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A Sparrow in Terezin

 
A Sparrow in Terezin-Kristy Cambron
A Sparrow in Terezin-Kristy Cambron
A Sparrow in Terezin-Kristy Cambron

 
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Pros


Dual plot lines; sweet romance; realistic story world; excellent historical research and detail; well-written; excellent storyline; deep characters in one plot; beautiful descriptions

Cons


Too long to show the connection between the two time periods; inconsistent characterization; some confusing scenes


Bottom Line

My heart ached for the innocent children in this story, and Cambron’s outstanding and emotional writing really brought them to life.

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Posted April 3, 2015 by

 
Full Review
 
 

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.

 

 

Review by Katherine Wacker

T

he setting of A Sparrow in Terezin takes place in two diverse locations:  present-day America and Europe, and a Nazi concentration camp during World War Two. While there are some wonderful descriptions of the contemporary surroundings, Cambron’s best imagery is reserved for the stark environment of Nazi-held Europe in the 1940’s. The deprivation, desperation, and deplorable conditions experienced by the Jews are vividly depicted and, heart-breaking as it is, effective for story immersion. Although the author took some liberties to enhance the story, she should be credited for alerting readers about those liberties, and for doing the historical research to make the novel plausible.

A Sparrow in Terezin is told through two points of view: those of Sera (present-day) and Kaja (past). Each women are strong and determined to persevere in spite of the enormous obstacles placed in her path. Each character has a unique voice. However, the characters surrounding Kaja’s story are more believable and more sympathetic, where in comparision, Sera and those surrounding her lack a certain depth, and the present-day plotline reflects it. It is easier to identify with Kaja’s pain than with Sera’s because of the incredible suffering portrayed. The dialogue reflects each personality well and moves the story forward without burdening the prose with unnecessary information.

For me, the book starts slow, and it takes some time to warm up to the characters. There are a few curious placements of scenes and, at times, the plot doesn’t stay with one storyline long enough before switching time periods. However, when the story switches from the present-day to past events, the novel takes off because the scenes are gripping and the characters engaging.

A Sparrow in Terezin is a well-written tale driven equally by characters’ actions and external events. In the World-War-Two plot, there is no let-down in the middle, and the suspense grows into a spell-binding climax. However, the present-day plot is missing the element of suspense. There is a similar dichotomy in the endings as well. The historical plot has a surprising finish while the contemporary plot’s ending feels flat.

The conflict in A Sparrow in Terezin is balanced between the characters’ personal struggles and external events. The tension allows the lead characters to grow and develop as they overcome difficulties in a realistic way. Kaja’s character exemplifies this quality in extraordinary ways, which makes her even more sympathetic. The romantic angle of both plots is used to increase the story’s tension without saturating the entire plot. The love story is communicated sweetly and realistically, but with greater depth in the plot which takes place in the past. The spiritual message is strong and unmistakable. It permeates the entire novel without superficial clichés, and it explores timeless questions without a preachy tone pervasive in some Christian fiction.

A Sparrow in Terezin is geared toward Christian women, and it might also appeal to Historical Fiction fans. There is no objectionable content, but rather, the suffering is depicted in a moving way without graphic descriptions. This is a stand-alone novel, but the second in Kristy Cambron’s Hidden Masterpiece Series. I suggest reading them in sequential order as it continues from The Butterfly and The Violin.

Despite the lack of depth in one plotline, A Sparrow in Terezin is a well-written, incredible tale of love, loss, and God’s providence in the midst of dark times.

PROS:

  • Well-written
  • Excellent storyline
  • Deep characters in one plot
  • Beautiful descriptions

CONS:

  • Inconsistent characterization
  • Some confusing scenes

MY RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars (Good)


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