Sunday, April 26, 2015

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Kristy Cambron


Kristy Cambron is the author behind two of my favorite novels, The Butterfly and the Violin and the novel Kristy is sharing about today, A Sparrow in Terezin (click on titles to see my reviews). She has quickly become a writer that I greatly admire, for I've found her stories to not only be highly entertaining, but they give me great cause for introspection.

I am thankful to be able to share this Litfuse Publicity interview with Kristy and also offer a copy to one of our readers, details at the end. Please meet my friend, Kristy Cambron . . .

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Just like a single candle can brighten a dark room, a glimmer of hope can sustain the soul in dark times. In her highly-anticipated second novel, Kristy Cambron shines a light on the resiliency of the human spirit in A Sparrow in Terezin.

Q: Your new book has a unique title — A Sparrow in Terezin. Where is Terezin, and what happened there?

Terezin (or Theresienstadt in German) was a small fortress and garrison city converted to a ghetto and concentration camp during WWII. Positioned just an hour automobile ride north of Prague in what is now the Czech Republic, the 18th-century fortress was an ideal place for the Nazis to set up a Gestapo prison for political prisoners early in the war. By 1941, the camp was converted also to a ghetto and transport camp for mainly Czech, but also Soviet, Polish, German and Yugoslavian Jews. Of the approximate 150,000 prisoners who passed through Terezin during the course of the war, nearly 90,000 were deported to Auschwitz or other extermination camps. Of the 15,000 children who were sent to Terezin between 1942 and 1944, fewer than 100 survived the war.


Q: How was Terezin different than other concentration camps we may be more familiar with?

Terezin was cruelly referred to as the “Model Ghetto” or “Paradise Camp,” but the horrors of indiscriminate killings, starvation and disease that occurred there made it anything but. The Nazi regime used this camp as a propaganda tool and transport camp, beautifying parts of the city late in the war as a model to show how “well” the Jews were being treated in all of the concentration camps. In reality, the Nazis used a beautified Terezin — with a public park, window boxes with flowers, even painted-plaster meat that hung in butcher shop windows — all as a ruse to mislead the International Red Cross. To alleviate over-crowding before the arrival of Red Cross workers, the Nazis shipped tens of thousands of Jews from Terezin to killing centers (such as Treblinka and Auschwitz) in occupied Poland.


Q: What compelled you to tell this particular story from the World War II era?

In early 2004, I was a young college student in an art history class. I remember the moment when the professor presented a topic I’d never heard of — the art of the Holocaust — and I was instantly captivated. From that day on, I devoured any books I could find on the subject, especially Elie Wiesel’s Night, which I still read every year. I remember hearing that whisper in my soul, that this topic was special somehow; the art of creation and worshipping God, even in the midst of the most horrific of circumstances one could imagine. It’s a stunning expression of beauty I still can’t fully understand. And though it’s a very weighty subject, I wanted to give a voice to these known artists, to help others hear their story. So I stored the idea away, hoping someday I’d know what to do with it. Ten years later, it turned into this series.


Q: Tell us about the children of Terezin. Where did you first hear their story?

While studying for my undergraduate degree in art history, I completed much research on the art of the Holocaust, specifically, the prisoner camp art of Auschwitz and the children’s art of Terezin. During that research, I came across I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp 1942-1944 (Schocken Books, 1993). This book changed my heart forever. There are stunning pieces of the children’s art inside its pages. Watercolors. Cut-paper collages in brilliant colors. There are peaceful still-life portraits and others, more heart-wrenching, of work details and guards with machine guns. There are songs and poetry, all imagined by the sweet little hands and hearts of the children of Terezin. The art of these children refused to leave my heart. The images are so heart-wrenching that they beg for a voice. It’s because of them Sophie and Kája’s story was born in A Sparrow in Terezin.


Q: Why did the arts thrive in Terezin? What do you think the appreciation of the arts tells us about humanity?

