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.

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

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

Thanks for sharing your heart Adriann. Yes, I was baffled too. It's so a God thing for sure. It was sad to learn that not much of the pictures/art created there did not survive.  But it was a major blessing to know what went on there and what people did to thrive and survive.

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

7. What was your favorite scene? Do tell!

I'll be posting my answers to these questions tomorrow. I'm still trying to find the scene and I'm gathering my quotes. There were some memorable ones.

LOVE to hear from you all!

My favorite scene/line was a conversation between Adele and Omara in chapter 16.

Adele asks “And if I’d not known how to play, if I’d been a frightened young girl who had walked in here and begged for mercy because of a lie, they’d not have given it. So what if I had walked in here and couldn’t play?” Omara looked at her with a stony constitution and admitted, “Then I would have taught you quickly.” Adele couldn’t believe her ears. Did this woman actually mean that she would have lied? To the German SS? If anyone would have found out, it likely would have meant instant death. Would she have risked that for a violinist from Vienna? Her own parents would not have risked so much.

“Why?” “Why what, Adele?” She needed to know the truth. No matter how gruesome the details might have been, Adele needed to know why she’d been saved. “Why would you have not sent me back outside to the officer that day?” She answered on a breath laced with feeling. “Because I believe that this too shall be used by God. Somehow, this story He is writing will live on.” “How does He tell the story?” Water dripped in the background, punctuating the question. And though no one stirred around them, Adele knew the other girls were also waiting for Omara to offer some shred of hope in her answer. “He tells it through the art of creation. His creation. He tells it through each one of us who survives.”

Thanks for sharing this and reminding me of this moment. This was a powerful read!

The scene on page 277 rocked me to the core of my being as Adele remembered the beautiful paintings, poetry and those who played in the orchestra - they all refused to let their creative spirit die. "And this, she decided, is why the heart creates."

"God plants the talent and it grows, sustained by a spirit - given strength to endure, even in the midst of darkness. It thrives in the valleys of life and ignores the peaks. It blooms like a flower when cradled by the warmth of the sun. It remains in a hidden stairwell in a concentration camp. It grows, fed in secret, in the heart of every artist."..."The God-Worshiping of every life - this was the tribute to those who had lived and endured and died all around her..."

Adele performed for Nazi a second time page 279..."Her skin translucent and pale as death. It was no wonder that the quiet murmurs sent a wave of shock to blanket the concert hall. She knew how she must look. Still, Adele kept her chin up as she stood tall before them, resolute and without shame now that her decision had been made."

"No one had thought to check her prior to the performance."..."Adele knew it was reckless but she didn't care. The feeling of taking the scissors to her hair and shaving her head smooth had been freeing - she'd never imagined shedding that old part of her would minister to her soul. She fully expected the death sentence because of it."

"All she could do was think about God and how she would honor Him with her gift. For the first time in her life Adele felt Beautiful in her weakness, a perfect creation with the shorn locks, feeling God's strength uplifting her from all sides. She was one of them now. The Jews and the other lost ones. Now that her former life had all but faded away, the prisoner population had become fused to her core. Her heart was with those who had died in Auschwitz and she would never, ever be the same person again."

"Live or Die - the outcome no longer mattered. Adele knew she would never leave Auschwitz..."In the echoing silence of the concert hall, she raised her bow and tucked the violin up under her chin. With her heart free and the scars on her palms burning to give the performance of her life, she waited"..."She was ready to play with every fiber of her being. Instinctively, like so many mornings at the camp gates or during the horrendous selections at the train platform, she looked up. Her eyes went to the second chair in the back row, just as they always had..."And in that perfect moment, all time stopped along with her heart." ..."Vladimir"

Tissue time! This scene still stays with me.

Bravo, Adele’s whole story is so heart wrenching one cannot pick any one scene.  However, when she shaved her head paying tribute to the lost soles of her fellow comrades brought tears to my eyes.

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

I was stunned to hear about how they used the Orchestra. She says in the story that historians debated whether or not this was true but it says, "...they were forced to play during the selections. Adele would have been with them."..."They played, knowing people were being sent to their deaths?"

"They were forced to play cheerful music- German marches or Hungarian folk music - to keep the prisoners upbeat as they marched out to work and returned to the barracks each day." 

I can't imagine being aware of what was going on as you played. I wasn't surprised by this line..."It's said that the musicians had some of the highest suicide rates of any prisoners in the camps."

Knowing all this made the orchestra and the art work being done in the camps pretty amazing. And mentally challenging it was in the camp on many levels.

I'm still looking for my favorite scene! Jump in when you can!

The scene that made me the most uncomfortable was the scene between Adele and her father in his study.  How he could be so cold towards her.  I felt that he truly didn’t know how to love and that really upset me.  It gave me an insight into how much the drive for power can warp a person’s mind.  As Adele was his pride and joy as Vienna’s Sweetheart playing for the upper echelon of the German party, but when she helped a Jewish family to escape he turned his back on her.

That scene did rip at my heart. It made Adele more precious to me as the story went on.

A scene that tore me up was on pages 162-162 Omara wakes Adele up in the middle of the night. She tells her to be quiet they had been ordered to play for the Nazi's. She gives her a lovely dress, fixes her hair, gives her nice shoes and they are off making sure not to wake any one. She prayers a quick pray that she doesn't see any food while they play. Page 164 She sees first it's chocolate, then baskets of crusty bread - pastries and fruit (Apples, pears and oranges) She wonders if oranges still taste the same. Someone notices she was the young musical prize of Austria and didn't belong in the camp. He wants to give her food while Omara is rushing out after the performance. 

I could only imagine how all that was beyond cruel for Omara and Adele. I definitely felt uncomfortable at the unthinkable thing that was taking place. This young one dressed up to pretend all was right with the world as she and Omara played and looked upon all the food.

This scene also affected me as to this day people around the world are starving, but the Germans did it deliberately making me feel nothing but contempt for them.  My mother’s family is German and my both my Grandfather and Grandmother’s families left their home country just prior to WWI as they did not agree with Kaiser Wilhelm II‘s politics.  They were so greatfull they left before Hitler came into power.

I was saddened by the life Adele had to live. It was the  hope that she had that gave her the will to live, it also was the sacrifice Omara made for all of them. (their leader) I was impressed that the author did not just make this a happy ever after book, but that she took the time to bring out what sacrifices and genuine caring for others brings.

Sara wanted answers and went and got them. . 

I learned a lot from the accounts in this book. It allowed me to have a better look at what a dictatorship leadship can do. we are so fortunate and blessed.

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