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Monday, February 23, 2015

Budapest Romance by Rozsa Gaston (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Budapest Romance by Author Rozsa Gaston!

Author Guest Post

Budapest's Thermal Bath Spas:
The Backdrop For Budapest Romance

My inspiration for my sixth and latest novel Budapest Romance? Time spent in the thermal bath spas of Budapest, the exotically spiced city of my father's youth.

Some years ago I traveled to Budapest at the end of November to settle my late father's estate. I stayed at a thermal spa hotel where I discovered the delights of soaking in Budapest's thermal pools. The city is built upon over one hundred natural hot springs and is known as Europe's 'City of Baths.'

With ten days to while away while finalizing paperwork, I made the acquaintance of a fellow traveler taking the waters at my hotel. Ready for safe adventure but not encouraged by the cold, gray weather to walk around, we decided to visit thermal bath spas all over Budapest. Both inexpensive (averaging about $12 a day) and plentiful, most of them are open year-round.

Széchenyi Baths entrance, Budapest

I returned from Hungary to my corporate job in Manhattan, with the memory of time spent in Budapest's thermal pools soaked deep into my soul. I had never experienced such abandon to pleasure before: day after day of languorous lounging in warm, mineralized waters. My fellow bathers, mostly Budapesters with a handful of foreigners thrown in, showed me how to be fully present in the moment. It was a gift I've remembered forever, although I don't always apply it.

A few years later I was downsized from my job at a hedge fund. During the next six months, I wrote a memoir. It wasn't very good, but a necessary first step in my writing career. The one thing it taught me was how much I loved to write, how fully in the moment I was every second I spent in the act of creation. In order to hone my skills further, I took an online romance-writing course with Writer's Online Workshops.

I decided to write a romance based on two foreigners, a Dutch man and an American woman who discover each other in Budapest's thermal bath spas. Both are there to heal from injuries. My hero has a neck injury due to a motorcycle accident. My heroine is mourning the recent passing of her father.

More importantly, both are healing from psychological wounds. Jan's wife has left him. Neither she nor Jan can forgive him for having his son on the back of his motorcycle at the time of his accident, resulting in permanent injury to his son.

Kati's inner wound is in not having known her Hungarian father, who didn't raise her. She is in Budapest not just to settle his affairs but to fill in missing pieces of herself. She was brought up by her American mother's side of the family in New England, and knows next to nothing about Hungarian culture. But with her Hungarian face and name, she has always known there was something different about her.

Outdoor thermal pool, Budapest

The guilt-free enjoyment of pleasure Kati observes amongst Hungarians in Budapest speaks to her soul. Jan introduces her to the city's glories and helps her discover the half-Hungarian side of herself she never knew she possessed.

By the time Kati returns to New York, she's a changed woman. No longer a prisoner to the Puritan work ethic with which she grew up, she can't forget either Jan or the way she felt with him while soaking in Budapest's bubbling warm waters. Was it her father's spirit that inspired her trip and led her to Jan? Whatever it was, she feels pulled back to him and soon visits him in Holland. You'll have to read Budapest Romance to find out what happens next. All I'll tell you is that it's life-changing for both Kati and Jan. Their story is tender yet spiced, similar to Budapest's sweet yet spiced ambiance.

About The Author

Rozsa Gaston writes playful books on serious matters. Women getting what they want out of life is one of them. She studied European intellectual history at Yale, and then received her master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia. In between, she worked as a singer/pianist all over the world. She lives in Bronxville, NY with her family.

Her books include Budapest Romance, The Ava Series: Paris Adieu, Part I and Black is Not a Color, Part II, Running from LoveDog Sitters and Lyric. Her upcoming novel is Sense of Touch, a fictionalized story of Anne of Brittany and Queen of France.


Book Review

Budapest Romance by Rozsa Gaston
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: November 26, 2014
Format: Paperback - 266 pages
             Kindle - 3226 KB
ISBN: 978-1480140639
ASIN: B00QH01100
Genre: Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: Budapest Romance

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book.

Book Description:

When Kati Dunai travels to Budapest to settle her father’s estate, the last thing on her mind is the pursuit of pleasure. She’s a busy international conference planner, her life rooted in Manhattan.

But from the moment she sets foot in the city of her father’s youth, it’s pleasure that pursues her. At the thermal bath spa hotel where she’s staying, she meets a Dutchman who reminds her of Béla Dunai, her Hungarian refugee father, who fled his homeland shortly after its 1956 revolution.

