Skip to Main Content

About The Book

An epic tale of star-crossed lovers separated by class, circumstance and tragedy from the bestselling author of The Girl They Left Behind. For fans of The Bronze Horseman and All the Light We Cannot See.

Hungary, 1943. As war encroaches on the country’s borders, willful young Eva arrives in the idyllic town of Sopron to spend her last summer as a single woman on her aristocratic family’s estate. Longing for freedom from her domineering father, she counts the days to her upcoming nuptials to a kind and dedicated Red Cross doctor whom she greatly admires.

But Eva’s life changes when she meets Aleandro, a charming and passionate Romani fiddler with a love for painting. With time and profound class differences against them, Eva and Aleandro still fall deeply in love – only to be separated by a brutal act of hatred.

As their lives diverge and they are each swept into the tides of war and its aftermath they try to forget what they once shared. But as the years pass, the haunting memory of their romance will reshape their destinies and drive them to decisions that will change their lives forever.

From the horrors of World War II to the tensions of the 1956 Hungarian uprising and beyond, When the War Was Here is a sweeping story about the toll of secrets, the blurred lines between desire and loyalty, sacrifice and obsession, and the endurance of the human spirit.

Praise for When the War Was Here
‘A lyrical and deeply moving story ... Book clubs will love this intimate tale of courage and sacrifice’ Anita Abriel, bestselling author of The Light After the War
‘Veletzos deftly weaves a tale of music, heartbreak, survival and, ultimately, enduring love’ Jillian Cantor, author of Half Life
A Tale of Two Cities meets The Nightingale in this luminous wartime love story’ Laurie Lico Albanese, author of Stolen Beauty

About The Author

Eric Lindstrom

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania, and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she has worked as an editor, content writer, and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies. Her debut novel, published in multiple languages, is an international bestseller. Roxanne lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (July 28, 2021)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761101816

Raves and Reviews

‘Like the gypsy music that is at the center of this wonderful novel, When The War Was Here is a lyrical and deeply moving story of star-crossed love during World War II, Hungary. Eva is a complex heroine and her ultimate fate is bittersweet and rewarding at the same time. Book clubs will love this intimate tale of courage and sacrifice.’

– Anita Abriel, bestselling author of The Light After the War

‘A gorgeously written, impeccably researched historical novel, spanning decades and continents, and filled with a richly drawn cast of characters. Roxanne Veletzos deftly weaves a tale of music, heartbreak, survival and, ultimately, enduring love. I devoured this beautiful, moving book.’

– Jillian Cantor, author of Half Life

A Tale of Two Cities meets The Nightingale in this luminous wartime love story that sweeps readers from an impoverished Romani camp in Hungary at the brink of World War Two to the Siege of Budapest and on to the New York art scene during the Cold War. Tenderly drawn and lyrically told, Roxanne Veletzos’s unforgettable characters show us the political is always personal, art is both transcendent and fragile, and courage is the ultimate weapon against injustice. Transportive and moving, When the War Was Here is haunted by the violin music of the Romani people and a love that endures through war and devastation.’

– Laurie Lico Albanese, author of Stolen Beauty

When The War Was Here is a breathtaking romance that unfolds in a richly drawn landscape of war and loss – a gripping, unforgettable story of enduring love and the fragile yet indomitable hope that sustains the human heart through tragedy to redemption.’

– Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Resistance Women

'In her novel of forbidden romance, conflict, separation, and reunion, Roxanne Veletzos creates a world devastated by the brutality of war, yet inhabited by characters whose challenges are matched by their hope and an epic love that defies social boundaries, geography, and time.'

– Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

'A sweeping, heartbreaking love story about how the smallest of choices can change our fates. Set against the backdrop of war and revolution, When the War Was Here is an artfully written story told with deep compassion. Historical fiction fans will love this book!'

– Julia Kelly, internationally bestselling author of The Light Over London

‘A sweeping story of love and forgiveness. You won't want to put this book down.’

– Diana Giovinazzo, author of The Woman in Red

When The War Was Here is a gripping story of a passionate, illicit love affair torn apart by decades of brutal inhumanity and secrets. Through unimagined journeys of self-discovery and determination, the characters must find within themselves the courage not only to endure but to once again reach for the impossible. A heart wrenching, vivid novel of love, war, and loyalty written in Roxanne Veletzos’ trademark style of unapologetic honesty and lasting devotion.’

– Genevieve Graham, author of The Forgotten Home Child

‘In this heartbreaking, powerful story of unrequited love, Veletzos draws us into Eva and Aleandro’s enduring love affair that spans half a century, from WWII Hungary to 1950s New York and the Cold War, in which their personal upheavals and triumphs are artfully intertwined with those of history. Veletzos’ beautiful and well-crafted novel, in lush sensual prose, opens the deep chambers of the heart to show the choices and regrets, and the secret hopes, we all carry within us.’

– Alexis Landau, author of Those Who Are Saved

‘A fast-paced, illuminating, gorgeously written epic, this compulsively readable tale of loss and love during and after the Second World War is a masterpiece.’

– Kristin Harmel, author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars

'When the War Was Here takes readers on a profound journey, revealing how hope and brighter futures emerged from the turmoil and devastation of WWII. This powerful love story captures the trials and tribulations of this historical period beautifully.'

– Better Reading

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Roxanne Veletzos