The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

Book description:

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, 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: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

My review:

I couldn’t put this book down and read it in about two hours. I don’t particularly enjoy books that change perspectives between multiple characters. However, both Adele’s and Sera’s stories are so interesting that it didn’t bother me.

This is a very artistically written book and the description of life in Austria and in Auschwitz is very realistic. I also really enjoyed the topic of a violinist in Auschwitz. It is well-documented that the Nazis forced musicians to play at various times in the camps, but this is the first book I’ve read written from the perspective of one of the players. I also appreciated the bit of history Cambron included about the uprising in Auschwitz shortly before the liberation of the camp.

The only criticism I have of the book is the backtracking of Adele’s story. The alternating present day and past perspective didn’t bother me, but I found the backtracking from 1942 to 1939 unnecessary. Readers got more of the story of Adele and Vladimir, which was nice, but I felt like I already had a good picture of their friendship.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, particularly WWII fiction, this is a great book and a very fast read. Spend an afternoon at the beach or in front of the fire and you can read the entire book, it is that engrossing.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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