By: Stephanie Burkhart
I've always been drawn to Europe's castles, it's towering cathedrals, and it's quaint little villages. When I was stationed in Germany in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I loved going on "volksmarches" throughout the countryside and seeing the heart of the nation.
Then the Berlin Wall fell and opened up a totally new and exhilarating world – the Eastern half of Europe. Having been guarded by an "iron curtain," this side of Europe was exposed to all after 40 years. In 1997, I was deployed to Kaspovar, Hungary and in Oct that year, I went on a USO tour to Budapest. Next to Berlin, Budapest is one of the most beautiful worlds I've ever seen, so it was fitting, when I was crafting a new paranormal series involving witches and werewolves, Budapest seemed like the most natural setting in the world for the series.
There are two sides to Budapest – Buda and Pest. The city is divided by the Danube River and there are three bridges and multiple islands in the river. The Buda side is to the west on a hill overlooking the river and houses the St. Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastian, and the Castle district, including the royal castle, Buda Castle. The Pest side is to the east of the river, relativity flat and houses the Parliament building, The University of Fine Arts, and the downtown shopping area. Budapest's main train terminal is in Pest. The Széchenyi Bridge is a suspension bridge first built in the 1840's to connect the two cities.
St. Matthias Church is one of the oldest churches in Budapest. It's over 700 years old and is next to Fisherman's Bastian. The Bastian is a series of seven towers overlooking the Danube, representing the seven Magyar tribes that settled the city. It was completed in 1902. Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle District famous for its Medieval, Baroque and 19th century houses, churches and public buildings.
The Parliament building was completed in 1896 and houses the Hungarian Parliament. The Hungarians have proven themselves to have quite a flair for their architecture. At night, when the lights shine over the city, it comes alive with old world ambience. A reader just might believe the city is full of magic, and with that magic, you just might believe in werewolves.
Book 1, The Hungarian, takes place between England and Hungary in 1901. On the cover is a picture of the Széchenyi Bridge which stands tall and proud, a true testament to Hungarian tenacity and their strong will.
Book 2, The Count's Lair, takes place during the Christmas season of 1901-1902. On the cover is a depiction of a castle, "Ravenwind," Anton's estate, lit up at night time, capturing that old world ambience.
Book 3, Danube in Candlelight, takes place in the summer of 1922. It is due to be released in NOV 2011, and while I don't have the cover, the book addresses the Hungarian peoples' strong will as it struggles to overcome the shadow of World War I.
The Hungarian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZwaF8hAdow
The Count's Lair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaiYNNpETok
Reviews for The Hungarian:
"I enjoyed this book immensely... Katherine doesn’t know exactly what she’s getting into when she falls in love with Matthias but she proves to be a strong heroine that I could really root for. Matthias is dark and troubled, to me an old-fashioned romance hero who needs the love of a strong woman to bring him back from the dark side...This is an excellent book and I think fans of both the paranormal and historical romances will really, really enjoy it."
Happily Ever After Reviews
Rating = 5 Cups of Tea and BUY NOW!
"This book is extremely entertaining. The plot is sensual and romantic. Katherine and Mathias play were together. This is the first book in a new series. I look forward to reading the next entry."
Reader's Favorites - Book Reviews
Rating = 5 Stars
Reviews for: The Count's Lair:
"Want a recipe for a great story? Take an awesome writer like Ms. Burkhart, stir in her intimate knowledge of Hungary, her innate ability to create wonderful characters, a book-full of suspense, mystery and passion and you get a book you can’t put down."
Fennel -- Long and Short Reviews
Rating = 5 Books.
Nominated for BOOK OF THE WEEK!
The Count’s Lair is filled with suspense, mystery, passion, and the paranormal. This story is set in the beautiful city of Budapest; the author brings her knowledge of the area to her plot. She describes the history and culture of Budapest... I was cheering for Anton. However, for me the best scene was the last one when Anton gives Amelia her choice. He held her with an open hand."
Reader's Favorite Book Reviews
Rating = 5 Stars
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