TITLE: The Butterfly & The Violin
AUTHOR: Kristy Cambron
SERIES: Hidden Masterpiece (#1)
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
GENRE: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance
RATING: 2.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- This was very much a story divided into two parts. Both had a fairly strong start, however I particularly enjoyed the Historical setting of Adele's story. Cambron's writing in this era flourished and drew me in with it's poetic touches and heart-wrenchingly emotional moments. The message that Cambron purveyed was a lovely one which warmed the heart, and it was clear that she had done a lot of research before writing this book. My favourite moments in the book were spent with Adele and Vladimir and watching them try to find faith and hope in a world filled with cruelty.
What I Disliked:
- Unfortunately as I said, there were two story-lines in this book and whenever Cambron wrote from the POV of Sera, a modern-day Art Collector from Manhattan, my opinion completely changed. Here Cambron's writing failed her: dialogue between characters was too wordy, important moments unfinished or simply not written about at all, characters remained underdeveloped and the Soap Opera style felt far-fetched and tacky. All in all, I think Cambron would have done better to focus on Adele's story as Sera's was only very loosely connected and wasn't a necessary addition.
- I had no idea that this book was Christian Fiction which is not a genre that I really read or enjoy, as I am not religious myself. I can appreciate that a lot of people do enjoy that kind of story and it's mostly just a matter of personal taste. In this case I'm mentioning it however because I felt like a lot of the plot was a little lost in the message that Cambron was trying to convey. While it was a lovely one with real meaning and great intentions I felt that it was a little inexcusable to sacrifice important plot aspects in favour of it.
This book was an easy read that also confused me in a lot of ways. In one story-line I found a lovely story that contained truly heartfelt moments of grief and horror. It was so well-researched too that I commend Cambron for her knowledge on the Holocaust era, it's effects on Austria in particular and a detailed understanding of what went on in Auschwitz and camps like it. It's hard to believe that the same Author wrote from Sera's point of view too, which displayed far less talent and ability. Overall I think the novel had real potential but I never felt truly engaged in the story. Perhaps an increase in length would have given Cambron the room she needed to pull off such loosely connected plot-lines, and would have meant her message didn't dominate and exclude the necessary components of the actual story.