A real shocker for me was to learn that not only did the arts community exist in Terezin, cultural life seemingly thrived. Despite the lack of basic sanitation, food and clean water (and people dying by the thousands), great effort was put into the arts. There were academic lectures on topics such as medicine, the arts and Jewish history, full symphony and chamber orchestra performances — Brundibar (or Bumble Bee) was a children’s operetta both written and performed within the camp. There was even a 10,000-volume Hebrew lending library.  An appreciation of the arts would usually be exciting to research, but given the conditions the people endured, the investment in it here is heart-breaking. The lack of humanity is sickening.


Q: What lessons can we learn from your heroine, Kája, as she uses her education and abilities in the concentration camp? How were her talents able to aid her survival?

Like Adele’s journey in The Butterfly and the Violin (the first book in the series), Kája’s skills had a very large part in her survival. She was smart and brave in a way she couldn’t fully understand. But in the world of Terezin, she had a better chance than most. In a cultural community that was thriving, Kája would have been seen as added value. And though survival was a big part of her motivation, I think there was something greater: hope. She knew most of the children in her ghetto school would ultimately not survive. Instead, she used her God-given gifts to infuse them with hope in the best way she knew how. I love the fact that in the end, she cared more about the children (her little sparrows) than she did about her own survival. This brave part of her story tugs at my heart like few things can.


Q: Did you struggle telling such a devastating story? How did you manage to infuse A Sparrow in Terezin with a message of hope?

That’s a great question. The simplest answer has to be — yes. Some of the research was so gut-wrenching that I had to take breaks just to get through it. I broke the book into segments on The Blitz, the contemporary storyline and the scenes in Terezin. Because the ghetto scenes were so heavy, I’d have to step away from both research and writing for a time, work on something else and come back to them later. But despite the difficulty, I wanted the story to have hope. In fact, everything hinges on it. Joshua 1:9 is the foundation for Kája’s journey, both before and during her time in Terezin. There had to be hope for her to lean on, to know that no matter what was happening around her, God was still faithfully by her side.


Q: What is the number-one message you would like readers of A Sparrow in Terezin to walk away with?

Above all, my hope is that readers walk away from this reading experience with a changed heart — to know that no matter what journeys life brings, they can have strength and courage with every step. We can stand firm on the truths in Joshua 1:9 and find our courage in Him, whether it’s in circumstances as horrific as the Holocaust or the discouragements of our everyday lives. He can still bring beauty from ashes. He can (and will) still breathe life and color and hope into every situation.


To keep up with Kristy Cambron, visit www.kristycambron.com and TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. You can also become a fan on Facebook (KCambronAuthor) or follow her on Twitter (@KCambronAuthor).

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GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for A Sparrow in Terezin, please leave a comment . . . For instance, have you read Kristy's first book, The Butterfly and the Violin? Are you a fan of WWII fiction? If so, are there any authors or titles you would recommend?

BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing.

If you'd like to receive e-mail notifications of reviews, author interviews and giveaways, please subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner. "Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are also greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.

E-mail required for entry in the drawing. Contest ends at midnight PST on Thursday, April 30. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: US residents, 18 and older

64 comments:

  1. I have read her The Butterfly and the Violin and loved it. I am really looking forward to reading this one. I am a big fan of WWII fiction - maybe because my dad was a WWII vet. Some of the authors that write WWII fiction that I have really enjoyed are Liz Tolsma, Rachel Muller, Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and one of my favorites was For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. abilene_nana(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. My dad was a WWII vet also, Ann. So many stories of hope and courage come from this genre! I've enjoyed a couple of the authors you mentioned, and am determined to read Kate Breslin this year. It's always good to see you here and best wishes in the drawing, Ann.

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  2. I keep seeing Kristy's books and hearing about them. I didn't realize they were about the Holocaust Jews. I love all things Jewish. Anne Frank's diary started my heart-felt connection.. Corrie Ten Boom deepened it. I devoured Bodie Thoene's series--all of them! I must read Kristy's! caryl DOT mcadoo AT yahoo DOT com Blessings and favor!

