Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: The Butterfly and the Violin

I would assume that a novel about Auschwitz would leave me torn...but you can't exactly knock a book for being "depressing" when you know it's going to be about the most infamous concentration camp in the Nazi regime. I love World War II era fiction, but I don' really like intense and depressing. Is there any way to have a middle ground there? While intense and somber, The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron hit that middle ground by telling two separate, yet interweaved stories from two different generations. There was some romance, both past and present, which gave hope during otherwise devastating circumstances.

Sera James is a present day art gallery owner in New York City who has been searching for a painting she once saw in Paris as a young girl. The painting is of an unknown woman, playing a violin with a shaved head. Obviously it is a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Sera stumbles upon some new information about the painting, but has to work with William Hanover-heir to the Hanover fortune-since William's late grandfather wrote a secret clause into his will that the owner of the aforementioned painting was to be the rightful owner of the vast Hanover Estate. They both have different motives for finding the painting, so can they trust each other and find the painting? And can Sera learn to open her heart again, after her former fiance left her at the altar two years before?

Adele von Bron is a talented violin player in Austria during the Third Reich. Her father is a high ranking Nazi official. She risks everything to help hide and transport Jews out of Austria with her friend/romantic interest Vladimir. One fateful evening she is caught, and sent to Auschwitz; a horrifying place of death, starvation, and crushed spirits. She is also recruited to play violin in the camp's orchestra, which plays as people are arriving at the camp, and at the whim of the SS officers. Adele is broken, but she finds hope in friendship, and in the eternal love of God.

I liked how the book told both stories at the same time. Sera's story would flashback to Adele's, and Adele would recall something that happened in 1939, even though it was 4 years later. I was concerned it would muddle the story, but the author did a good job weaving everything together. I also liked the main point of the story--regardless of our past, God can always create a new future for us.

I wasn't really satisfied with the wasn't as articulate as the rest of the novel. The other thing that puzzled me was Adele's Austrian boyfriend named Vladimir Nicolai. That just doesn't fit in as an Austrian name. But, that's a petty offense. Overall, I liked the book.

Bottom Line: 7*/10*

*I was provided a free copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion

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