Archives For Holocaust

“These prisoners—the ones who painted or wrote poetry or played in the orchestra—they refused to let the spirit die.”
~Kristy Cambron, The Butterfly and the Violin~

Butterfly and Violin Kristy Cambron(Click to Tweet)

Kristy Cambron’s debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, tells the story of two women: Sera James in present day and Adele Von Bron in 1942. Sera is an art dealer who becomes fascinated by a painting she saw once as a girl—of a young female violinist with piercing blue eyes. It’s a painting of haunting beauty, and Sera is compelled to chase it down.

As she does, we discover the subject is Adele Von Bron, once a celebrated Austrian violinist, who ends up imprisoned in a concentration camp for smuggling Jews out of Vienna. Surprisingly, the painting was not commissioned when Adele was rich and famous. Instead, the canvas captures Adele the prisoner, who found a way to honor God with her music even in Auschwitz, an Adele matured & refined by suffering.

We learn that this particular masterpiece so captivates Sera because it speaks of hope in the worst of circumstances—and that’s what I love about this story. 

For Adele’s story is one of hope and joy amidst heartbreak and loss. Adele’s legacy is powerful enough to help Sera break free of her own selfish bubble of personal pain and reach out for life and love.

The Butterfly and the Violin reminds us that even when men try to remake the world in their own image, they can never erase God’s image in us. And all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent & worthy of praise cannot be silenced for long.  

What I liked best . . .

  • Two storylines—present day with a link to the past (my favorite plot device)
  • The old-Hollywood-movie feel of Sera’s contemporary romance
  • Adele’s riveting Holocaust storyline
  • Vladimir’s big heart & unfailing kindness
  • Omara’s strength & courage
  • Dancing on the banks of the River Seine on a sunny Paris day
  • The Standing-Ovation-Worthy ending of Adele’s personal Holocaust experience!!!

My favorite quote . . .

Kristy Cambron Butterfly and Violin“For the first time in her life she felt beautiful in her weakness, feeling God’s strength uplifting her from all sides.”

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What you should do next . . .

Follow this link to purchase your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin. ***Thanks to Kristy Cambron & Litfuse for providing a copy for me to review.

Enter the GIVEAWAY! Click on the photo below & enter to win a copy of the book plus a Kindle Fire . . .

Kristy Cambron contest

Kristy CambronAbout the author . . . 

Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII Era since hearing her grandfather’s stories of his experiences as a B-17 co-pilot in the war.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes both World War II and Regency Era Christian fiction titles.

A SPARROW IN TEREZIN —the next Hidden Masterpiece novel—will release in April, 2015.

She’s a proud Hoosier, living in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

You can connect with Kristy . . .

At her website

On Facebook

On Twitter

 May you count many blessings as you go through your day, friends. I’m thankful you took a moment to stop in here!

***Photo Backstory: I created the graphics by downloading photos from RGB Stock Photos & tweaking them with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

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For Such a Time

Renee Ann Smith —  May 31, 2014 — 6 Comments

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes. ~Proverbs 21:1~

This verse came to mind again and again as I read Kate Breslin’s riveting debut novel, For Such a Time. Set during World War II in a Czechoslovakian transit camp, this book tells the story of Jewish prisoner Hadassah Benjamin and Colonel Aric von Schmidt, the SS Kammandant who saves her from a firing squad.

forsuchatime_rgb300-updatedmockHaddassah, who goes by Stella Muller, enchants Aric. She brings to mind happier days, when he was a simple country boy, searching the woods for treasures to bring home to his beloved mother. As for her part, Stella tries to use her position as the Kammandant’s secretary to protect what Jewish prisoners she can and struggles with her growing love for him.

Her Uncle Morty has assured Stella that—as in the story of Esther—God will use her to save His people. But since Stella is barely on speaking terms with God, she finds this difficult to believe.

The events that bring Hadassah and Aric to faith, love, and triumph make for a wonderful story.

Throughout the Bible, God touched the hearts of those in power to reach out in love and protection to Moses, Joseph, and many more of His children. During the Holocaust, He used unlikely heroes (think of the fast-living, ladies’ man Oscar Schindler) to preserve His people. And He also presided over unconventional romances—the upright Jewish leader Boaz with Ruth the Moabitess and a Jewish spy with former prostitute Rahab—to name a few. 

So it was no stretch for me to immerse myself in a novel where God prompts a disillusioned Nazi to protect a beautiful woman prisoner and through her, changes that man’s heart. I’m sure in real life, God gave many such men a chance to repent and turn to Him. And what better way to touch the humanity within them than through the noble lives of the people they were oppressing?

