Reader Feedback from Felddorf

How it feels to share my fictional world
Reader Feedback From Felddorf

Reader Feedback from Felddorf

It’s ten days since publication of My Own Dear Brother and I’m starting to hear back from readers. OTHER people are now familiar with Felddorf – with Ursula and Schosi!

During the six years it took to write, I shared the book with few. I learned how a novel should be pieced together; I wrote and discarded so much. I read and read about Austria in WW2 and the postwar phase; I moved to Vienna, explored, asked questions, conducted interviews with elderly Austrians who remembered the war’s end. And all the while this imagined world was trying to get out onto the page.

Writing is weird. It’s a fervour – for me, anyway. And it’s dichotomous: solitary but a communicative outpouring; make-believe yet deadly serious; it leads to adventures but also allows me to retreat from the ‘real’ world – backing off while simultaneously pushing something forward.

My feelings about being published were mixed, as well, at times. I felt elation but also fear. My innermost would be suddenly outermost.

But I needn’t have worried. It’s been nothing but brilliant. I love the feeling that the book doesn’t really belong to me any more. It’s intensely pleasurable hearing Ursula’s name on other lips and readers saying they couldn’t stop turning the pages. Yes, I think when I hear this. That’s how I felt, too – about that village, those people. I never lost interest.

I’ve got an exhilarating sense of being understood, of being heard as I hoped to be.


I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions – leave a comment below. Where you’re up to (without giving the game away!), your favourite characters. And, if you’d like to support the book, I’d be grateful if you rate it on Amazon or Goodreads. It’ll make all the difference to My Own Dear Brother.

  • Anita O'Brien

    24th October 2016 at 12:23 am Reply

    Hello Holly, I just finished “My Own Dear Brother” which was wonderful. It had special meaning for me as my mother was born in a small village in Burgenland. I never realized that the Russians took over that area after the war and the atrocities they committed. My mother emigrated in 1929, thank goodness before WWII. I loved the strength of Ursula and her determination to do the right thing. I learned so much from reading your book. I am going to try and read other books dealing with this time period. I am the library director of a public library in New Jersey and will recommend your book to my patrons. Great job!

    • Holly Muller

      26th November 2016 at 1:44 pm Reply

      Dear Anita,

      Sorry I missed your comment till now! But thank you so much for being in touch. It’s really quite amazing for me to hear back from a reader with such a personal link to the novel’s story and content. The Russian occupation and their brutality against women was something I knew little about, myself. Which was why I wanted to write the novel and learn more. My family are Austrian and it seemed incredible to me that there was much I had never even heard about via my British history education. I especially wanted to tell the story of women and girls, whose war experience was so different to that of the men. I would recommend a book called A Woman In Berlin, an anonymous autobiographical account of the Red Army defeat of Berlin. It is gruelling but written with such wry and clear-sighed honesty. I was very moved by it. I’m delighted that you will be recommending my book to others; it was written with every ounce of my effort and passion, and it feels so bittersweet now to have it out in the world just as we see the far right rising again across the Western world. I had no idea this political shift was coming when I began the book back in 2009, although I had watched the increase in Islamophobia with deep anxiety since the early 2000s. I only hope the book’s message can do some small good and serve as a warning of sorts. All the best, Holly.

  • Laura J Kingsbury

    26th January 2017 at 4:34 pm Reply

    Hi Holly! Just finished your novel and could not put down! I love reading about this tragic era in our time & learned so much about the Russian intrusion post war. It never ceases to amaze me that this existed in our lifetime. I loved Ursula’s character and rooted for her throughout. Ahhhh, Schosi…

    Congratulations on your first novel!!! What a brillant writer you are! I will continue spreading the word on social media, friends and family to read! Cannot wait for your next best seller!

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