Monday, August 25, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin (Hidden Masterpiece)

Title: The Butterfly and the Violin

Series: Hidden Masterpiece (Book #1)

Year: 2014

Author: Kristy Cambron

Summary: And then came war . . .

"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.
(from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Sera James
~ Adele Von Bron
~ William Hanover 

Review: Whew! Trying to arrange my thoughts about this book is like trying to catch bullets in an M&M bag. How that metaphor is supposed to make sense, I don't know, but that's kinda how I feel about this story.

Right off the bat, we're introduced to Sera James, an art gallery owner in Manhattan, and her quest to find a lost painting. Her assistant, Penny, picks up some information about an exact copy of the painting owned by a family in California, and so Sera gets an appointment, buys some tickets, and arrives in the sunny state prepared to strike a deal. However, there's a lot more going on with the Hanover family than is originally said, and although finding the painting is her top priority, she's not certain whether or not she can see the head of the Hanovers, a young man named William, to be friend or foe. Trusting men is something that does not come easily for Sera, and her rocky past is proof of that.

The book follows a few chapters at a time on Sera's story, and then drastically switches over to all things Austria, music, Nazi, and Holocaust. Adele Von Bron is Austria's Sweetheart, an accomplished violinist with a heart that's as big for music as it is for helping others. She is secretly in love with a fellow musician, the dashing cellist, yet she knows her parents would never approve the union. When a rescue mission to smuggle Jews out from under the eyes of Hitler goes wrong, Adele finds herself ripped from everything she loves and sent to a concentration camp where her only means of survival is her violin. Scared and bewildered, she joins an orchestra whose purpose is to play for the workers at the camp, workers who labor without mercy from day to day and then are sent to the gas chambers when they prove worthless. Adele hates her job, but what can she do? To make herself visible, to stand against what is expected, would mean swift and certain death.

The flare of history in this book was amazing. True, this is the Holocaust we're talking about, so don't expect some gentle this-and-that of what happened. The author gives us a realistic impression of what the Jews and enemies of the Nazis really endured while in the concentration camps. I was relieved that there were no gruesome spectacles, yet the descriptions were enough to portray the truth of the horror. WWII era history has always fascinated me, so to read something like this, something that revealed what really happened, was riveting. 

And the music! I wish I could have heard Adele play! Even when she was playing a concert for the people she hated, she still kept her love of the song high, to bring hope to those who had none. Yes, I'm a musician, so reading the music passages were probably my favorite.

Advisory: Obviously, violence. As I said before, nothing is overly graphic, but this book does contain some description of a horrible time in history. The Holocaust is not something to take lightly. 

 One of the things that put this book down in my opinion was the romance. Yeah... I'm starting to get to the point where historical fiction is ehh simply because the author wants to include a gushy love angle. The romance between Adele and Vladimir I thought sweet, for he was practically her hero, and he wanted to protect her above all else. They did exchange a kiss, but I don't recall much other mush between them. The romance the sprouted between Sera and William was another thing entirely. Sera was a moody heroine, content to relive the pain of the past at the cost of damaging the future. And as William was a California dude, you've got the whole gorgeous-eyes-and-flawless-complexion thing going on. Definitely not my cup of tea. They were without doubt more touchy-feely than Adele and Vladimir. 

For other thoughts... I do recall Adele had a flirtatious cousin, with whom she visited a Paris night club. And I think that might have been just about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here here to buy The Butterfly and the Violin on Amazon!

*Please note: I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.*


  1. This looks so interesting. I know you only gave it three stars, but I still want to read it. This is one of the most fascinating times and places in history to me, and if I could get over the mushy gushy romance I think I would enjoy it.

    1. The history aspect was amazing! I loved learning those bits I didn't know about the war and the Holocaust! But yeah... the romance was the let-down. Without romance, this book would have deserved all five stars. Seriously. I just don't like my historical fiction watered down with kisses and mush. Let's get this thing right, people.


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