Monday, April 13, 2015

A Sparrow in Terezin {Review}

A Sparrow in Terezin (Hidden Masterpiece #2)
A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron
Visit the Author's website HERE
Book Two in Hidden Masterpiece
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: April 7, 2015

Two women, one in the present day and one in 1942, each hope for a brighter future. But they'll both have to battle through their darkest days to reach it.

"Today. "With the grand opening of her new gallery and a fairytale wedding months away, Sera James appears to have a charmed life. But in an instant, the prospect of a devastating legal battle surrounding her fiance threatens to tear her dreams apart. Sera and William rush to marry and are thrust into a world of doubt and fear as they defend charges that could separate them for life.

"June 1942. "After surviving the Blitz bombings that left many Londoners with shattered lives, Kaja Makovsky prayed for the war to end so she could return home to Prague. But despite the horrors of war, the gifted journalist never expected to see a headline screaming the extermination of Jews in work camps. Half-Jewish with her family in danger, Kaja has no choice but to risk everything to get her family out of Prague. But with the clutches of evil all around, her escape plan crumbles into deportation, and Kaja finds herself in a new reality as the art teacher to the children of Terezin.

Bound by a story of hope and the survival of one little girl, both Sera and Kaja will fight to protect all they hold dear.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today! 

My Thoughts:
I hope it is well established by now that I loved Cambron's first book, "The Butterfly and the Violin". It was touching and beautiful. To say, then, that I was excited for this follow up would be an understatement. And spoiler alert: Cambron still has it.

"Sparrow" still had an intertwining past and present storyline, but was it's own story. Sera, our heroine from 'Butterfly', returns to continue her dramatic story. Right off the bat, things get out of control in her marriage and the rest of her journey is spent wondering if she can ever learn to trust her new husband. William, the husband, has run head first into legal troubles that could cause him to see some serious jail time. He claims he is innocent, but won't help Sera find the proof need to clear his name completely.

This journey had me pretty fed up with William for not trusting his new wife, at all, and feeling Sera was acting pretty juvenile. Although, I would probably react in similiar ways...hmmm, what does that say about me? The legal battle was over my head, Sera fell flat for me again compared to her historical counterpart, and Will's family really needed to have played a bigger role.

Kaja is that historical counterpart that stole the show. Her story also starts off to a bang, but fizzles to normalcy for awhile. Cambron gives us a good period of time to learn more about who Kaja is, how intelligent she is, and develops a slow, unsuspecting romance. And yet, Kaja is a girl who sacrifices it all to find her family. Again we are following a Jew in European WWII. She was sent to London by her parents just as the Nazis start their takeover, but Kaja vows to return and find them both. Which, shockingly, she does. Therein lies the one problem I had with Kaja and Liam (the aforementioned love interest) and the story. Our intelligent heroine knows about the death camps, but still heads back straight into the thick of it all, as a Jew?? This part completely boggled my mind. It made for a fun story link, but just didn't jive with what we had already learned about Kaja.

And overall, 'Sparrow' lacked the heavy emotion we experienced in book one. It was a great story, a touching story of art and beauty in the midst of disease and death. However, the story felt too pieced together to truly flow, to truly grab me by the face and drag me in. Death camp devastation really didn't hit me until I read the Author's Note at the very end--DO NOT SKIP THIS. Short and sweet, but drops some heavy bombs.

Okay, I may have come off as sounding a bit negative, but I AM comparing it to my favorite book of 2014 which is admittedly hard to follow. 'Sparrow' may not be as emotionally effective as 'Butterfly', and Sera still could have been dropped completely without changing my love for the story, but Cambron's writing is still fabulous. Her research is impeccable. She has managed once again to find a piece of hope glittering amongst darkness and death. These 'untold stories' of hope and survival need to be told and shared. Throw in an amazing love story and BAM--an insta-fantastic story. Impossible to go wrong in the hands of a master like Cambron.

So at last, we come to the rating and I find myself torn. I want to give it the full five stars because it deserves it AND I want you to read it. My heart has only four stars because it didn't live up to the potential of book one....which, admittedly, is pretty biased. So, let's face it: Cambron rocked it again. Five stars and you really should read it :)

Kristy is celebrating by giving away a basket filled with goodies inspired by her new book!

sparrow terezin - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A set of poppy notecards
  • A poppy pin
  • A copy of I Never Saw Another Butterfly
  • A copy of the Mrs. Miniver DVD
  • Literary tea bags
  • Tumbler
  • A copy of A Sparrow in Terezin
sparrow giveaway bastet 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 28th. Winner will be announced April 29th on Kristy's blog.

sparrow terezin-enterbanner


1 comment:

  1. I really liked the "Butterfly" book, but the Sera/William parts weren't as good as the holocaust storyline (half the time I didn't get what was even going on with William and Sera, esp. towards the end). It was almost as though they were written by 2 different people. I'd like to read this one too, though!