Friday, August 12, 2016

A Sparrow in Terezin, by Kristy Cambron

You've all been dying to know, and I've killed you with suspense!!

The Kindle is christened....

Small. 

It was a close choice. But I nearly died of cuteness when I bought a book on Tuesday and had it delivered to Small. May it have a long and happy life, and I trust Jeeves will enter into existence someday in another technological form.

And now, I have a very special book review for you all.



Two Sundays ago, I spent my worship-rest on the beach, reading like crazy. I had just finished studies an turned them in in what turned out to be a whirlwind week, and nothing sounded so good to me like forgetting time existed, picking a book, and trying to read the whole thing in one day.

Because I wanted it to be something especially restful, I went with fiction. And because I wanted it to be something I could trust to be clean, and encourage rather than tax an over-tired brain, I went with Christian fiction. Kristy Cambron's A Sparrow in Terezin was an obvious choice.

Her book provided the most beautiful worship-rest experience that my soul needed.

The Book [from Goodreads]
Bound 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 fairy tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels like she's stumbled into a charmed life until a brutal legal battle against fiance William Hanover threatens to destroy their future 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 with the man she loves.

1942: Kaja Makovsky narrowly escaped Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and was forced to leave behind her half-Jewish family. Now a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in England, Kaja 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, she 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 Kaja must cling to the faith that sustains them and fight to protect all they hold dear even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

My Thoughts 
Kaja's story of family, suffering, and love was moving. I turned page after page, and found it held a satisfying depth with a good balance of hope and sorrow. I've wondered since what I would do, if I were in circumstances where both hope and creativity were crushed, and it depended on the strength and endurance of a few souls to keep it alive. It made me think of something Jenny Frietag has said several times, something I deeply resonate with: a strong woman is a woman who gets up day after day and copes with life. (I repeat the gist, though I couldn't find Jenny's exact wording.) Kaja had to be a strong woman every day, like so many of us, in the best possible Christian, biblical sense of the term, under horrific circumstances. Her fulfillment didn't revolve solely around a glowing act of heroism, though that did come several times. It shone most brightly in what we all need to prize more: everyday faithfulness.

In the early chapters, before her life takes a dark turn, her dream man is very comforting, strong, and romantic. I enjoyed him as a newspaper journalist and resonated with them as a couple. There were times when I wasn't sure if Liam was using the name of God as reverently as he should, but I would be surprised if he wasn't, coming from Kristy and Tyndale. Kaja's promise to him was absolutely gut-wrenching.

I loved the tie-in with book one in the series, The Butterfly and the Violin. You'll definitely want to read that one first, to best appreciate this book.

As far as the modern story tie-in, I enjoyed following Sara's story as well. It gave a realistic portrait of early days of marriage, loving each other deeply but still inexperienced in figuring out love and communication and becoming one.

There were parts of William's legal battle that confused me--I didn't understand in the end why his signature was on certain documents when he said it wasn't his fault, and I need to go back and look over it again. I'm suspecting the speed with which I read it made me miss some of the connecting pieces.

It was chilling to read Kristy's afterwards and learn about the artwork of the children of the Holocaust. That such children should even have to be in such a place, and that still they found opportunity to create art, creates a compelling memory of them. This story is full of big, bold themes, and the bright talent that I've seen twice now from Kristy--it's just like her hopeful, loving heart that she shares on social media. I will treasure owning this series, and I look forward to reading it again and again. It truly is a Hidden Masterpiece.

8 comments:

  1. Congrats to Small on his christening! I like that name exceedingly.
    I am really glad that you liked A Sparrow in Terezin; I haven't read it, but I'm intrigued since I am halfway through The Butterfly and the Violin, and I'm considering shelling out for the second one if I think it's worth it.
    So glad you got some time to rest! We'll have to talk soon. ;)

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    1. I'm so glad you like Small! And I'm so happy you're reading TBV--I hope you really, really enjoy it. :D I think Kristy has some beautiful depth as an author.

      Sounds grand! It felt really good to get some rest.

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  2. Wow! I totally want to read this book now. What an intriguing review!

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  3. I read this book first, then the first one second. I actually enjoyed this book far more than the first one, although it was a year and a half ago, so I'm not sure why. I'm glad you enjoyed both. :) Aidyl from Noveltea

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    1. The art of the children of Terezin is staggering to think about. I love how Kristy tackles some big themes with her stories. :) So glad you enjoyed them!

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  4. Yay, so glad you enjoyed "A Sparrow in Terezin". <3

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    1. I really, really did! It was so inspiring and relaxing. <3

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