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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.