer where I came across the book in an Oslo bookstore.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike Ormsby

    This is one of the best books written about Romania. An adventurous young Englishman settles among rural peasants, falls in love with a Gypsy girl and almost comes unstuck. However, his fortitude, modesty, and good humour win the day and will warm your heart. A true-life tale to make you laugh, weep, and wonder. William’s eye for detail and understated lyricism combine in a modern classic. Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Smilla Snow

    Bought this book after a trip to Maramures and Transylvania. It will sound like a cliche but William Blacker wrote it with so much love that, his words come like fresh breath, so vivid, so lively and I found myself falling for Romania once more reading the book. I loved this book, felt with it and it became very dear to me while reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ionut D

    great story tale that makes me change my mind about western world moving in and discrimination. It is a interesting way to see your surroundings through the eyes of a traveller.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Oakes

    The author is slightly mad. I heard him give a talk about his time in Romania and there's a whole lot of stuff that doesn't appear in the book. Makes for an entertaining read though. The author is slightly mad. I heard him give a talk about his time in Romania and there's a whole lot of stuff that doesn't appear in the book. Makes for an entertaining read though.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tiberiu Pana

    An interesting book depicting the author's, journalist by profession, adventure in post-communism Romania. He mainly visited 2 villages in Northern Romania, 1 more isolated than the other. The isolation was an important factor, as the most isolated village kept traditions of hundreds of years old (mixed with religion), while the other village, which was more in touch with city life, was corrupted by communist ideas. I am a Romanian and have a hobby for history and still I could learn quite a few An interesting book depicting the author's, journalist by profession, adventure in post-communism Romania. He mainly visited 2 villages in Northern Romania, 1 more isolated than the other. The isolation was an important factor, as the most isolated village kept traditions of hundreds of years old (mixed with religion), while the other village, which was more in touch with city life, was corrupted by communist ideas. I am a Romanian and have a hobby for history and still I could learn quite a few facts about life, traditions and history from the interviews the author did with the old people in the secluded village. On the other hand, I learned little from William's adventure in the second village, where action revolved around his romance with a gypsy woman. I won't give any spoilers of what happened, but I was sad and angry at some of the actions the Romanian villagers took at that time. Ironic, the book ends with the author, a westerner, talking about the effects of western civilisation creeping into the isolated villages of Romania.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom Thornton

    It deserves 2 stars for being well written and easy to read, but it all depends on what you want from this book. If you like the Enid Blyton style of idyllic happiness and utopian living then you might enjoy the gentle rambling, often about nothing in particular. If however you see past that sort of bravado then this book may irritate you. Personally I got to the end and was left wondering what the 'point' of it is. This fell apart for me when I started discussing it with a Romanian friend of mi It deserves 2 stars for being well written and easy to read, but it all depends on what you want from this book. If you like the Enid Blyton style of idyllic happiness and utopian living then you might enjoy the gentle rambling, often about nothing in particular. If however you see past that sort of bravado then this book may irritate you. Personally I got to the end and was left wondering what the 'point' of it is. This fell apart for me when I started discussing it with a Romanian friend of mine who dismissed some of the most interesting insights as 'inaccurate'. Even so, the dialogue (when applied) is written as if to resemble fiction which affects authenticity for me and makes me suspicious of 'truth stretching' based on real events. I found myself never really rooting for the narrator who slowly turns from a naïve amateur to a smug expert whilst rambling to bump-up the word count. Chapter 15 in particular was when the narrator began losing my support (no spoilers).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Raul

    Great book. I was myself traveling through those Saxon villages in Transylvania some years ago and, though for sure it is not a hat it was in the 1990’s you still got a glimpse of a long-gone era. It is a fascinating area and a ethnically mix that succeeded to live together through centuries: Romanians, Saxons, Gypsies and Jews (until WW2)... 2 wars, a communist regime... part of Austro-Hungarian empire, then a piece of a country nobody knew (Romania)... Romania is also a place full of magic and Great book. I was myself traveling through those Saxon villages in Transylvania some years ago and, though for sure it is not a hat it was in the 1990’s you still got a glimpse of a long-gone era. It is a fascinating area and a ethnically mix that succeeded to live together through centuries: Romanians, Saxons, Gypsies and Jews (until WW2)... 2 wars, a communist regime... part of Austro-Hungarian empire, then a piece of a country nobody knew (Romania)... Romania is also a place full of magic and believes that until recently were part of the everyday life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wijnand Marchal

