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.
WWII seems to be a time period that is picking up now and I for one love to hear stories about the brave men and women of that time. So here’s my thoughts:
What I liked:
The premise. I love a backwards mysteries, where the main characters start with the end and have to unravel things to get back to the beginning. I particularly liked the idea of starting with a painting, it manages to give the novel this haunting feel to it.
The history. I love history and I love it more when I feel like I’ve learned something I never have before. And I learned a couple things about Auschwitz that I hadn’t ever heard of.
Spiritually, there is the beautiful theme of hope and the plans that God has for your lives, even when outside circumstances come along and try to derail those plans.
What I didn’t like:
The romance. Because you have two stories running side by side, generally, I have found that the romance can suffer. For me, that was the case, but only because some things happened so quickly. I just wasn’t as invested, I think, as the author wanted me to be.
Adele’s story. I’m no expert on Nazi Austria, but I was really curious if they would have treated someone with Adele’s stature the way they treated Adele. And also, Adele manages to maintain her innocence and naivete as she goes through and sees some horrendous things. Some people might consider that refreshing. I found it unusual. At some point I felt that she should have toughened up.
Romantic Scale: 7.5
Overall, another beautiful look at WWII history. It’s not exactly fun to read (due to the serious content), but it is a fascinating read.
**I received this book from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**