Monday 14 July 2014

My Review of the Butterfly and the Violin

I received an advanced copy of this book at RT14 and, yes, I’m finally getting around to reading it.

I encourage you to listen to these two pieces. They're relevant to the novel and stunning pieces of work.

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.


Cliff notes version: The Butterfly and the Violin follows two stories. A New York gallery owner is hired by a Californian business man to find a painting for a WWII-era prisoner by the name of Adele. We also get to see her story: from high society Vienna to an orchestra in Auschwitz.

Adele is our main character in the past. She is strong willed, incredibly talented, socially conscious; to the point that she ends up in an untold hell away from her family, her old world, and the love of her life, Vladmir. Her life seems a privileged fairytale, she is foolishly romantic and beautifully spoken, but a young rich girl in search of goodness in a time when there is none. I was immediately drawn in to her story with these incredibly prose and astoundingly descriptive imagery. It was stunning.

In the present we get Sera and William, a very religious, contemporary romance who don’t spend all their time worrying whether they like each other – which I loved – they save that for after they’re in a relationship. I wanted to love William as the charming, laid back, family man that he is but I couldn’t see past the last third of the book where he because this character that didn’t fit at all with the image we’d spent the other two thirds creating. I found the contemporary protagonists to be rather transparent. Their desires and goals were just laid out on the table, we didn’t have to work hard at all. I even found glaring inconsistencies in what they wanted not because they were complex, but because their choices seemed out of character.

I will say this: Kristy Cambron is a beautiful writer.  Her description is so lyrical and romantic. The moments of poetic metaphor are simply stunning and I found myself holding my breath with each turn of the page. I didn’t make as many random notes while reading as I usually do because I was stunned into silence. I wanted so desperately to know Adele’s story. And Sera’s. It’s very difficult to transition between two timelines, I understand that, and I think she did it so well.

  • I’m so intrigued. And the language is so poetic
  • I immediately love Adele and her pure heart
  • Adele’s desires are so raw and apparent
  • I’m just making faces at the book at this point
  • The ante just keep getting slowly upped – in both worlds
  • Handsome men can be boorish monsters, too
  • Kristy has created such a beautiful world
  • I’m pretty sure butterflies and three blinks will forever kill me
  • That’s such a beautiful image: blood dripping down a silk gown. I wish I could see it beyond my mind’s eye
  • I love that the language changes to reflect the time and the characters
  • It’s a little late for personal, darling
  • I’m actually disturbed by Canada in this context. I don’t understand it and it quietly scares me
  • The juxtaposition of their lives is a startling breath of fresh air
  • “Stop googling him!” things you never want to say. Ever
  • Stop being so charming
  • God damn it. This book is a grab bag of emotions. I’m swooning, I’m crying, I’m laughing, I’m gagging
  • For example, I’m crying and sighing with lost love
  • Come on, dude, you just met her, you can’t say things like that
  • These flashbacks of flashbacks are just making me sweetly sad
  • Vladmir, honey, you’re not making any sense
  • There is such a strong religious element (one that I would have expected had I read the entirety of the back cover) but it fits. Mostly. Some of the modern dialogue feels forced.
  • Of course, I sighed at this “random” twist of fate
  • I just cannot get over this haunting imagery
  • I KNOW there has to be a reasonable explanation but I still want to slap him. And his lawyer
  • I am terrified for Adele, really I am
  • Butterfly clips will forever make me cry
  • I knew it was coming but I’m still speechless
  • I’m sighing in contentment

Overall, this is a beautifully written story about two women struggling to overcome hardships and find God – and love – through diversity.

The Butterfly and the Violin was released on July 8th so be sure to get your copy here.

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