    A wonderful book about rural life in Romania. Coincidentally taking place in villages I visited this year, in the Maramures and in Saxonland. The traditions slowly fade as modernization and emigration continue to impact the village way of life. The book is autobiographical, mixed with travels, culture and history. A must read for anyone interested in contemporary Romania. I will never get to know the country as good as William Blacker, but his story and wisdom helped me understand it a little be A wonderful book about rural life in Romania. Coincidentally taking place in villages I visited this year, in the Maramures and in Saxonland. The traditions slowly fade as modernization and emigration continue to impact the village way of life. The book is autobiographical, mixed with travels, culture and history. A must read for anyone interested in contemporary Romania. I will never get to know the country as good as William Blacker, but his story and wisdom helped me understand it a little better.

  24. 4 out of 5

    louise peel

    Being an Ethnology graduate I absolutely loved this book and was living vicariously through the authors life story during the years he walked the roads of Romania. I wanted to step through the pages and see these amazing vistas with my own eyes, taste the strange foods (minus the Pigs nose) and meet the incredibly raw and caring families he became a part of. The way the author introduces us to the Romanian customs, superstitions and hearts is just magical. I couldn't love this book more. Next hol Being an Ethnology graduate I absolutely loved this book and was living vicariously through the authors life story during the years he walked the roads of Romania. I wanted to step through the pages and see these amazing vistas with my own eyes, taste the strange foods (minus the Pigs nose) and meet the incredibly raw and caring families he became a part of. The way the author introduces us to the Romanian customs, superstitions and hearts is just magical. I couldn't love this book more. Next holiday location? Romania of course!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I am from Romania, born in Bucharest but spent every summer and winter holiday in the country side, not far from Bran castle. The book made me remember a lot of things from my childhood. A lot has changed since...positive on one hand maybe negative in other ways. This book is an interesting glimpse into how the Romanian peasant life used to be and still is at least in part in several villages of the country. The Romanian mountains and most for the rural areas are magical so hope everyone reading I am from Romania, born in Bucharest but spent every summer and winter holiday in the country side, not far from Bran castle. The book made me remember a lot of things from my childhood. A lot has changed since...positive on one hand maybe negative in other ways. This book is an interesting glimpse into how the Romanian peasant life used to be and still is at least in part in several villages of the country. The Romanian mountains and most for the rural areas are magical so hope everyone reading the book gets to explore them (check untamed romania on Netfli 😁)

  26. 5 out of 5

    D.J. Swales

    A beautiful read that conjured dark fairytale forests, halcyon summer evenings, murmuring insects, gypsy wanderers and the polyglot peoples of Balkans, after the Ottomans’ retreat. Left me slightly melancholic for the departed industrious Saxons and their proud architecture. And the environmental destruction now waged in Romania’s forests- one of Europe’s last precious Edens. Can’t wait to visit Transylvania.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Antrobus

    A very personal and detailed portrait of Romania during a time if great change and the lives of the rural Romanians, Saxons and Gypsies achieved by the author spending ten years living as part of these close knit communities. My only reservation is that he had the money, passport and freedom to do what he wanted and when you have that it can be tempting to idealise the peasant way of life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    It's worth reading if you are a bit familiar with Romania. It was a slow start for me but once I started visiting areas outside of Bucharest including the UNESCO fortified churches and their surrounding villages it picked up. I valued the historical context he gave to what I was seeing. It's worth reading if you are a bit familiar with Romania. It was a slow start for me but once I started visiting areas outside of Bucharest including the UNESCO fortified churches and their surrounding villages it picked up. I valued the historical context he gave to what I was seeing.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Beautifully recounted; I really felt like I was on the journey too. Shed tears reading the end, which was a real mark of how captivating this story was. Would recommend to everyone, even if you've never been interested in Romania! Beautifully recounted; I really felt like I was on the journey too. Shed tears reading the end, which was a real mark of how captivating this story was. Would recommend to everyone, even if you've never been interested in Romania!

  30. 4 out of 5

    MR

    Excellent!!!!! I really enjoyed this book!!! This brought up for me the wonderful human spirit and connection!!! Read and enjoy!!!! I felt I was there the author is excellent!!!

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