The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

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It’s appropriate that this book is the first of the Hidden Masterpiece Series because this book is just that. Superbly written, it’s an emotionally moving story that transports the reader to the horrible time and place of World War II and the Auschwitz camps. This story touched me deeply, as my own grandparents lived in Europe during this time period.

In the present day, art gallery owner Sera James has been searching for a particular painting, one of a girl with haunting blue eyes that was discovered at the Auschwitz camp. The trail leads her to William Hanover, who has his own reasons to track down the original painting. As they’re searching, we are transported back to WWII, where we meet Adele Von Bron, the subject in the painting. Adele is an Austrian violinist who, along with fellow orchestra member Vladimir Nicolai, helps to hide and sneak Jews out of Austria. One night, things go terribly wrong and she’s sent to Auschwitz. While there, Adele manages to become part of the orchestra performing for the Nazis, but still struggles just to survive.

The modern day story mostly takes place in New York at Sera’s Manhattan Art Gallery and California at the Hanover estate. Adele and Vladimir’s tale starts in Austria, then Adele is sent to the Auschwitz camp in Poland. The camp is described well, giving the story a very authentic feel.

While Sera and William are two of the main characters, Adele and Vladimir stole this book away from them. I found myself just hoping that Adele would survive the horrors of the camp and somehow be reunited with her Vladimir. I loved how the story jumped from the present to the past, giving the reader breaks from the heavier parts of the story. It was a very emotional journey, with many surprises along the way. The ending was not at all what I’d expected, but I thought it fit the story perfectly.

You really should read this book! Whether you’re a fan of contemporary or historical fiction, this was an interesting and moving story that you won’t forget easily. There was so much I never knew about the art and music that was in the camps. While it was heartbreaking to read about what people had to go through, the spirit that emerged in the art and music is inspiring. As one character said, “The artist can’t be killed. The men and women whose hearts have cried in this place- they couldn’t stay away. The artists came here in droves. At risk of death…. But their legacy lives on.” I’m glad the author decided to honor those men and women in this book. I look forward to reading more from Kristy Cambron.

Rating: 5/5 stars

 

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