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    1. Caryl, I can't imagine you not liking Kristy's novels! I actually have a hard time with Holocaust themes and find it amazing that two of those novels were on my favorites list last year - Kristy's The Butterfly and the Violin, and Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke. I think it's Kristy's use of the arts that gets to me, because I'm a musician and found The Butterfly absolutely haunting in its beauty. FYI, Cathy Gohlke has a novel coming out this year that features Corrie Ten Boom. Good to see you here, Caryl!

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  3. I loved "The Butterfly and the Violin"! It taught me things I had no previous knowledge of, and it made me feel in ways I hadn't felt before. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't stop reading! I can't wait to get her new book! My email is randmkelley@gmail.com

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    1. Marcia, I'm a slow reader, but sure do wish I could read faster! I am certainly drawn by the artistic focus in Kristy's novels and, like you, found it a great learning experience. You will certainly enjoy A Sparrow in Terezin. Best wishes in the drawing, Marcia!

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  4. Megan Hamsher
    wildernesstraveller[at]yahoo[dot]com

    My first thought when I pick up a book is what genre it is .. and more often than not, it's historical fiction... and it's usually either in Civil War or WWII eras,
    although I've wandered into other eras occasionally.

    My all-time favorite series is still the Rose series by Michael Phillips,
    closely followed by WWII Liberation series by Trica Goyer.
    There's Daughters of Fortune series by Judith Pella
    and Judith Pella's Postcards from Pullman series.
    Robert Vaughan has a really great WWII trilogy.
    Janette Oke's Love series, Canadian West series, Women of the West series;
    T Davis Bunn and Janette Oke's Song of Acadia series and
    Acts of Faith series (although that one is also Biblical fiction).
    Back to Michael Phillips with Shenandoah Sisters/Carolina Cousins,
    Journals of Corrie Belle Hollister, Stonewycke Trilogy, American Dreams,
    Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall, Caledonia, Hidden series.
    Lynn Austin is definitely unique ... I enjoyed her Refiner's Fire series.

    Absolutely loved Where Treetops Glisten
    by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam, and Sarah Sundin.

    Currently, I have not read but own:
    Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
    With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown
    The Swiss Courier by Trica Goyer and Mike Yorkey
    Wings of the Nightengale series by Sarah Sundin


    On my wishlist includes:
    Sparrow of Terezin by Kristy Cambron
    Heroine Behind the Line series by Jocelyn Green
    Love and War series by Rachel Muller
    Women of Valor series by Elyse Larson
    American Patriot series by J. M. Hochstetler
    Bregdan Chronicles Historical Fiction Romance Series by Ginny Dye
    Winter Passing Trilogy by Cindy McCormick Martinusen
    Love Abideth Still: A Novel of the Civil War by Scott R. Rezer
    Gunner's Run by Rick Barry
    Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men by Cara Putnam
    Wings of Glory series by Sarah Sundin
    Waves of Freedom series by Sarah Sundin (Book 1 comes out THIS August!)

    Jeff Shaara isn't Christian author, but he's also very high on my historical fiction radar.
    I love how he combines both sides, and, in his later books, how he used all different levels to tell the story.

    Probably forgot somebody and a book or tow, but that's what I can locate today!

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    1. Wow, Megan! Thanks for sharing all those authors and series. I enjoy various genres, but keep coming back to historical most often. The Revolutionary War era is my favorite setting, but there's not much of that in the CBA right now. As I scan through your list . . .

      -- I enjoyed Tricia Goyer's series, but haven't read any other of your favorites. Really want to try Michael Phillips soon, though.
      -- Loved Where Treetops Glisten also. A fun and unique collection.
      -- Loved Sarah Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series and am looking forward to her new series
      -- Heard great things about Jocelyn Green. I think one of her books is set in Atlanta, where I live, so eager to read some of hers.
      -- The first person to comment, Ann, also mentioned Rachel Muller, so she must be good.
      -- I read Daughter of Liberty, book #1 in Hochstetler's American Patriot, and it is absolutely wonderful, one of my all-time favorites.
      -- Read one of Martinusen's books and loved it, can't remember the title at the moment. I enjoy relationship drama and she excels at it.

