Follow the lives and perils of generation after generation of three families from Bohemia and their descendants, from 1750 Bohemia, Austria, to their lives in the United States after crossing the ocean and immigrating to the United States in ‘The Ashes of Bohemia’.
In the second book in the series, one descendant’s family struggles to make a life for themselves in the United States’ upper Midwest in the simpler times of the 1940′s, 1950′s and coming of age 1960′s in ‘Lexington Glory Days’.
In the third book, The Dance Hall ‘The End of A Hundred Year Waltz, continue to follow the lives of the three family’s descendants in present day America in the 1970’s and 1980’s. How different, from one another, the three families lives have become.
Rose and Augustine Cipera, and Josephine and Benjamin Dedic are forced to enslave themselves to the Lord of the Manor in 1750 Bohemia. After years of struggling on their Masters’ small plot of nutrient poor land to survive, the two families along with thousands of other towns people rebel against the authoritative Lord of the Manor and their Queen, Maria Theresa, in the town square of Ceske Budajovice. It soon becomes apparent an all-out revolt is about to transpire as the towns people fight for basic necessities to survive.
In the middle of it all are two of Rose and Augustine, and Josephine and Benjamins children, who soon get married.
Pavel and Karolina and their neighbors are horrified as army men come and kidnap their young son, Joshua. Declaring them unfit parents, they bring Joshua to work in the woolen factories and spinning mills. Emotionally crushed, Pavel and Karolina are forced to accept the absence of their young son. Just a child, Joshua struggles to live in a strange place.
Queen Maria Theresa decides to send twenty-thousand reinforcements to regain control of the town square, and the townspeople, in Ceske Budajovice. Reigning from Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, the fair minded Queen Maria Theresa has other problems dealing with Catherine the Great of Russia, Fredrick the Great of Prussia, and her daughter Marie Antoinette, Queen of France. “And I am not in good health!” She tells her cabinet.
The Queen’s daughter and the King of France soon watch as their subjects become more and more powerful and rise up against them as well. Seeking better living conditions, basic necessities and more voice in political matters. Many years later, they become even more and more powerful, creating fear and wars among the reigning Royalties of all the countries in Europe. Bohemia gets invaded again and again.
Pavel and Joseph discuss in deep thoughts, the problems each men face with being forced in and out of servitude, their own families and their children’s survival.
Amazingly, Joshua returns to Ceske Budajovice as a member of the Queens notorious army. Karolina spots him through the mayhem and is stricken with emotion and collapses to the ground.
All of the members of European Royalty are at their wits end, trying to stop the incredibly powerful French people from invading and claiming all of their own lands and holdings and decide to hold a mutli-nation congress, called the Congress of Vienna, to come up with a plan to stop all of the wars. With dignitaries and Royalty from every sitting Monarchy and Union in Europe the delegations arrive by lavish carriages and debate ways to try to end the fighting and bloodshed. They redesign boundaries, dividing nations in the process.
With uncertainty and mayhem everywhere Frantisek and Anna, and Pavel and Karoline and their neighbors hear about a foreign land, called America, that is giving away free farmland to anyone who is willing to farm it. They discuss the painful decision to leave their beloved Bohemia for the unknown and uncertainty of journeying to a new land. But the group finally decides they will be better off to leave, walking for days on end to meet the train that will take them to the ship that will cross the ocean and take them there. Storms ravage the ship and its passengers on the voyage, but the three families, and other passengers make it safely to New York harbor. With the long ocean voyage behind them, trying to find a place to settle becomes an even more daunting task, but the adventurers eventually find a place to build a shelter and finally call home.
The New Prague Times
Local author Steve Reak of New Prague with a copy of his first book, “Lexington Glory Days.” The story is based in Lexington, where he grew up.
Nearly one year ago Steve Reak’s first book “Lexington Glory Days” came out. The New Prague resident’s book is a work of fiction, although it is based on a true story from the rural town of Lexington where he grew up.
“It was not my intention to write a book,” said Reak.
In between jobs at the time with a lot of time and not a lot of money, Reak just started writing as an exercise.
“That slowly turned into ‘Lexington Glory Days.’ Once I got the idea I just built on it,” said Reak. “Right about the middle of the book I started to get into it.”
He noted the story is roughly based on his parents from the 1940’s to the ‘60s. “A lot of the major story line is true, but the details are fiction,” he added.
The book follows the couple, Edward and Betty, their family and friends as they deal with life in Lexington. The small town nestled along a lake has a quaint church, two bars and a lively dance hall. Edward and Betty’s life journey includes Edward dealing with receiving his draft notice for World War II to he and Betty moving in with his parents after their house burns to the young couple buying a farm.
For Reak, who graduated from Le Center, the process went in stages, he would write and then edit. He self- published the book, which came out in June 2014. He noted feedback for it has been good. People have told him the book’s story lines have kept them involved.
It wasn’t just “Lexington Glory Day’s” that grew out of that period. “I wrote three books over four years,” said Reak. One is a prequel, “The Ashes of Bohemia,” that is scheduled to come out this month.
Reak has lived in the area for most of his life. He lived in Montgomery for 12 years and now resides in New Prague. He has a seasonal job with the St. Paul school district.
“Lexington Glory Days” can be found in businesses in New Prague, Lexington, Montgomery, Le Center and Le Sueur. It can also be purchased at Amazon.com and at Reak’s website, StevenReak.com. He will have a book signing at Patty’s Place in New Prague from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.