Where to even begin… because so many feelings readers. So.many.feelings.
Whether it was of deep anger (although there are much stronger words that could be used) at what the Nazi Regime was capable of (and did) and the people and families who turned on their own, to the heartache of the valiant men and women who fought and died to rescue innocent people, to the stirring love of a heart redeemed, to the gut-wrenching truth of the holocaust, to crying (quite possibly on a plane and while writing this review)…
ALL THE FEELINGS PEOPLE.
ALL OF THEM.
Yet, to say this read is worth it, would be quite the understatement.
A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
We can start with the fact that I was completely shocked to learn there were orchestras in Auschwitz – where people were forced to play while new people arrived at the camp (when they were being divided into groups of those who would work and those who would immediately go to the gas chambers). The depths of utter despair those people must have felt (beyond everything else). It was said these musicians had the highest suicide rate – knowing they were playing such beautiful music in such haunting circumstances. Even writing that last sentence makes my stomach sicken. But that’s the history that was written and this book, while not hiding away from the truth of the situation, weaves together an incredible story.
I loved everything about this book.
I thought switching between Adele’s story and Sera’s worked really well as Cambron was able to weave them together. I was drawn more to Adele’s story, but enjoyed Sera’s and look forward to reading more of her story in upcoming books.
The real beauty of this novel is the hope that stirs within each page. In such a dark time in history, you wouldn’t think it possible, but the people in this book remind us that there is always hope and the beauty in which people expressed that. Some of the most powerful stories of hope and humanity come from the darkest of ages (think of Oskar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom, among countless others). As one of my favorite characters once said “there’s some good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.”
If you’re anything like me, after you finish this book, you’ll also go to every source Cambron lists in the book to check out the art for yourself.
It’s powerful & heart-wrenching. But to know that those caught in the darkest of circumstances still choose to create and see beauty is not only amazing, but inspiring as well. I’m choosing to see the beauty.
Oh and the cover? Beautiful. Just like the book.
(Thank you to Litfuse for the copy in exchange for my honest review)
Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron‘s The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: “Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . .”
Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her three-book series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.
- A Kindle Fire
- The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!