Saturday, February 20, 2021

Emotionally gripping story UPDATED -- The Butterfly and the Violin

UPDATE: I first read this book about 6 1/2 years ago and just re-read it as part of a "nostalgic reader" challenge for this month. It was definitely worth a second time through.

The horrors of the concentration camp were just as real as they were the first time I read it. Even though the particular details of the story are fictional, the message is so real and so relevant, no matter how many times I read it --  seeing my life and whatever I can accomplish can be an act of worship toward my Creator in even the most horrid of circumstances. This author allowed that lesson to shine through in brilliant fashion!


The Butterfly and the Violin
 by Kristy Cambron is a story that I found emotionally gripping -- not in the tears streaming down my face kind of way, but in a way that touched me deeply nonetheless. Kristy writes with vivid detail that allows you to see and feel the horrors of the concentration camp, while at the same time sharing glimmers of hope in worshiping God in the midst of the suffering.

The two points of view in the story, years and worlds apart -- yet drawn together over time and distance -- fit together to tell a beautiful story.  Wondering how all the people and pieces match up keeps the story moving at a very compelling pace through the very last chapters where it all comes together.

I was intrigued to learn more of the personal history of the holocaust and the part that music and art played in those times.  An inspiring theme throughout the story is best expressed in the author's own words in her note at the end of the book:  "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. . . It's about worship through God's creation -- our lives."

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing a digital copy of The Butterfly and the Violin in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

And then came war . . .

Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems
.
Vienna, 1942. Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna’s vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.

The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele’s barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshipping God with her gift?
 
As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait—Adele—they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God’s faithfulness never falters.

About the Author
 
Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with WWII since hearing her grandfather’s stories. She holds an Art History degree from Indiana University and has 15 years industry experience as a corporate learning facilitator and communications consultant. Kristy writes WWII and Regency fiction. She makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Website: www.kristycambron.com Twitter: @KCambronAuthor Facebook: Kristy-L-Cambron-Author

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Intense Pre-War Intrigue -- When Twilight Breaks

Eons ago when I was in high school, history was my least favorite subject, the one I took only because it was required, not for any useful purpose I could think of. So how is it that now historical fiction -- especially the stories with lots of real-life history in them -- has become one of my favorite genres?

OK, maybe maturity and life experience have contributed to my understanding of the value of history, but there is more to it than that. Brilliantly written stories filled with intensively researched historical facts really help to bring to life events and people from the past.

Sarah Sundin has written several awesome series from the WWII time period with fascinating fiction built around well-researched historical facts. When Twilight Breaks is a gripping story that goes back a little farther, to the years when tensions and conflicting ideologies were growing toward the ultimate point of war.

Evelyn and Peter are fascinating characters who come to life on the pages of this book. They, as well as others in the story, represent a cross section of the people who were caught up in the chaos and uncertainty of the time, especially those living and/or working in Germany itself. The people and actions are so well portrayed that I found myself feeling like I was right there with them. The historical details masterfully intertwined with the fictional story provide evidence of the level of in-depth research that this author does so well. And of course, there is a lovely thread of romance that adds another level to the story.

I highly recommend When Twilight Breaks to fans of great historical fiction, especially those intrigued by the WWII era. Thanks to Revell Reads for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.


About the Book

Munich, 1938

Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession and to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country--or worse. If she does not report truthfully, she'll betray the oppressed and fail to wake up the folks back home.

Peter Lang is an American graduate student working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party--to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can't get off his mind.

As the world marches relentlessly toward war, Evelyn and Peter are on a collision course with destiny.


About the Author

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of several popular WWII series, including Sunrise at Normandy, Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory. Her novels have received starred reviews from BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers WeeklyThe Sky Above Us received the Carol Award, her bestselling The Sea Before Us received the FHL Reader's Choice Award, and both Through Waters Deep and When Tides Turn were named on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in Northern California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.



