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

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?

I didn't expect this story to start in present day New York. It took a little bit for me to get into this story. I wasn't hooked from the first paragraph, "Is this it?"

Sera James bounded through the front doors of the Manhattan gallery, so excited that she nearly slipped for running across the hardwood floor in her heels. She came to a flustered stop in front of the large canvas hanging on the back wall. Breathless, she asked, "You've confirmed - this is her?"

I guess I was expecting this book to start off in the concentration camp not in modern times. I think I was intrigued by the end of the first chapter and engaged by the second chapter which does start off in Viena, Austria December 3, 1942. That first paragraph got me, "She is in shock?"

"The doctor had poked his head out into the cold, looked up and down the deserted city street, then tugged her into the house. Adele heard the sound of bolts locking as he secured the door behind them. He led her into the front parlor where a faded brocade sofa sat against the back wall across from two plum-colored arm-stairs with sagging cushions, polished wood arms, and clawed feet. A fire cracked on the hearth."

The turning point for me was on the bottom of the second chapter that states,..."Whether it was from the cold or astonishment at the events just witnessed, she couldn't know. Adele had never been in shock before. She'd never seen anyone killed. Not until tonight." (fully engaged by the end of page 8) Grin! 

I loved this book but totally agree with you. I was not hooked until Adele's reaction. 

At first, I wasn't too thrilled with the modern day story but it got better and drew me in as it went on.

I have read this heart wrenching story twice now and both times I wasn’t engrossed with the modern day storyline.  The historical story was so strong in detail and feeling that it kept me reading and even brought me back to read it again as part of the book club read.  I agree totally with you Nora, I would have preferred that the story started with the second chapter so I would have been drawn into the story from the very first paragraph.

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?

The author wrote this in a time-slip fashion. I think it worked for this story. Sometimes when a author does this one of the time periods the reader is fully engaged in and the other time period is not as interesting and/or engaging and is glossed over because the reader wants to get back to the time period where they care what's going on and want to know more.

The author had the reader engaged in both time lines. I think she did a good job with the two story lines present and past. 

Here is a peek in how well she did the time/slip in current time Sera is looking at a photo of Adele in a photograph taken at the concentration camp. It shows her along with other people in the orchestra. William says, "I had no idea that there was anything like this in the concentration camps."

"Most people don't. I didn't for quite a while," Sera admitted. "I heard mention of it while in an art history survey course, that there were musicians, even artists who hid the art they created. When the sames were liberated, the armies that came in found art that had been left behind....And they had musicians who played in orchestras right there in the camps. I didn't know much about it until I went back to research the painting. That's when I found all of this. And in the past two years we've learned what she must have gone through."...It's debated by some historians, but many believe they were forced to play during the selections. Adele would have been with them."

***Then later on in the book the author goes back in history and this scene plays out in that time period so that the readers experiences this event through Adele's eyes. It's powerful!

At first, I was not as interested in Adele's story as in Sera's story but as the book progressed I was equally enthralled by both story lines. The author did a wonderful job in both story lines.

The one thing that I found fascinating was in Adele's story line where she went back and forth between a few remembrances (like 1939) and her present day. Thank goodness that the chapters that went back in time were labelled!! Nonetheless, this worked because we learned how she met Vladimir and how she got involved in helping Jews during the Nazi occupation.

I truly enjoy reading time-slip stories if they are done well and Kristy Cambron never disappoints.  Adele’s story and the scenes about the orchestras made the book so fascinating as I myself played in an orchestra and had no idea that anything like this occurred in WWII. 

Oh, wow, it must have been more intriguing for you because you have orchestra experience. I'm glad I'm not alone in not knowing about the Orchestra in the camps.

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

Yes, I do have a different perspective after reading this book. It's kind of weird that we are discussing this book right before (and during the Thanksgiving Holiday season any how it just made me conscious of what people did without-and how cruel the Nazi's were) This book was hard to read in parts (because of the pain and suffering) and amazing in other parts. The fact that they had an orchestra at the camp was unimaginable. I had never heard of such a thing.

Adele was a gifted performer adored by many called Vienna's Sweet Heart. I loved how this author shared the internal struggle this performer went through with God and her music. I felt as I was there.

Butterfly was the nickname Valdimir gave her the first time they'd played onstage together."He told her, "play like you did in rehearsals - to feel the music, to let it float from my soul in honor to God... And we saw a butterfly. It was doing the same thing, floating around, dancing from perch to perch right here in our garden. It landed on our bench."

The struggle to perform in front of Nazi's was difficult for her. She doesn't think she could do it. But she remembers what Valdimir said it was ok to play, "to love the gift of music God had crafted in her heart...She wasn't playing for the Fuhrer. Instead she was playing for the honor of another. "

"Adele vowed then to play for the lost...for the world's loss of innocence and the coldness of hate that fought to overshadow the love she knew to be born of God."..."She would play."..."She let the notes dance from her heart and out her fingertips. She allowed the pull of creation to take over ever breath in her body as the notes cried from her innermost soul." 

Looking forward to hearing what you all thought. This book is a treasure. It's profound and something I didn't expect.


I grew up on the Sound of Music where the main characters, who are Austrian, fled their country when the Nazi's took over. It was just so jarring when Adele's parents were so pro-Nazi. So in this regard, it did alter my opinion. I also never really knew about the concentration camp orchestras, especially about the suicide rates for the orchestra members. When the conductor, Alma Rose, killed herself, it was a very poignant moment.

Great to hear from you Sharen. I'd love to hear what else you thought of this powerful book!

 It really disappointed me as I love history and to learn that of all the classes I took in college about WWII never was anything mentioned about the women in concentration camps or the fact that the German’s organized prisoner orchestras.  I knew that the Germans were cruel to the Jews and those that helped them but to read the study scene in Chapter 10 where Adele’s father was so cold toward her when the SS guards took her away broke my heart.  I was so glad that Adele’s mother had enough heart to make sure she had a violin to take with her as it saved her life.  History books need to be rewritten to share more information like this as well as the physiological and psychological changes that take place due to the hunger for power.

I agree with you as I also felt as if I was there struggling right along with Adele not only with the hardships she endured as a prisoner but also her connection with God.  I too kept asking where is he?

You are so right Adriann, history books should be rewritten. I have gotten more info about the Nazi atrocities from novels then I ever did in History class.


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Created by Phred St Laurent May 27, 2010 at 11:35pm. Last updated by Phred St Laurent May 31, 2010.

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