A Sparrow in Terezin

A Sparrow in TerezinA Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron
Series: Hidden Masterpiece
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Thomas Nelson on April 7, 2015
Pages: 336

 

Just as certain stories, movies, or actors retain popularity within film, artistry, or music, publishing retains certain authors that seem to one day rise from obscurity with powerful messages for audiences. The genre of World War Two fiction has long captured readers’ attention both in the ABA and CBA markets, with 2014/2015 being especially strong years for the market. Kristy Cambron is one such author who has worked quietly and consistently to mark her place in publishing. While she is a writer of Regency stories as well World War Two fiction, it is her series of hidden art during the Holocaust that denotes her talent for writing beautiful, emotive stories.

A Sparrow in Terezin, Cambron’s second novel in the Hidden Masterpiece series, is a novel bound for greatness.

A Sparrow in Terezin, Cambron’s second novel in the Hidden Masterpiece series, is a novel bound for greatness. Much like it’s predecessor, The Butterfly and the Violin, Cambron’s sophomore story with dual lines that share lessons of faith, hope, and love is sure to touch readers’ hearts because Cambron is emotive. She infuses every line of her novel with the pain and loss of those who suffered during the Holocaust to the joy and hope of those who survived. Cambron uses various literary tools to draw readers deeply into A Sparrow in Terezin. Readers’ emotions will be flexed as she uses vivid imagery to paint the scenes from a bombed London road to a Nazi ghetto. Cambron’s prose is so evocative with the authenticity of Holocaust experiences that it is a wonder the author did not walk through Terezin herself.

The storyline of the Holocaust—the art, the relationship between Kaja and Liam, the historical facts that Cambron weaves into the story—is the strongest aspect of A Sparrow in Terezin.

The dual storylines of A Sparrow in Terezin serve to teach readers that the fears and joys we experience today are just the same as those the Greatest Generation walked through sixty-some years ago. Kaja and Liam, from the Terezin side of the story, demonstrate the depths that love of any kind can push a person to act heroically during trying times. Sera and William, from the present side of the story, fight for honesty and trust during a time in their marriage that has every chance of breaking despite both characters’ efforts to save the relationship. The storyline of the Holocaust—the art, the relationship between Kaja and Liam, the historical facts that Cambron weaves into the story—is the strongest aspect of A Sparrow in Terezin. Her interest in and love of World War Two propels everything in this story; from the dialog with its 1940’s twists and Prague dialect, to the rich details of setting and place, readers of World War Two fiction will grasp at all chances Cambron offers her readers to go back in time. Those following this novel after Cambron’s first release will also thoroughly enjoy picking up on Will and Sera’s story from The Butterfly and the Violin. While the contemporary storyline is not as poignant as its historical sibling, Will and Sera’s story is sweet and refreshing with its lessons of trust and loyalty.

A Sparrow in Terezin represents some of what is best about CBA fiction

A Sparrow in Terezin represents some of what is best about CBA fiction: God’s timing always works for the good of those who love him; that even in the darkest of times He is with us; that beauty can always be found when someone has hope in Jesus Christ; and that love sees people through the best and worst of times. Cambron symbolizes God’s time and care for His children through a story of a clock tower and sparrows. In one of the most beautifully written tales told through the eyes of a child, A Sparrow in Terezin continually returns to Kaja’s fascination with an old clock tower that tells time through God’s creatures and features.

Time will tell how many to-be-read and favorite lists A Sparrow in Terezin lands upon; there is no doubt, though, that every reader of Cambron’s sophomore novel will be touched limitlessly by this novel.

–Marisa


William and Sera Hanover’s marriage had a very stressful start. Suspecting that William might be arrested, they moved up their wedding. However, shortly after the ceremony, their worst fear is realized when William is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Now facing ten years in prison, they must try to persevere through the doubt and scandal that has so quickly swallowed their once hopeful future. But the past that brought them together, might also hold the key to rescuing their future.

In 1939, Kaja Makovsky barely escaped from Nazi-occupied Prague. After spending time in Palestine, she moves to London where she hopes to eventually be reunited with her father and mother she left behind in Prague. While working for The Daily Telegraph, Kaja learns of the horrors that are happening in her native country. Determined to sneak into a country everyone else is trying to flee, Kaja leaves behind Liam, the man she loves, and risks her life in order to find her family. Set in both the present day and World War II, A Sparrow in Terezin beautifully portrays enduring love during the darkest of times.

Set in both the present day and World War II, A Sparrow in Terezin beautifully portrays enduring love during the darkest of times.

For awhile I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through this book. Historical romance is not a genre I read very often because I’m not a huge fan of romance. But the historical part of this book sounded intriguing and I love stories set during WWII. So I decided to give it a try.

Kaja and Liam’s story is beautiful, touching, sweet, and everything else that makes a romantic storyline work.

The WWII part of A Sparrow in Terezin is excellent. Kaja and Liam’s story is beautiful, touching, sweet, and everything else that makes a romantic storyline work. They genuinely seem to care about each other and their love feels real and endearing. As a result, their actions are believable and what could otherwise come off as cheesy is adorably sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed their part in this book.

Kristy does an excellent job of presenting the horrors of WWII and the fears that were so prevalent during that time without totally overwhelming the reader. There are parts of this book that are difficult to read, but less because of the gruesome details and more because of what the characters are enduring. While there is literary value in accurately and vividly portraying depravity, there is equal value in strong characters that compel the reader to care regardless of their circumstances.

I very much enjoyed watching Kaja’s character grow. While this book doesn’t have an abundance of spiritual content, what is there is slowly developed with Kaja and it works very nicely. By the time the book ends, her faith is incredibly strong and it pours out of her and believably into her actions.

While I absolutely love Kaja and Liam’s part in A Sparrow in Terezin, I can’t say the same for Sera and William’s story.

While I absolutely love Kaja and Liam’s part in A Sparrow in Terezin, I can’t say the same for Sera and William’s story. This book uses a plot device I simply do not like. Building suspense by a character refusing to tell about their past doesn’t work for me. That is not suspenseful, particularly given the nature of this book. When the big secret was finally revealed, it was as anti-climatic as I expected.

Sera’s character irritated me from page one. She is an annoying, emotional rollercoaster. There is an insincerity and duplicity to her that bothers me; she is supportive of William in word, but not in deed. Furthermore, it is very difficult to believe she would so blindly trust him with large portions of his past unknown to her. Overall, their storyline is very predictable and often times unbelievable. Their commitment to God is incredibly superficial, making teachable moments difficult to ‘sit’ through. Needless to say, this part of the book did not work for me.

However, I am so very glad to have read Kaja and Liam’s story. It is simply beautiful and makes the other parts worth the time. For readers looking for a captivating story of enduring love set during WWII, A Sparrow in Terezin is a very good choice.

–Melissa

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