The Butterfly and the Violin
By Kristen Cambron
Published by Thomas Nelson
336 Pages

Back Cover: 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.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of a book that introduced me to Kristy Cambron and her moving and brilliant debut novel. This book has two engaging story lines seamlessly interwoven creating a powerful read. I sure wish my history books in school were as riveting as this novel; I might have done better on my tests. This story and it's characters are unforgettable.

The story opens with Sera James owner of a Manhattan art gallery. She is obsessed with finding an original Holocaust Era painting of a girl Sera had seen as a child in Paris. Sera and her assistant have been searching diligently for two years and have finally come across a lead. Sera says to Peggy, “Let me get this straight, we found a painting by chance, but it’s not the original. And though it happens to be an image of our long-lost girl, it’s not for sale. The owner won’t take money for it?” Sera James asks her assistant to connect her with William Hanover, CEO of the family company. William flies Sera out to California to discuss the painting. Once she’s there a family member tells Sera, “There’s only one thing standing between my family and our inheritance, and that something is the painting…. You just happen to be searching for the painting whose owner is set to inherit the entire hundred million dollar Hanover estate.” 

William wants to pay Sera a finder’s fee for her help in locating the painting their family desperately wants to locate. William and Sera have more in common then they realize. Sparks start to fly as they begin their research but both hesitant to make any moves in the romance area until their mission’s accomplished. I liked how William and Sera would uncover information and/or events leading them closer to the painting; then the author would show the reader the event played out in the past through Adele’s young eyes. It was powerful.

History happens to individuals everyone in the concentration camp has a story. This was Adele Von Bron’s story of how her and Valdimir Nicolai helped Jews escape to freedom. It’s also a story of how they were captured and sent to a camp. Both of these young people met at the Philharmonic; Adel played the violin and Valdimir the cello. They were both drafted to use their talents in the Orchestra in Auschwitz-Birk in 1943.

The mystery William and Sera tried to uncover was why Adel was in the camp in the first place. She was Austria’s sweetheart and shouldn't have been there. Another mystery was William’s grandfather, Edward Hanover and why he had a copy of this Holocaust Era painting. He had never been in a camp.

The characters past and present jumped off the pages and into my heart. I was captivated by young Adele and Valdmire’s heroic love story.  I was surprised just as they were at how quickly life changed for these young ones. I liked how the author blended both stories and how the mystery was solved. It connected the dots for everyone involved in a unique way. This novel shows how hope can sprout up in the most unexpected places (like in the middle of a concentration camp) and how it can thrive in darkness given a chance.

This story showed me how using the gifts we've been given by God can be hard at times but must be used as an act of worship for our spirits to survive and thrive. The enemy has no place in our heart when we worship the one who created us and is the lover of our soul. 

Omara Kraus was the mother figure and mentor for the girls in the Orchestra. She helped the ladies survive life's challenges one day at a time. She told the girls and especially Adele that "the only thing we could do in this evil place is give our worship to God." She told Adele, “Beauty can rise above evil.” 

Omara gave the girls and Adele this scripture to give them hope; something to hang on to, Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 

Adele thought about her mentor and how she helped her to face unbearable situations. Adele would stand tall and honor God with her gift. "For the first time in her life Adele felt beautiful in her weakness…feeling God’s strength uplifting her from all sides.”

This author captured the essence of this very thing happening in the middle of the unimaginable. Reading about that moment touched the core of my being! It’s a book I won’t soon forget. I was first drawn in by the beautiful cover and then quickly hooked by the powerful story and it's characters. It’s the first book in the Hidden Masterpiece series, the next book in this series A Sparrow in Terezin will be released April 2015. I’m looking forward to reading the next book by Kristin who has just made it to my favorite author list. She'll be on your list too!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
The Book Club Network
Book Fun Magazine


  1. I loved this book. I wrote a review several months ago and have been discussing it with friends whenever the opportunity presents itself. The cover captivated me, the story enthralled. I am impatiently waiting for the next book.

    1. THANKS so much for stopping by Faye. It's a book I know I will be talking about it for months too! I have my calendar marked for book two as well!! Grin!