Mixed Relations 2

Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life

Non-Fiction - Historical
227 Pages
Reviewed on 11/16/2020
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Author Biography

I am not Gertrude Mueller von Deham, I am her great-granddaughter. I was cleaning out a cupboard in my father's house and found a box with loose leaf writings and 2 case bound books. Upon reading them, I realized that my great-grandmother had written her life story. What a privilege it has been to meet this remarkable woman and to watch my grandmother grow up through her eyes. I hope you find the characters and settings as gripping and compelling as I did.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Mixed Relations 2: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life by Gertrude Mueller von Deham is a moving work of historical non-fiction. It centers on how the author, named Evelyn in the book, grapples with a challenging marriage to a spoiled husband named Eric. The arresting part of this story is the author's insight into her own character. She knows herself so well that she realizes that living under the thumb of a neurotic, abusive mother helped her cope in her marriage, which had close similarities. She overcomes some dark times to flourish in journalism and as her husband's messenger as she travels through Europe. She comes into her own in a way that is admirable and inspiring, mothering three children in Vienna, and playing an equal part along with her husband. This is a woman who has learned to rely on her wits. She is extremely resourceful and clever at getting the things she and her family need and is also a valuable resource to others. As her husband climbs the ladder of success, he makes some choices that are unacceptable.

This is a book you can get lost in and in the best kind of way. The author writes beautifully with meticulous details from the past, making it all come alive. The characters are so well-described that you feel like you're in the same space as them. I really like Evelyn's fortitude, her strength of character, how she turns negatives into positives, and the way she does what she has to for herself and those she loves. She has a personal code that she lives by, even if others don't know what it is or care to understand it. She makes choices based on her own creed. The author has created irresistible dialogue, and an interesting atmosphere of time, place, and people. It's easy to consume this book in one sitting, and it goes by too quickly. Fans of Phantom Thread and other historical dramas will love Mixed Relations 2: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life by Gertrude Mueller von Deham.

Edith Wairimu

Mixed Relations 2: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life by Gertrude Mueller von Deham covers Deham’s turbulent marital life and motherhood in a new country. Deham, whose name is changed to Evelyn in the book, is unsure of what her future holds when she leaves England for Austria, her husband’s home country. Despite her admirable business sense, Eric, Evelyn’s temperamental, authoritative, and often cruel husband, demands that she does not work. Instead, she is required to serve her husband and work with him on developing his career as a financial journalist. In Vienna, Evelyn struggles to adapt to cultural changes and new family relations. Financial struggles and Austria’s food insecurity during World War I threaten the family’s survival. Evelyn’s critical role in the family continues as her daughters grow older and other life-changing events occur in the family.

Detailed, engaging descriptions of the main characters are provided which made me feel as if I was living alongside them. As the family’s matriarch, it is Evelyn’s strength, flexibility, and wisdom that carry the family through many overwhelming times. Despite his chauvinistic nature, Eric recognizes his wife’s irreplaceable role. When the family faces overwhelming financial struggles during World War I, Evelyn endangers her own life to feed her daughters. Later, she is determined to educate them so they will become independent and not over-reliant on their future spouses, as was the custom of the day. Supporting characters are also adeptly developed. Often, descriptions in the novel contain a tinge of humor. The memoir also offers a close look into what life was like for European countries, especially Austria and England, before, during, and after the war. It also explores issues affecting women and their place in society during the early part of the twentieth century and helps one appreciate their resilience. Mixed Relations 2 inspires courage and sagacity in the face of change and tragedy.

K.C. Finn

Mixed Relations 2: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life is a work of historical recollection and family drama, and was penned by author Gertrude Mueller von Deham and published on her behalf by Jennifer Cowie. Continuing the tale from book one, An Unusual Childhood, we find ourselves back in the story of a young woman who grew up with hardship, and a deep desire to be independent in a time when women were not afforded such luxuries. In this second book, we follow our heroine through her marriage to an obstinate man, but one who allows her the freedom to travel as his messenger, and finally make some waves in the world of financial journalism.

