All That Lingers

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
604 Pages
Reviewed on 04/23/2020
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Author Biography

I was born in liberated Rome. Memories of my Viennese family and the fellow refugees and people displaced by war that I grew up with in New York lie at the core of this novel. I absorbed their stories of loss, of difficult decisions and survival against the odds, of rebuilding lives, even of triumph. I came to understand how much of the past lingers -- sorrow, anger, the loss of trust and even faith. Yet their resilience was proof that hope lingers as well for otherwise the struggle would not have been worthwhile.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Trudi LoPreto for Readers' Favorite

All That Lingers by Irene Wittig is a strong and powerful novel taking us on a tough journey from 1934 through the Holocaust, World War II, and ending in 1961. There are many characters that we meet along the way but the main story focuses on Emma, Leonie and Greta, lifelong friends. There is also Hannah, Hans, Magda, Marion and her husband Friedrich and their son Klaus, and Sophie. Each one plays an important role but Emma is really the main character. We travel along with Emma as she faces love, loss, heartache, and joy in Vienna, feeling the horror of what the Jews endured as they were forced to flee or be captured. The German anti-Nazi, wealthy folks had a choice to help or turn in the Jews and we share in the results of their actions. Emma spends many years in sadness, remembering the people she has lost. She also tries to help both Hannah and Sophie to right wrongs.

All That Lingers will certainly make you cry but it will also give you a reason to smile. It was impossible not to root for Emma and hope that she would eventually find love. There were others like Marion and Friederich that I hoped, in the end, would get what they deserved. All That Lingers is not a quick or easy read and requires a great deal of concentration because of the many characters and all that is going on at once, but it certainly is a worthwhile read. If you are a history buff, this is a must-read and if you just like a good family saga, then it is also a must-read. Irene Wittig has taken a time of war and brought it to life.


This story grabbed me at the beginning and not til the end reluctantly let me go.
A beautifully written story of war, friendship, loss, love, heartache, and hope. It takes place in Vienna spanning 30 years, 1934 through the Nazi occupation, World War II to 1961.
The characters come alive and tug at your heart.
The long arm of grief is sure to grab you at the throat.