A Sparrow in Terezin – Kristy Cambron

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Title: A Sparrow in Terezin
Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date of Publication: 07 April 2015
Number of Pages: 368

Rating: stars

Summary: Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor’s story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.

Present Day: With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairy tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels like she’s stumbled into a charmed life until a brutal legal battle against fiance William Hanover threatens to destroy their future before it even begins.

Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future with the man she loves.

1942: Kaja Makovsky narrowly escaped Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and was forced to leave behind her half-Jewish family. Now a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in England, Kaja discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, she has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.

Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kaja must cling to the faith that sustains them and fight to protect all they hold dear even if it means placing their own futures on the line

Review: Kristy Cambron is a story teller. You can’t help but love her stories.

I have a rule for reading books supplied via Netgalley and it’s simple. I sort the list by publication date and read the earliest result. For weeks I could see Sparrow moving up the list but never quite becoming the next read. I knew it was going to be worth the wait to hang out with Sera and William again but it didn’t ease the frustration. I knew though that because I was going on annual leave, I would be able to read it uninterrupted.

The first page of Sparrow was read the afternoon I reached Krakow, Poland and all the pieces fell into place. Terezin, or Theresienstadt in German, was another of the Nazi concentration camps and on 7 August I was going to pay my respects at Auschwitz. Suddenly, it all made sense – at least to me, why I would have waited until now to open this book.

Immediately I was lost in the world of Kaja and the Blitz. Immediately I was back with friends, Sera and William.

I can’t really think what to write as a constructive and useful review though. I got so much out of the book and seems too personal to share on the web that I hesitate to write the words.

Are there a few niggles with the overall book? Yes. Are they too numerous to ruin the overall impact? No way! Not even close.

When I reviewed The Butterfly and the Violin I mentioned that the book wouldn’t be for anyone with an aversion to a Christian message and I will re-state that here. BUT if you are looking for a book that speaks of the beauty I like to hope all souls have, then you need to pick Sparrow up, lock your door, ignore the world and read.

For me, A Sparrow in Terezin was a cleansing experience, it gave me hope and it left me with a cathartic period of ugly crying and after only a single day at Auschwitz, it was exactly what was needed.

I said on Instagram that if Kristy was happy to keep writing I was happy to keep reading and I stand by this. I can’t wait to read The Ringmaster’s Wife and The Illusionist’s Apprentice.

Thank you, Kristy. Thanks you, Thomas Nelson. Thanks you, Netgalley.

Read Between: 06-07 August 2016

 

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My Year In Books 2015

With no shame, I have used the infographic created by Goodreads for this post.

 

February Reads

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According to Goodreads, I am 4 books ahead of schedule for my reading goal. I almost feel I should up my goal but the over cautious part of me, when I look at the commitments I have in the next few months, is screaming don’t do it!!

The Butterfly and the Violin written by Kristy Cambron was beautiful – I highly recommend it.
Burial Ground written by Malcolm Shuman is also a great read for anyone who enjoys archaeological mysteries.
The Hundred-Year House written by Rebecca Makkai was, unfortunately, the disappointment of this month.
The Dark Meadow writing by Andrea Maria Schenkel is fantastic. I really like Schenkel’s voice (aided by an equally fantastic translator) and I can’t wait to read whatever comes next.
The Supernatural Enhancements written by Edgar Cantero is the book that leaves me conflicted this month. This position is evident in the review. Part of me really enjoyed Cantero’s work and part of me felt a little lost and disappointed. I will, however, read Cantero’s future work.

20 out of 25 stars

[Review] The Butterfly and the Violin written by Kristy Cambron

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Title: The Butterfly and the Violin
Author: Kristy Cambron
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date of Publication: 8 July 2014
Number of Pages: 329

Rating: 5 stars

Disclaimer: Copy provided free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary: 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. [Goodreads]

Review: God plants the talent and it grows, sustained by a spirit-given strength to endure, even in the midst of darkness (location 3202).

The Butterfly and the Violin is the first in a series under the Hidden Masterpieces banner. There are two things I always wonder about when starting a series. One; will it be like Red Rising, over hyped but not that good in the end or two; will it be so good I need the next book immediately but can’t find a copy. In this case, it is the latter. I am desperate to read the next one and get to know Sera and William better.

Reviewing this book, however, is extraordinarily difficult because all I can do is praise The Butterfly and the Violin and Kristy Cambron. The book is lovely, kind, engaging, warm, touching, honest. I could go on but I think you get the idea. The Butterfly and the Violin also re-introduces you to the work of Mendelssohn and I am also grateful for that.

The Butterfly and the Violin connected with my heart in a way few other books ever have. While I have, on this blog, raved about other great books, none of them have moved me in the way this novel did. No book, for a long time, has caused me to forget my surroundings and become teary on a packed London tube train. I feel as though I was directed or called to read this book right now and who am I to argue.

For some readers, this book will not be for them. If you don’t like Christian fiction with a side line of romance, this isn’t the book for you. However, I wouldn’t have thought, a decade or even twelve months ago, this would be the type of book I would read and like either. If you give this book a chance, I think it will surprise you and you will be pleased at the impression it leaves on your heart.

Thank you for an amazing novel, Kristy. I cannot wait to read A Sparrow in Terezin.

[Image Source]

January Reads

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January was, for me, a good month in reading terms. It isn’t often I can get through four standard sized novels and a compilation.

After Me Comes the Flood written by Sarah Perry – 5 stars
The Boathouse written by R.J. Harries – 1.5 stars
What the Apothecary Ordered: Questionable Cures Through the Ages compiled by Caroline Rance – 4 stars
Calling written by Joe Samuel Starnes – 5 stars
Incubus written by Ann Arensberg – 2 stars (barely)

I’m currently reading The Butterfly and the Violin, written by Kristy Cambron and I have to say, it is beautifully written and while I will be disappointed to finish it, I look forward to reflecting on the words and I look forward to anticipating part two.