I love how Kate captured God’s heart in this story! Although neither character is consciously seeking Him, God calls out to them. In the midst of all the horror and ugliness of the world men remade in their own sinful image, He desires to give them abundant life, peace, purpose, joy, and even romance.

What I liked best . . .

  • The period details—I’m a World War II fiction fan
  • Stella’s encounters with God through His miraculous word
  • Aric’s fascinating character arc
  • Having my heart stolen by a brave little boy named Joseph
  • Snowball fights, porcelain jewelry cases & the Blue Danube Waltz
  • Prisoners like Morty, who refuse to be beaten down & silenced
  • The unexpected, nail-biting, FANTASTIC ending!

My favorite quotes . . .

 For Such a Time Kate Breslin

“Earthly hearts cannot always fathom divine reasoning. Remember, we live not in our time, but in God’s.”

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“It went against her conscience, defied even her bloodlines—yet she felt something for this man. He’d broken through her resistance, made her feel decent and human again, all the way down to her bones.”

“Why had she assumed God would speak to her in some great audible sign, like a thunderclap, lightning, or a burst of fire from the sky? Had anger and bitterness made her deaf to His whisper? ‘Tell me, Lord,’ she pleaded softly. ‘I promise to listen.'”

What you should do next . . .

Follow this link to purchase For Such a Time. Read it soon & share it with a friend! ***Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy for me to review.

Kate BreslinAbout the author: A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction or spending time with her author friends, she’s avidly reading books, watching anything Jane Austen on BBC, or following John’s musical career as his #1 fan.

You can connect with Kate . . .

At her website

On Facebook

On Twitter

Thanks for stopping by. Blessings, friends!

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If there’s a young adult in your life, you can’t miss by introducing them to the talented mother/daughter writing team of Lydia and Heather Munn. Their debut novel How Huge the Night is a beautiful story of love and sacrifice among the teens in a small French village during World War II.

The main players in the story are Julien, Benjamin, Gustav, and Nina. Julien starts out with the typical goals, dreams, and fears of any fifteen-year-old boy. He resents being torn from his happy life in Paris to relocate to his father’s hometown. Even when his father explains his hope that the area is too rural and out of the way to interest the encroaching Nazis, Julien remains sullen and angry. However, God works in Julien’s heart through his grandfather’s godly wisdom, the circumstances of war, and the friendship he forges with the Jewish teen who boards with his family.

For the Jewish teens Benjamin, Gustav, and Nina, the war is a much different experience. While Julien wrestles with questions of conscience, these three struggle to survive. As the adults around them align themselves with either the freedom fighters or the Nazis, their lives depend on discerning who they can trust.

Here, the rich history of Julien’s town comes into play. The village had been founded by the Huguenots, who were seeking a haven from persecution, and soon the townspeople realize that they must be true to God and their heritage by welcoming any who flee to them for refuge–including Benjamin, Gustav, and Nina.

This book had all the elements I love in a story

  • Depiction of setting and atmosphere that made me feel like I was there myself
  • Events and struggles that drew me in
  • Characters–not just the teens, but also key adults–who touched my heart

Some of the teen novels I’ve truly enjoyed (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Giver, etc.) were great stories and contained moral characters who made hard choices. But few of those heroes were born-again Christians who acted out of biblical principles.

Too often, classic novels portray all believers as weak or hypocritical or too heavenly-minded to do anyone much good. So I especially appreciated the strong spiritual themes in this book as the folks explored their Huguenot background and heeded what Scripture had to say. And—how refreshing—the pastor of the town was one of its heroes!

This book was based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon, the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust.

children of Le Chambon

Read about the history connection here.

***Thanks to the folks at Litfuse Public Relations for providing a copy of the book for me to review. Read more reviews from the book tour here.

The Kindle edition of How Huge the Night is only $5 right now. Follow this link to check it out at Amazon.com.

About the authors:

Heather

Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in southern France where her parents were missionaries like their parents before them. She has a BA in literature from Wheaton College and now lives in a Christian intentional community in rural Illinois , where she and her husband, Paul, host free spiritual retreats for the poor, especially those transitioning out of homelessness or addiction. When not writing or hosting, she works on the communal farm.

Lydia

Lydia Munn, daughter of missionary parents, grew up in Brazil. She received a BA in literature from Wheaton College , and an MA in Bible from Columbia Graduate School of Bible and  Missions. With her husband, Jim, she has worked in church planting and Bible teaching since 1983, notably in St. Etienne, near the small town in the central mountains of France which forms the background of How Huge the Night. The Munns now live in Grenoble , France.

CymLowell