Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: A Sparrow in Terezin

A Sparrow in Terezin
By Kristy Cambron
A Hidden Masterpiece, #2
Thomas Nelson, 2015


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 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.

My thoughts

Kristy Cambron is an author whose writing not only entertains, but makes me feel. After reading The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin, these are just a few of the qualities that I've come to associate with Kristy's writing:  humanity in the midst of the most horrific inhumanity . . . historical and character authenticity . . . haunting imagery . . . agape love . . . raw and honest emotion . . . heartfelt romance . . . God working through seemingly hopeless situations.

One thing that especially touches me is how Kristy focuses on some aspects of WWII that aren't all that familiar and shows how the arts were used to inspire hope in the darkest of places. In The Butterfly and the Violin, it was Adele having to play her violin in the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz for those walking to the gas chambers. And in A Sparrow in Terezin, it's Kája discovering her hidden potential as she teaches art to the children of Terezin. Kristy also runs a connected contemporary storyline along with the historical, showing how important legacies can be. I think it is these two factors that makes both novels capture my heart - stories that I might not have read otherwise because of their Holocaust theme.

I enjoyed Will and Sera's story from the previous book and it was great to continue on with their marriage, seeing how they dealt with issues many of us face - fear of rejection, the need for total honesty, and the importance of trust. As for Kája and Liam - what great characters! Sometimes it's not until we face a pressure-filled situation that we find out what we're capable of, with God's help, and that is the case with Kája. I was riveted to their story and their tender, emotional romance is one of my all-time favorites.

Vivid imagery is one of Kristy's strengths, as shown in this poignant description of the people of Terezin, seen through Kája's eyes:  "Those interned in the little city were somber, their expressions vacant. The old and feeble perched on benches, sitting like lost birds without a tree. Others walked about as dirt-covered ghosts, haunting the streets, their expressions of despair the most vivid thing about them."

While the Holocaust represents some of the worst evil of which man is capable of inflicting on another human being, we know not only that God never leaves or forsakes us, but that He works through those who are completely surrendered to Him. From the beauty of the Prague clock tower and the spiritual message of hope that it inspired in Kája, to a glimpse of God seen through the humane acts of an SS officer, God's timing and involvement in our lives is a central theme, as shown in Kája 's words to Liam:  "My father used to say that all of time is set to a clock - God's clock. We're given so much of it from sunrise to sunset each day. And it's in God's will that time continues to move. He watches over all of us, wherever we should go. . . . And especially when fear overrides our feeling of safety."

The imagery of sparrows always makes me think of God's tender care, and even Jesus used them as a visual in Matthew 10:29: ". . . not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care." A Sparrow in Terezin is a beautifully moving story, one that I highly recommend.

Be sure to visit the wonderful Pinterest board that Kristy has put together for A Sparrow in Terezin. And please click on the title, The Butterfly and the Violin, to see my review of the first book in this series - a story that made my Best of the Best in 2014 list. It goes without saying that A Sparrow in Terezin will be on this year's list!

You can also click on this link for a Book-Inspired Giveaway Basket filled with lots of themed goodies. Contest ends on April 28.


Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Find Kristy online at, Facebook, Twitter

Thank you to Kristy Cambron and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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1 comment:

  1. I read A SPARROW IN TEREZIN and so gladly endorsed this lovely, heartrending book. Kristy's ability to bring images to vivid life through words drew me into the time and place in ways so real I had a hard time reconnecting with the world when I finally put her book down . . . which didn't happen until I'd read the last page. I loved the way she connected young people to art through the story and was reminded what beauty can do for our world--especially when we're going through difficult times. I highly recommend this book, and thank you, Carole, for bringing it to readers through your blog!