Jan Klassen is in Budapest to mend from a motorcycle accident. His scars have healed on the outside, but inside, he cannot forgive himself for the consequences his son now lives with forever.

Jan has never met a woman like Kati before. Her blend of New England restraint with gypsy spirit captivates him. While Jan introduces Kati to Budapest’s leisurely pace of life, Kati introduces Jan to her own leisurely pace of sensual exploration as their attraction to each other grows over six magical days.

When Kati returns to New York, their relationship continues. But it’s not just an ocean that separates them. Kati’s corporate job with frequent travel is the antithesis of the slow-paced pleasures she enjoyed in her father’s favorite city, one of Europe’s crown jewels.

Which will Kati put first—her new career or her new love; a man who reminds her of the father she never fully understood? And is it the Hungarian pleasure-loving side of herself that she really needs to understand before she can offer her heart to the man who has awakened her to who she truly is?

Book Excerpt:

Taking a long swig of beer, Jan eyeballed Krisztof. Why was it this rich-looking guy looked as if he’d lost something? Jan made a note to ask Kati later about her friend’s status. Had his wife left him? He looked like she had. Jan realized this was exactly his own situation, but he wasn’t feeling nearly as bad about it as the man sitting next to him appeared to be. If that was indeed his story.

“Have you known Kati for a long time?” Jan asked Krisztof.

“About two years. We met at an alumni event in New York.”

Jan had no idea what an alumni event was. But his senses told him they hadn’t been a couple.

“What about you? Have you known Kati Dunai long?” Krisztof asked, his tone formal.

“No, but I’d like to.” Jan gave him a meaningful stare.

“Sorry I’m getting in your way tonight. She’s really helping me out,” Krisztof replied, without giving any clue as to exactly how she was doing that.

“Great. I hope she doesn’t help you out too much. Understand me, friend?”

Krisztof stared at Jan, his lips a thin line that finally curved upward at both ends into the smallest hint of a smile. Finally, he spoke.


They both turned back to their beers.

My Book Review:

In Budapest Romance, author Rozsa Gaston transports the reader to the timeless elegance of Budapest, Hungary, where they follow the unexpected chance meeting and romance of two people from very different worlds.

Kati Dunai is an international conference planner from New York City, who is in Budapest to settle her late father's estate.

Jan Klassen is a social worker from Beekbergen, Holland, who is in Budapest under doctor's orders to utilize the benefits from the city's sulfur thermal baths to help heal the minor neck and back pain that he sustained in a motorcycle accident.

With only a week left in Budapest, a first glance between Kati and Jan in the hotel thermal bath leads to an adventure of a lifetime as they discover the beauty and mystique of Budapest, and the enjoyable pleasure of each other's company. At the end of the week, Kati and Jan decide to continue their relationship and embark on a trans-atlantic romantic journey that will change their lives forever.

Budapest Romance is a wonderful story about two people who take the chance at finding true love even though they are from very different worlds. Through a slow and steady pace, Kati and Jan embark on a journey that will teach them to open their hearts to one another, slow down and smell the roses, discover what matters most to them, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

Through the richly descriptive setting of Budapest, the reader can't help but become enchanted with the timeless elegance of the city and its majestic thermal baths, mystical landmarks, and the jovial atmosphere of the Hungarian people. As the reader follows Kati and Jan's week long adventures in discovering the essence of Budapest, you can't help but become engrossed in their journey, and then cheer them on when their trans-atlantic romantic relationship strengthens and grows into true love.

Budapest Romance is a delightful and timeless romance story that will resonate with you for a very long time.


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 2
Interview at Blogcritics

Tuesday, February 3
Guest Blogging at Mythical Books

Wednesday, February 4
Interview at The Writer’s Life
Book Featured at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Thursday, February 5
Guest Blogging at What Is That Book About
Book Featured at Undercover Book Reviews

Friday, February 6
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape
Book Featured at The Book Connection

Tuesday, February 10
Book Featured at StoreyBook Reviews

Wednesday, February 11
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Thursday, February 12
Book Featured at Literary Chanteuse
Book Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Friday, February 13
Book Featured at Carol’s Notebook

Monday, February 23
Book Review & Guest Post at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 24
Book Review at Sit Back and Get Cozy

Wednesday, February 25
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Cindy’s Love of Books

Thursday, February 26
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner Book
Featured at CBY Book Club Book
Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Friday, February 27
Book Review at Reecaspieces

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