Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Surviving Through Creating

"'How does He tell the story?'...
'He tells it through the art of creation. His creation. He tells it through each one of us who survives."
--Kristy Cambron, The Butterfly and the Violin

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 329
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Source: Borrowed from Library
Previous Books in Series: First book in series
Goodreads Description

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.

The Past

This is a story alternating between present day and 1940s Austria. Sera is in present day and has been trying to track down a portrait of Adele that she saw years ago as a child. But I'll get to her...Rewind and we find ourselves in late 1930s to early 1940s Austria; Hitler has invaded Poland a few short years ago and we come upon Adele. Adele is the daughter of a high ranking Third Reich officer as well as a famous violinist. She is also smuggling Jews out of Nazi-occupied Austria. Yes, she really is that badass. I really liked this book overall but I found myself gravitating towards Adele's chapters so much more because of the story and the emotions. Not only do we get treated to the depravity that is Auschwitz-Birkenau but the women she surrounds herself with are just...they make me speechless. They are so inspiring and the leader of these women is just...amazing. She makes it her duty to help Adele and help her see the beauty around her and in a concentration camp that is a task worthy of God Himself. The way she talks to her and the things she does for her just break my heart. It is so emotional and completely inspiring and uplifting in a world that is full of ugly

The Story

The romance of Adele and her cellist is heart-wrenching. Like, I was crying at page 77 it was SO intense! Oh my gosh, putting myself in her shoes it just made my chest hurt. I was wishing and hoping and praying against all odds that SOMEHOW these two would be okay and be together...1940's concentration camp...not the most hopeful place to root for love. However, their story is what kept me reading. They are the story I was clinging to and connecting to. Their story and how things play out is just perfection.

The Faith

While I found the present day story lacking, my favorite part of this section of the story was Sera's discussion of her faith. I found this something I could really connect with and I loved her inner monologue of trying to find God and looking to Him for guidance. Her heart has been shattered and she is trying and praying to find God in her life again. I love love LOVED this. Her prayers and inner thoughts are what kept me going with this part of the story.

The Present

Like I said, I liked Sera's faith and her discussions with God kept me connected but other than that I really didn't like this part of the story. It centers around Sera's journey to find a painting of Adele that she saw as a little girl. She discovers that a family's inheritance and fortune is to be given to the owner of this painting so there's this legal matter involved. Sera and the benefactor of the inheritance hit it off (of course) but none of the conflict made sense to me. I didn't really see the problem and the issue at hand. It just...really didn't make sense to me. I'm happy how things turned out for Sera but the road to get there I just didn't like. It seemed unnecessary and contrived.

Reserved Seating
If you like historical fiction and your Christian Fiction light, then this is a definite book for you.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating idea for a story! I'm a little hesitant, because mostly of how you felt towards Sera's chapters. But the plot is really very interesting, so I may have to think about giving this one a shot.


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