Two women, one in the present day and one in 1942, each hope for a brighter future. But they’ll both have to battle through their darkest days to reach it.
Today. With the grand opening of her new gallery and a fairytale wedding months away, Sera James appears to have a charmed life. But in an instant, the prospect of a devastating legal battle surrounding her fiancé threatens to tear her dreams apart. Sera and William rush to marry and are thrust into a world of doubt and fear as they defend charges that could separate them for life.
June 1942. After surviving the Blitz bombings that left many Londoners with shattered lives, Kája Makovsky prayed for the war to end so she could return home to Prague. But despite the horrors of war, the gifted journalist never expected to see a headline screaming the extermination of Jews in work camps. Half-Jewish with her family in danger, Kája has no choice but to risk everything to get her family out of Prague. But with the clutches of evil all around, her escape plan crumbles into deportation, and Kája finds herself in a new reality as the art teacher to the children of Terezin.
Bound by a story of hope and the survival of one little girl, both Sera and Kája will fight to protect all they hold dear.
Read on for my review of A Sparrow in Terezin and also for information about a great giveaway.
The second of the Hidden Masterpiece series continues the story of Sera James from book one, The Butterfly and the Violin. She’s about to get married, and has received a string of pearls from her friend, Sophie, in Paris. Readers of the first book will remember Sophie and, it is in A Sparrow in Terezin that we’ll learn more of her survival in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The novel then alternates between Sera and Kája, the woman who looked after Sophie in the camp.
Throughout the first half of the book, I found myself more interested in Sera’s story. There was immediate drama as her husband is arrested. Is William innocent or guilty? What secrets is he hiding? In contrast, while I understood Kája’s need to do something I couldn’t get behind her determination to return to Prague. I also got stuck on the simple problem of not being able to pronounce her name! In the end, however, Sera’s narrative became less of a mystery tale and more of a story about relationship problems. It paled in comparison to what happened to Kája, whose storyline built up to a dramatic climax on a train bound for death. If that sounds familiar it’s because Kate Breslin used a similar motif in her novel For Such a Time, which was also set at Theresienstadt.
Disappointingly, this follow up to The Butterfly and the Violin didn’t have the same emotional impact on me as that first book did. I’m not sure why. I know I found jarring a couple of uses of American terms in reference to something an English character was doing. However, this could’ve stood out to me because of my English background, and it might not be noticed by other readers. I also wish we could’ve learned more about a particular character Kája encountered in the camp. I don’t want to give much away, but what made him be so different to others in his position?
Overall, however, this is a good novel. It describes London during the Blitz and gives us a look of the lives of those who lived through it. Above all, however, it provides the reader with detail about the hardships endured in the camp and what the Nazis did to hide its true condition during a 1944 Red Cross visit. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Theresienstadt. The horror experienced by the prisoners there (and at other camps) must never be forgotten.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and Zondervan for my complimentary review copy of A Sparrow in Terezin, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read A Sparrow in Terezin? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of Harper Collins)
Publication Date: 07 April 2015
Page Count: 336