Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.
Vienna, 1942. Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna’s vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family’s tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.
The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele’s barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshipping God with her gift?
As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait—Adele—they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God’s faithfulness never falters.
There are some books that really should come with a Kleenex warning. This is one of them. The Butterfly and the Violin is an emotionally charged story that will keep you reading until the very end. It starts when a copy of a painting arrives at Sera’s gallery. Why is Sera so focused on finding the original of this particular piece of artwork? Why is it important that the family of the deceased owner of the duplicate meet with her? Do they know more about the original? The action then flashes back to Vienna in 1942. Here, the reader meets Adele and is thrust into a human smuggling operation gone terribly wrong. I was hooked almost immediately.
The Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz was required to perform daily. They played during roll calls, when the prisoners left for their work detail and when they returned and, horrifically, when the SS officers selected which of the new arrivals would go straight to the gas chambers. The women knew where the victims were headed, but were required to focus only on their playing. Only the ability to play an instrument saved them from the same fate. Through The Butterfly and the Violin, Kristy Cambron gives the reader an idea of what these women’s lives were like. It would’ve been so easy to simply give up on life.
Adele’s story probably could’ve been a complete novel by itself, but it’s woven expertly with Sera’s quest. The modern day plotline provides a suitable ending that I hadn’t predicted. In hindsight, certain clues regarding Adele’s fate are scattered throughout the narrative but I didn’t pick up on them until after I’d finished reading. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so all I’ll say in conclusion is that this is definitely one of the must reads of 2014.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and the Book Look Bloggers program for my complimentary electronic copy of The Butterfly and the Violin which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Butterfly and the Violin? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 08 July 2014
Page Count: 336