About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)
Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor’s story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.
Present Day—With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairy–tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels like she’s stumbled into a charmed life—until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy their future before it even begins.
Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future with the man she loves.
1942—Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and was forced to leave behind her half-Jewish family. Now a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in England, Kája discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, she has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.
Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains them and fight to protect all they hold dear–even if it means placing their own futures on the line.
Kristy Cambron’s The Butterfly and the Violin (see my review) was one of my favorite reads of 2014. I was impressed by its beautiful portrayal of hope in the form of art amidst the horrors of war. I also loved the way the contemporary and historical storylines complemented each other. This second novel in the series follows in its predecessor’s footsteps, continuing William and Sera’s contemporary story, while introducing a new set of historical characters through which to portray hope in seemingly hopeless circumstances.
I greatly admire this author’s writing style. The description, imagery, and symbolism found in both her books so far are simply gorgeous. So much so that I found myself highlighting one beautiful passage after another, intending to re-read and share. Let’s just say that there are far too many of these to share them all! You’ll just have to read the books.
Well, okay. Here’s just one example from Chapter 28:
“Collages dotted the room, hung on the wall with old tacks or pinned to lengths of twine draped along the back wall. Theirs was art fashioned from life in Terezin; the children’s expression made from old newsprint and label paper from old cans. They used what they had. Stretched where they could. And all the while, Kája tried to believe that she wasn’t feeding them false hope.”
There’s a lot to love in this story. The characters are complex and engaging. The storylines and situations are compelling and emotionally charged. In fact, the only thing that bothered me about the storytelling was that I found myself skeptical of the reasoning behind a couple of decisions made by Kája in the historical storyline and William in the contemporary one. I can’t go into detail without risking spoilers, but let me hasten to say, I still enjoyed the story a great deal, and would not hesitate to recommend it, particularly to anyone who enjoyed The Butterfly and the Violin (which you really should read first).
The romance between Liam and Kája is well written, and they seem quite well suited, but I have to admit that some of the scenes with Dane and Kája turned out to be among my favorites in the book. I also loved the scenes with Sophie in both the historical and contemporary storylines that centered on the cross, the clock tower, and the sparrows. There’s some beautiful symbolism and a touching message there.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary electronic copy of the book via NetGalley for review purposes.