Reviewing: The Butterfly and the Violin
Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Series, Historical Fiction, Romance
Published: July 8, 2014
Format: Kindle edition, 335 pages
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 every thing 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.
(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)
In her debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, Kristy Cambron undertakes to write two plots simultaneously. Often I find a book with dual plots difficult to follow, but not Cambron’s.
Like a fine seamstress, Cambron has woven together the story of a young woman in WWII Austria and a young woman in present-day NY, their lives connected only by a painting.
Adele is an accomplished violinist in Austria. Despite her father’s rank in the Nazi regime, Adele also helps hide Jews in what all hope are safe places. Eventually, Adele is captured and sent to Auschwitz. Imagine her surprise when she arrives and learns from Omara, a dorm mother type, Adele will be protected by playing with the camp orchestra and living with Omara and other female musicians.
On the other hand, the reader follows Sera’s story of trying to find out all she can about an intriguing portrait she saw as a child. It is of a beautiful young woman with her violin. Not knowing who the woman is or where it was painted or by whom makes Sera’s search a difficult one. Other characters either help or hinder her search along the way.
Also intricately woven throughout the book is an underlying story of faith in God, specifically His omnipresent spirit seen in Adele’s life in Auschwitz as well as Sera’s in modern-day New York. This aspect of theme is not heavy-handed nor oppressive, and I do not think it should bother the reader who doesn’t always enjoy Christian fiction.
My favorite part of the book is Adele’s story during WWII. I confess I am a fan of historical fiction and especially WWII. It isn’t an enjoyment I derive from reading the horrific treatment of the Jews or how the Nazis overran all of Europe. I find it is more the determination of those fighting against these inhumane acts and their courage and bravery that I find intriguing.
Above all, this is part of a series appropriately named The Hidden Masterpiece Series. I use the word “appropriately” as I feel Kristy Cambron’s debut novel is a masterpiece in and of itself. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.
The Butterfly and the Violin is masterfully written and developed, even though the modern-day plot seemed to drag a few times. Cambron’s treatment of her historical fiction is realistic and each detail timely to the period. She is obviously an expert researcher. I recommend this book to anyone enjoying adult literature/fiction, historical fiction, romance, and Christian fiction.