      Thanks again for sharing all this, Megan. I'm going to keep up with your list. And good luck in the drawing!

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  5. Wow! This book sounds amazing! I've been curious about WWII ever since watching the old TV show "Hogan's Heroes" with my grandparents when I was a child. Unfortunately, real life was nothing like that series. It's heart breaking to read about those times and learn the atrocities people endured.
    Being a fan of WWII fiction, I would have to say my favorite author of the genre is probably Sarah Sundin. I also loved Kate Breslin's debut novel and am looking forward to her new book, whose title escapes me.
    Thanks for the chance to win! I'm anxious to read this book, as well as her first one (which is actually sitting in my TBR pile). :)
    ~Sarah
    bookluver1492[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Sarah, I remember Hogan's Heroes! You're right that it didn't reflect real life, but I think it gave some relief in the midst of a horrific war.

      I also enjoy Sarah Sundin very much and am determined to read something by Kate Breslin very soon. Sarah and Kristy are very different in their themes, which makes for excellent reading from both of them. Good luck in the drawing, Sarah.

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  6. I love WW2 fiction. I just picked up "The Butterfly and The Violin" the other day and am looking forward to reading it. I think that Tricia Goyer and Sarah Sundin's books have been my favorites in the genre, but I am thinking that Kristy Cambron is going to be a new favorite!

    connie (dot) randel (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. So good to see you here, Connie! I can't wait to see what you think of Kristy's writing. Everyone has different opinions, but I found both of these novels hauntingly beautiful.

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  7. I have not read Kristy's first book, but I'm fascinated with WWII fiction, especially Terazin. It is beyond me how the Nazi's could create and maintain such a farce. They destroyed so much art from other parts of the world, yet somehow encouraged it here of all places? I didn't realize so many children had died because of this terrible place. I look forward to reading about any bit of hope that can be derived from the situation! Please enter my name in the drawing for this book. susan(dot)stitch@sbcglobal(dot)net

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    1. Susan, I have a hard time with Holocaust themes, but Kristy's approach touches me greatly. With a prison camp orchestra in the first book and children's art in this one, she focuses on aspects of the war that I haven't read about before, and I found them highly entertaining and informative at the same time. Thank you for entering and best wishes, Susan.

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  8. I loved Kristy's first book, and can't wait to read this one! I've heard such good things about it!

    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Kate, I hope you enjoy Kristy's second book as much as I did. Best wishes in the drawing!

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  9. I haven't read Kristy's books yet, but they are on my TBR list. I like reading about the WWII period and one of my favorite authors for it is Sarah Sundin. Thanks for the interview and giveaway. momrain(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Loraine, I think it was Sarah Sundin that got me interested in reading WWII fiction. The soldier on the cover of her first book so closely resembled a picture I have of my Dad that I was hooked. I think you will enjoy Kristy's writing also. Thanks for entering, Loraine.

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  10. I have not read either of Kristy's books, but they both sound very powerful and moving. Would love to win this newest release.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Patty, I found both of Kristy's book powerful and moving, like you described. Thanks for entering the contest.

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  11. My Dad was in the Battle of the Bulge. His unit liberated a Concentration Camp. I haven't read this book but enjoy reading WWII Fiction.
    I would recommend the authors, Tricia Goyer and Brock & Brodie Thoene.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Janet, your dad's experience must make WWII fiction especially meaningful. My dad served in the war also, but in the Pacific. I would also like to read something by Brock & Brodie Thoene, just need to find the time. Good luck in the drawing, Janet.

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  12. I read the Butterfly and Violin and couldn't put it down! So excited about this book!
    shellymae1002(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Same reaction here, Michelle! I'm sure you will enjoy this book also. Thanks for entering today.