Author Gertrude Mueller von Deham’s life story is a really amazing account of a modern woman before her time, having it all and getting the most out of life despite its many hardships. Once again, I found myself delving deep into this immersive world from her first-hand account, and the relationships were so poignantly and intelligently penned that I felt like I genuinely knew the people I was reading about. Fitting somewhere between non-fiction and narrative, the autobiographical storytelling style is still deeply immersive and emotive, perhaps most especially during wartime. Her commitment to her children, but also striking the balance between making an impact in the wider world, was highly motivational to read about. Overall, I would certainly recommend Mixed Relations 2 to fans following the series, and the series in general for anyone with an interest in a deeply engaging personal history.

Lesley Jones

In Mixed Relations 2 by Gertrude Mueller von Deham, it is now 1906 and Evelyn has finally escaped the clutches of her mentally unstable and cruel mother. Evelyn's hopes that Eric, her new husband, will finally bring her joy and happiness is short-lived when she discovers his true reasons for marrying her. Eric doesn't even try to hide his contempt for his new bride and his blind ambition for success and wealth comes before everything. Evelyn tries to make her marriage work, even convincing Eric to start a family. When Eric's wish for a son delivers him three daughters, his contempt for Evelyn grows. Evelyn is still determined to become a success in her own right and begins to travel from her new home in Austria to England to help further her husband's career. Now facing financial difficulties and an impending war, Evelyn's safety is at risk as she finds herself amongst the enemy. Her intelligence and quick thinking keep her alive and provide food for her family. As her daughters grow, she instills in them values and self-confidence, fearing they will repeat her own mistakes. Throughout all the heartache, Evelyn becomes the strength for her uncaring husband, his family, and a mother who never wanted her. But when Eric's actions threaten everything Evelyn holds dear, she may finally find the strength to demand the respect she deserves.

Mixed Relations 2 by Gertrude Mueller von Deham is another superb installment of Evelyn's life. Although we did get an insight into Eric's coldness, his true colors were revealed as they arrived in Vienna. Evelyn is such a beautiful soul; her kindness to others is unwavering and she forgives any cruelty towards her without question. As a reader, you recognize her amazing strength and abilities and hope she will finally put her own well-being first. I loved seeing her character develop as she faced some pretty dangerous situations on her travels across Europe, especially the scene on the train as the war was beginning. Evelyn also became quite formidable when her daughters were born and instilled in them great values and life skills. There were some humorous scenes as she tried to speak German but also quite heartbreaking situations toward the end of the novel. Eric's bitterness toward the world and everyone in it was continuous; he had an incredibly large chip on his shoulder. I did love Augusta's personality as she was one of the few people to confront Eric about his cruel behavior and sense of entitlement. I also loved the references to historical people and events of that era. The depiction of living through a war, rationing, and the Russian Revolution was so interesting and brought such realism to the story. The ending was a powerful reminder of Eric's arrogance. I cannot wait to see what Evelyn does next.

Rabia Tanveer

Mixed Relations 2: Navigating the Stormy Waters of Married Life by Gertrude Mueller von Deham is the story of the survival and struggles of a woman who decided to live life on her terms. Evelyn's relationship with her husband is not the best, but Evelyn is not a quitter. She is a woman who understands her circumstances and she is ready to fight for herself and her family's future. She is finally glad to not have to be careful about watching her every step. Being a financial journalist gives her a thrill, even if caring for her family runs her a little ragged; it is nothing to a woman like Evelyn. However, when goings get tough and she is left to make some hard decisions, Evelyn knows she is the only one she can rely on. With the war making people desperate, Evelyn does the impossible and keeps her family safe.

This is one of those stories that make you lose yourself in the pages and never want to come back to the real world. Author Gertrude Mueller von Deham writes a tremendous tale of courage, faith, and strength that is bound to make you love Evelyn with all your heart. Evelyn is the kind of character that we all can relate to. You can see glimpses of your mother, grandmother, and even yourself in her. She belongs to those one-in-a-million characters that are universal yet so unique. The author has a natural way with words, she keeps the balance between action and drama, and allows her characters to thrive. She brings emotions to the table, keeps them alive (especially in the chapters that detail wartime for the family), and allows the reader to feel each word in their heart. From start to finish, this is a brilliant and heartfelt story that will keep you hooked.