Title: The Butterfly and the Violin
Author: Kristy Cambron
Series: Hidden Masterpiece #1
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: July 15, 2014
About the Book:
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 of 1942, 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: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
Kristy Cambron is very quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. The Butterfly and the Violin drew me in and held me captive until the very last page. I felt like I was not only reading a story, but that I’d become part of it. How anyone was able to find a hope to sustain them in the concentration camps during WWII amazes me. My heart breaks every time I read a story that shares what the reality was like for those stripped of their humanity and forced into the camps. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever read a story where a person was sent to the camps by their very own parent. That in itself is unfathomable to me.
As you can guess, this is not your average “beach read” or “light reading.” It was an amazingly well written piece, but the pages are infused with heartache. (I literally told my husband sitting next to me on the couch “this book is hurting my heart,” because I was about to start crying). Although Sera James had her own mess of drama in her search for the painting, often when the book switched to piece of the story, I found my heart relieved for a bit. I clung to the hope of a happy ending, but wasn’t sure what it could look like. (Nope, don’t worry I’m not spoiling).
Although intensely emotional, this book is sure to draw you in. I highly recommend it, though you may want your tissues close by. I’m looking forward to reading her next book in the series called A Sparrow in Terezin, which continues to follow Sera James’ story while adding another character from WWII to jump back into history with. I currently have the book by my side as my next read, so check back soon for a review for that one!
Age Appropriateness: As with other books that share history from WWII, there are scenes that can be unsettling to readers. Life was no easy road for those in the concentration camps. But the truth is that there wasn’t anything in this book that wouldn’t really be found in a textbook. The difference is that a story like this adds a life and emotion to the horrors you’d see them face. My personal recommendation would be for 13 and up.