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  13. I have not had the privilege to read The Butteryfly and the Violin, and I can see that I must take care of that as soon as I can! I have been fascinated by WWII stories since I was a child and read The Diary of Anne Frank. I have had the privilege to visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and it left an impression that will NEVER go away!
    Thanks for this wonderful introduction to a book I would love to win.
    bettimace(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Betti, I have the hardest time with Holocaust themes, and while I know the story of Anne Frank, I could never actually read the book. I'm sure visiting her house was an experience you'll never forget. Best wishes in the drawing!

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  14. I have read the Butterfly & the Violin.. loved it.. can't wait to read this one :)
    dkstevensne AToutlookD OtCoM

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    1. You've got another great read ahead of you, Deanna. Good luck in the drawing!

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  15. I'm always reading WWII novels, being a WWII writer myself. I have The Butterfly and the Violin--amazing story.
    tlw131 [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. I didn't know you were a writer, Terri. Have you published yet, or are you still in the writing process? I share your opinion of Kristy's first book. Best wishes in the drawing, Terri.

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    2. Signed my first contract last month. (Still hard to believe!) My debut will likely be out in January.

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  16. Read and loved Butterfly! Now love WWI fiction thanks to Kristy and Cathy Gohlke's Amelie. Also recommend Sigmund Brouwer's Thief of Glory.

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    1. Danielle, both Kristy's and Cathy's novels were on my favorites list last year, and I'm not all that crazy about WWII fiction! Just goes to show how important rich characterization and emotional impact are for me. Thanks for entering today, Danielle.

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  17. One of my first was Anne's Diary. Read a lot of Corrie tenBoom's. I highly recommend hers to everyone. She was a part of the Hollocaust. My first of hers was In My Hiding Place. She went through so much and lost most of her family but never lost her faith in GOD. She encouraged the other girls in her small room. She was let go 1 day before was to burn.I'm really wanting to read Saving Amelie and A Butterfly and Violin. Murray Pura is a great author of these too. Guess I've always been interested in that war because my oldest brother served. Also 2 of my brother-in-laws. Also cousins and many close family friends from our small town. Only 2 never made it home. My brother will be 90 on June 6th. Would be very happy to win this book. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Maxie, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. No wonder WWII fiction is so meaningful for you! The emotional impact of both Kristy's and Cathy Gohlke's writing is incredible. Cathy has a novel releasing this fall that features Corrie ten Boom, so you might want to watch for it. I love it when you visit, Maxie, and best wishes in the drawing.

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  18. I loved the Butterfly and the Violin! It was amazing! I am really excited about a Sparrow in Terazin! I really like WWII fiction. I think they are my favorite type of historical fiction books to read! Right alongside Civil war!

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    1. Glad to see that both you and your mom enjoy reading, Sierra! My mom was an avid reader who got me hooked on books at an early age, and we had such precious times talking about books we shared. My favorite historical setting is the American Revolution, but that's not big in Christian fiction right now. Best wishes to both you and your mom in the drawing, Sierra!

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  19. Oh, my email is sierrafaith327(at)gmail(dot)com
    And Danielle Hull's (That's my mom) is madahull(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. I would love to win your book!
    ~Charis
    gracelz1[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  21. Loved learning the background behind "A Sparrow in Terezin"!! I love stories of WWII and have Kristy's first book, also books by Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin. I also have "A Sparrow in Terezin", however, would love to win a copy for a good friend with a lot of physical problems - who needs the inspiration of hope. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Shared post!!

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    1. Hope is what Kristy's books are all about, Bonnie, and I'm glad that you want to share with a friend who will definitely be blessed by it. The contemporary storyline in A Sparrow picks up where the previous books ends, so you might want to read them in order. Having you visit is always a blessing, Miss Bonnie!

