In 1942 Vienna, talented violinist Adele von Bron is known as Austria’s Sweetheart. The privileged daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Adele is shielded from the difficulties and atrocities occurring in her nation. But when Adele falls in love with cellist Vladimir Nikolai, who is secretly helping Jews escape the country, Adele’s world is upended.
In present-day New York City, gallery owner Sera James is obsessed with finding art from the Holocaust, driven by the memory of a painting of a lovely young woman holding a violin at Auschwitz. When wealthy William Hanover sends her a copy of the very painting, determined to find the original, Sera’s life will never be the same.
In The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron, Sera’s and Adele’s stories play out in parallel. Sera and William fall for each other as they search for the painting, but their conflicting reasons for finding the treasure could push them apart. Meanwhile, Adele stays alive in Auschwitz by playing in the women’s orchestra, but her spirit is mauled by the horrors she witnesses.
What a book. The Butterfly and the Violin grabbed me with lovely writing, intriguing characters, and a gripping story. However, what elevates the novel is the moving message. Holocaust stories are difficult reading, but The Butterfly and the Violin shows how faith and friendship can help people endure, and how beauty and art cannot be quenched by even the greatest horrors and cruelty. Kristy Cambron has made me a fan!