A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts ofManhattan. 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 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.
“. . . impossible to put down.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!
“In her historical series debut, Cambron expertly weaves together multiple plotlines, time lines, and perspectives to produce a poignant tale of the power of love and faith in difficult circumstances. Those interested in stories of survival and the Holocaust, such as Eli Weisel’sNight, will want to read.” —Library Journal, starred review
“. . . debut novelist Cambron vividly recounts interwoven sagas of heartache and recovery through courage, love, art, and faith.” —Publishers Weekly
Kristy Cambron’s story keeps echoing obstinately in my mind. The double layering of two stories at once is done with artistic brush strokes of description that challenges other fine writers with her expertise and talent. This is Ms. Cambron’s debut novel, excellently done is a contemporary and a historical romance dealing with two women with two very different stories involving one lost painting.
Manhattan art dealer, Sera James, excitedly enters the gallery she owns with great anticipation that the painting that just arrived is THE ONE she has been searching for – the one that haunted her since a child of eight seeing it in a Paris art gallery. Her assistant Penny explains that an instant response to her ad had been made by a mysterious businessman – a financier in real estate named William Hanover III who was liquidating his late grandfather’s estate. HOWEVER – he won’t sell the painting, but will pay an exorbitant fee to hire Sera and her gallery to help him look for the original painting. Sera is soon flying to San Francisco at Mr. Hanover’s expense.
December 1942, Vienna, Austria. Adele Von Bron, daughter of a high-ranking member of the Third Reich and whose mother is a concert pianist; is currently known as “Austria’s Sweetheart” as a violinist with Vienna’s Philharmonic. Vladimir Nicolai, Adele’s romantic interest is a cellist with the Philharmonic, involved secretly in smuggling Jews to Switzerland. Adele has enmeshed herself for the first time in the rescue of The Haurbech family, which failed tragically. All of the Haurbech family except Sophie were shot and killed. Adele is presently in her family doctor’s office in shock because her hands were badly cut by glass she had fallen on when she and Vladimir scattered. Not knowing Vladimir’s or Sophie’s whereabouts, she told the doctor about the rescue attempt and shuddered over what might have happened if they were discovered by the Gestapo. “This is not Austria, you know. What we’ve become? This is not God’s path.” The doctor replied. Danger lurked everywhere. Adele was scheduled for a solo performance the next evening and was concerned about being able to perform with her injured hands. The doctor bandaged them and kept her safe that night.
Sera stood looking at the large estate and noticed a large white tent being constructed and a van sat to the side where workers were unloading candelabras and flowers, preparing for a big event. She questioned aloud “Just what in the world do you do, Mr.Hanover?” “He was in real estate.” replied a man that walked up behind her – who she assumed was the gardener. She learned that a wedding was to take place. Sera had been left at the alter three years before and still had not recovered from the emotional scars. Thereafter she met William Hanover the Third; only to find out he was the gardener. He was not prepared to discuss the painting until his sister’s wedding was over. Sera decided that a small nervous breakdown was in the making for her, but finally resolved that issue when William Hanover displayed kindness and interest in her during the wedding reception. Oh, and he called Sera “Manhattan” – his endearing name for her.
The only thing our four protagonists had in common is their Christianity. Each agonized from complex issues of their own. In 1942 I was only 4 years old, but I can relate to the reality in some ways that others might not. Kristy Cambron delved into WW II history and brought out the unbelievable ugliness of what Adele suffered in Auschwitz. How can any one of us relate to being branded traitors by the Gestapo? Vladimir’s soft and lovely nickname for Adele “Butterfly” suggests how he saw her. Omara painted her as she knew her in the concentration camp. Adele’s only saving grace was her talent as a violinist in the Auschwitz orchestra that played for the SS Officers. Although Sera’s story was important to Adele’s – I would have read this book on Adele’s nightmarish story as a stand-alone. It seemed an interruption when the chapters changed from modern day to WW II unbearable Holocaust. Ms. Cambron’s research revealed more than 1600 pieces of art discovered in the ruins of Auschwitz and brought to my mind the recent movie of The Monument Men. Music and art cannot be erased from world culture – although some will try. It is part of our will to survive.
There is so much more that could be said about this incredible book. Your questions will be answered in the coming revealing chapters. But I have taken liberties already and must save the uniqueness of what Ms. Cambron has accomplished for your own discovery. Seventy-five reviews alone have been published on Amazon, and I am sure that will not be the last of them. So, I leave it to you – go get this book for yourself….NOW! You will recognize this book by its beautiful cover. Respectful congratulations, Ms. Kristy Cambron. We look forward to your next publication. God most certainly plans something special for your exceptional talent.
In exchange for my review, I received a free copy of the book through Litfuse Publicity Group.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR……KRISTY CAMBRON…….
I’ve been taken with the WWII Era since I was a young girl.My grandfather was a B-17 co-pilot in the war and I remember the stories he’d so often tell. Years later, I came across the lost art of Auschwitz while studying for my undergraduate degree in Art History. I didn’t know if then, but more than a decade later, God would remind me of the heart of this book. In the wee hours of the morning in early 2013, it came alive once again.
I write WWII and Regency Era Christian fiction titles, placing first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests (Inspirational Categories)! One of those stories (which I hope will make it to bookstore shelves one day!) also became a Finalist in the 2013 Laurie contest. I’ve been a contributing author on RegencyReflections.com since 2012, and still post there with my Regency friends from time to time.
A SPARROW IN TEREZIN (Hidden Masterpiece #2) will release in April, 2015.