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  22. What a great interview on a very painful subject! I have not yet read Kristy's first book but recently obtained on Kindle. It has only been the last year or so that WWII fiction has become interesting to me, not sure why as I was very much blessed by hearing Corrie ten Boom's testimony and speaking on Billy Graham crusades long ago. Anna Schmidt's series comes to mind, and am currently reading the Virtues and Valors series of Hallee Bridgeman's. Would love to read this as I have read so much about it! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks for sharing these authors, Jeanie. I enjoyed one of Anna Schmidt's early books, but haven't read the series you mentioned. Just need more reading time! WWII makes a great setting, as it spans so many areas and themes. Good luck in the drawing, Jeanie.

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  23. Hi Carole. I entered earlier but do not see my comment. I like WWll books for was when my oldest brother served and also two brothers-in-law. Also many other relatives and family friends. I like the books and there are many good ones by great authors. my top reccommendation would be Corrie ten Boom she has a number. First one I saw was A Hiding Place. She was in Germany during this war and her family put in Austwitch. Was very brave and very lucky to survive after losing most of her family, tho she said not luck, but God's plan. I would love to win Kristy's book and want to read The Butterfly and the Violen. And, really, really want to read Saving Amelie. I think it is by Cathy Golke. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Your first comment came through, Maxie - I just had a busy day and forgot to "publish" everyone's posts yesterday. What you share is always a blessing, Maxie.

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  24. I've not read any of Kristy's books yet, but I have seen them around different blogs & featured on Facebook. Definitely excited to get a chance to win a copy for myself. The rave reviews let me know I won't be disappointed! Thank you for the chance

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Trixi, I love discovering new authors that I enjoy, and I hope Kristy will be an exciting discovery for you soon. Thanks for entering today.

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  25. I haven't read Kristy's first book yet but both her books are on my want to read list. I do read quite a few books set during World War II. I think it's important to remember that era. Sarah Sundin, Cathy Golke, Kate Breslin, Melanie Dobson, Tricia Goyer, and Cara Putman are all authors whose World War II books I've read and recommend. Liz Tolsma's books look really good too, though I haven't been able to read them yet.
    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Pam, thanks for sharing those authors. I think I've read and greatly enjoyed all but Kate Breslin, who I'm determined to try very soon. Good luck in the drawing!

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  26. I, too, read and loved The Butterfly and the Violin. Would love to read this one, too!

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

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    1. Then you will love A Sparrow in Terezin also, Cheryl! The contemporary storyline picks up right where The Butterfly left off. Thanks for entering today.

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  27. I have not had the pleasure of reading Kristy's first books but would so love to win this one. I love historical fiction and reading about what happened in the Holocaust.Thank you for this contest. flowersmarylou85@gmail.com

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    1. Mary Lou, it's so much fun discovering new authors, so I hope you will soon enjoy Kristy Cambron as much as I do. Good luck in the drawing.

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  28. I do enjoy WWII fiction. I think it was a very important time in our history and should not be forgotten.

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  29. I've been hearing such great things about these two books. I must read faster to get through my list and get to them! :) Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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  30. I have not read Kristy's first book but I am extremely interested in WWII books. I would love to get started on her books with her new one!
    absbarge@gmail.com

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  31. Yes, I read her first book and found it informative as well as touching. I'd love to read this next novel also.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  32. I have Kristy's first book and I am going to read it as soon as I get my library books returned! I love the Brock and Bodie Thoene's WWII books! kosterbind (at) gmail (dot) com

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  33. I would love to read A Sparrow in Terezin. Recently won a copy of The Butterfly and the Violin. Very much looking forward to reading it! :)

    sydneyjames68@gmail.com

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  34. I haven't read Kristy's first book, but I do own it and have it in my to be read stack. Would love to win the second and be able to read them together!

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  35. I forgot to leave my address
    pooh (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  36. I love WWII fiction.
    Thereadmaster(at)me(dot)com

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  37. Ive never read her books. I do enjoy WW11 books. Thank you for the chance :)
    sue-hull64 at comcast dot net

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