Discussion Starts NOVEMBER 21, 2018

BACK COVER: A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz--and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan. 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 Bron. A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, 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: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.


1. What was your first reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or take some time to get into it? If you weren't hooked at first what was the turning point for you?

2. How did the structure of the book affect the story?

Did the author use any structural or narrative devices like flashbacks or multiple voices in telling the story? How dis this affect the story and your appreciation of the book? Did you think the author did a good job with it?

3. Did the book change your opinion or perspective about anything? Do you feel different now than you did before you read the book? Do tell!

4. This is a discussion question from the book, "This book was written with a heart for the lost - those who perished in WWII, as well as anyone who has suffered from a lack of peace in their lives. Adele and Sera are women separated by decades, but united in the peace Jesus Christ brought, despite their circumstances. How was their faith affected by what they went through in the story? How has your own faith been affected by difficult times?

5. Did you find this book unique, original? If yes, why? If no, why?

6. What is your favorite line - Quote from the book do share?

7. What was your favorite scene? Do tell!

8. What part of the story made you feel uncomfortable and brought about a new understanding of things?

Discussion will start on November 21st and run until the end of the month.

If you have any questions Please contact me at nora@bookfunmagazine.com 

See you then!

Nora :o)

TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!

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Replies to This Discussion

My first thought was it's gonna be a copy of "The Sound of Music" Germany Austria. I was pleased it was not so. I got intrigued very early in the book.

That's interesting Angela. I'm glad you shared that. I could see how you'd think that. fun!

I agree with you about the power going to his head and couldn't believe he could treat his daughter that way. Adele's experiences in the camp and how she pressed into God's leading brought tears to my eyes. It was overwhelming at one point. I'm still trying to find that page. I have off of my day job today and hope to find the page and share it.

4. This is a discussion question from the book, "This book was written with a heart for the lost - those who perished in WWII, as well as anyone who has suffered from a lack of peace in their lives. Adele and Sera are women separated by decades, but united in the peace Jesus Christ brought, despite their circumstances. How was their faith affected by what they went through in the story? How has your own faith been affected by difficult times?

Adele is at a cross roads a few times. She seeks God for answers, "How can I follow my heart if it goes in two different directions?"

Omara says to Adele when she requests to go with her and fight. "You were chosen for a purpose....Hear me, child. I never had a daughter. And I never had lofty dreams like most. I hoped to marry for love and perhaps, one day, to be gifted a child of my own...to find beauty in God's creation and worship Him all the days of my life."..."But it wasn't to be, was it? I came here. Life never asked me what I wanted, so I gave up on those dreams. And because of the loss of them, because of the loss of so many others in this place, I now entreat you to listen to me as you've never listened before."..."Adele, you must go and make me proud by living...because God makes no mistakes. He gifted me with my heart's desire, here, in this place. He gifted me a daughter like you."

..."You must promise me - you will life. That is all I ask. That is all that will make me happy and put my soul to rest."..."This is your family now. Keep them safe, hmm? I charge this orchestra to you. You will play for both of us. You are there mother now."

.."I can't."

.."You must. Lead them. Protect them. Stay together."

(God only knew if she could honor the promise.")

That whole scene was powerful because the reader had a front row seat to this orchestra and the relationships that developed. I was amazed that these artists and musicians could create beauty among the ashes.

This book showed me over and over again. That God can (and does) far more than we ever could imagine no matter the circumstance. We just have to let Him. It's ok to tell Him exactly how you feel. He'll walk you through the process one step at a time. We just have to be willing like Adele showed in this scene and many more.

Nora, when I read this same discussion question I thought of this scene also, as Omara was telling Adele that God was there with them and was answering their prayers.

Amen! Amen!

On Page 235 They find out that Adele is sick and didn't tell anyone. Omara tells her to play. If she didn't they'd take her to the gas chamber. Omara reminds her that they are family and says, "This child is our worship. To live and survive and play to God from the depths of our soul...This is the call that binds us. When we worship in good times it brings God joy...Worship in the midst of agony?..."That is authentic adoration of our Creator. An orchestra will worship together, as one body. As one song. A family must do no less."

This is an eye opener for Adele. It also changed my perspective on this whole thing. It's powerful. It leads up to the amazing scene on page 277. I'll talk about that in another section.

I agree, this was a turning point for Adele.  When everyone covered for her so she could rest and get better showed her that the orchestra was her family now.

5. QUESTION: Did you find this book unique, original?If so, why? If no, Why?

Yes, I did find it unique because of a few things.

1. I’d never heard of an Orchestra in a concentration camp.

2. I’d also never heard about the art work that was created at the camps.

3. I’d never heard of the resistance fighting that went on by people who worked in the factories as they made their own weapons. All if it was new territory for me. I was in awe of this group of people. The author tells about it in NOTE FROM AUTHOR Page 324

The author states, “…On October 7, 1944, as the Red Army continued to bomb German targets mere miles from the electrified fences of Birkenau, a prisoner revolt began. Using handmade weapons and gunpowder smuggled from the ammunition's factory in which they worked, prisoners mounted a heroic resistance against the heavily armed SS military police guarding the camp. The group of prisoners included underground resistance fighters and Sonderkommando (Jewish crematoria workers) who learned they were to be killed and replaced by new workers in Crematorium IV. Brave men and women gave their lives to stand up to injustice, as Omara and Adele sought to do.”

She goes on to talk about the Orchestra..”In advance of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets in January 1945, members of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz were marched to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Lower Saxony, Northern Germany. There, the remaining fifty-three members of the orchestra survived to be liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945. Though many of those left behind at Auschwitz died from disease or starvation, the voices of the lost were not completely silenced. Found in the rubble of partially destroyed warehouses and old barracks of Auschwitz were more than 1,600 pieces of art that survived to this day, each telling a poignant story from the generations to come. Many of the artists remain unknown.”

She talks about seeing this art in a college class,…”We studied the sketched faces of prisoners, and the landscapes with depictions of hard labor while armed guards looked on from the background. We found ourselves hushed by delicate floating butterflies and cheery watercolor flowers that had no place within the camp’s barbed wire walls. We were moved by the coexistence of evil and sheer beauty, seemingly both allowed to flourish in the same place.” ***This did Amaze me*** I was felt the same as the author when she says, “..I was captured by the innate need of humans to create. As a young Christian, I was inexplicably moved by the glimpses of light in the darkness. Even in the most evil of circumstances, the art of human expression was so powerful that it couldn’t be overshadowed, not even by death. In the Butterfly and the Violin, I did my best to explore this theme. It’s about worship through God’s creation – our lives.”

I think she did a brilliant job of showing this theme. It was an unforgettable read.

While I had heard of orchestra's in the camps, I had only heard about it. This story did more to flesh that vague memory out. In addition, I did not know that prisoners performed outside of the camps. Was wondering if this is true in fact. 

Another thing that I did not know about was art in the camps. 

That was pretty amazing to learn about right Sharen? It's a wonder they could come up with anything so beautiful and/or creative.  It was a surprise.

The three things you pointed out Nora were front and center for me as well, except I do recall learning about the prisoners rebellion with weapons they made smuggling pieces and gunpowder out of the various areas they were working from another book I read.  What still baffles me is how they were able to do it.  

I for one had never seen any pictures like Kristy mentioned until I read this book.  This sent me on a search to discover art that was done by artists in the concentration camps.  It is sad that so much of these great works of art did not survive as the Germans destroyed so many of the camps as they evacuated them.

This story of individuals finding God amongst so much hate effected me so much that it took me days to pick up another book to read.


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