Friday, February 12, 2021

Fascinating Historical Story -- The Moonlight School



About the Book

Book:  The Moonlight School

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Haunted by her sister’s mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education. When Cora sends Lucy into the hills to act as scribe for the mountain people, she is repelled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters. Few adults can read and write.

Born in those hills, Cora knows the plague of illiteracy. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come?

As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose; or maybe purpose finds her. With purpose comes answers to her questions, and something else she hadn’t expected: love.

Click here to get your copy!

My Thoughts


The Moonlight School is a fascinating historical story that captivated my interest from the very beginning. Suzanne Woods Fisher has taken an intriguing true account from the pages of the early 20th century and woven an inspiring and engaging novel around it.

The characters -- most of whom are fictional -- are full of life with its good and its not so good. Lucy, in particular, finds herself in a whole new world with lots of lessons to learn about people, situations, and even language different from her own. Wyatt seems to be sure of his place in the hill country, but there are layers to him that aren't readily obvious at the beginning. Cora is a force to be reckoned with as she pursues her dream to improve life for the people she deeply cares for. And there is a whole cast of other characters who each add their own depth to the story. There is an intriguing bit of mystery involved, but the steady, purposeful development of the characters is what makes this a great story. 

The incorporation of vocabulary specific to the people of the hill country added an authentic touch to the story. (I guess my connections to the rural south are stronger than I realized, as many of the expressions were familiar to me. That meant I needed only a few of the "translations" provided by the author in the opening pages of the book.) Many readers, and maybe especially those of us who are or have been educators, will find a special connection to the literacy element of the story. The author's notes about the follow-up on the moonlight school program and suggestions for more research on Cora Wilson Stewart are helpful for anyone interested in learning more about the true story. 

I highly recommend The Moonlight School to fans of great historical fiction and inspirational stories in general. Thanks to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author

Carol award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Suzanne is the best-selling author of more than thirty books, ranging from non-fiction books, to children’s books, to novels. She lives with her very big family in northern California. 

 

More from Suzanne

I’m Suzanne Woods Fisher, the author of The Moonlight School. This historical fiction will release on February 2, 2021, and is based on a true story featuring Cora Wilson Stewart, a Kentucky educator way ahead of her times. In 1911, Cora had a crazy idea—to open rural one-room schoolhouses in her county on moonlit nights to teach illiterate adults how to read and write.

So what happened next? Well, it’s so astonishing that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Instead, I hope you’ll read the book and find out for yourself.

In the meantime, this infographic provides a fascinating look at illiteracy THEN…and NOW. Makes you want to thank your teachers, doesn’t it?


Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, January 30

Batya’s Bits, January 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 30

CarpeDiem, January 31

Sara Jane Jacobs, January 31

A Novel Pursuit, January 31

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, January 31

The Avid Reader, February 1

Bliss Books & Jewels, February 1

lakesidelivngsite, February 1

Connie’s History Classroom, February 1

She Lives To Read, February 2

For the Love of Literature, February 2

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 3

Through the Fire Blogs, February 3

Texas Book-aholic, February 3

Inspiration Clothesline, February 3

Fiction Book Lover, February 4 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 4

Blogging With Carol, February 4

Lis Loves Reading, February 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 5

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 5

Simple Harvest Reads, February 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

HookMeInABook, February 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 6

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, February 6

Artistic Nobody, February 6 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

For Him and My Family, February 7

EmpowerMoms, February 7

The Write Escape , February 7

Mary Hake, February 7

Older & Smarter?, February 8

deb’s Book Review, February 8

Splashes of Joy, February 8

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 9

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 9

Beauty in the Binding, February 9

Blossoms and Blessings, February 9

Remembrancy, February 10

Bigreadersite, February 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 10

By The Book, February 11

Wishful Endings, February 11

Vicky Sluiter, February 11

Pause for Tales, February 11

Spoken from the Heart, February 12

Hallie Reads, February 12

To Everything There Is A Season, February 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, February 12


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1068d/the-moonlight-school-celebration-tour-giveaway