Book Review: A Sparrow in Terezin

10 Apr

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

690615Bound 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 fairytale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels she’s stumbled into a charmed life—until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy the perfectly planned future she’s planned 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.

1942 — Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped occupied Prague in 1939, and was forced to leave her half-Jewish family behind. 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, Kája 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 and fight to protect all they hold dear—even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

KCambron-295Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015. Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

 

My Impressions:

Kristy Cambron has created another great read in her sophmore offering, A Sparrow in Terezin. This historical/contemporary novel spans time and connects people with the story and art of the Holocaust. Kristy is meticulous in her research and creates lasting images with her words. If you read book 1 in her Hidden Masterpiece series, The Butterfly And The Violin, then you will not want to miss this book. Haven’t read book 1? Then make sure to get both and look forward to some wonderful reading.

In the early days of WWII, Kaja makes her escape from Prague as the Nazi’s march into her beloved city. But she is forced to leave her parents behind. Making her way to London, via Palestine, she meets the dashing and daring Liam at the newspaper where she works. Liam is a reporter on the war beat, but his shadowy movements hint at something much more. As Kaja discovers the horrors of the Nazi’s plan for the Jews, she enlists Liam’s help in getting back to Prague to rescue her family, but soon finds herself living the nightmare of Terezin. In the present day, Sera and William’s love story is upset by legal battles and problems with trust. Kaja’s story intersects their own in interesting ways.

As in The Butterfly And The Violin, I enjoyed the WWII story line much more than the contemporary romance. Sera and William’s story is interesting, but it is Kaja’s story that kept me turning the pages. Kristy brings to life the march of the Nazis into Prague, the Blitz of London, and the brutality and inhumanity of Hitler’s Final Solution. At first I was incredulous that Kaja would risk traveling back to Prague, but her sacrifice becomes more believable as she cares for and protects her mother and then the child entrusted to her. Her character is interesting — idealistic, a bit naive, but ever hopeful. She survives by placing her trust in God’s promises. Trust is a theme that runs through A Sparrow in Terezin — trust in God, in love and in commitment to people. Kristy’s writing is very strong. She paints pictures with her words that remain with the reader for a long time. Her description of Kaja’s journey to Terezin is powerful with phrases such as “as evil unfolded around them” and “forgotten souls” capturing the despair of the people transported from everything they knew and loved to a world one never could have imagined.

One of the strongest elements of A Sparrow in Terezin is found in the remarkable character of Dane. An SS officer charged with the engineering aspects of the concentration camp, he is also a man of compassion and conscience trapped by his own country’s ideology. He serves to remind the reader that the smallest light can dispel the darkest darkness.

Powerful images, complex characters and a message of hope in the midst of evil, A Sparrow in Terezin is a highly recommended read.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens and adults.

(Thanks to LitFuse and Thomas Nelson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE

 

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