Berlin, 1939. Fourteen year old Simon Horowitz is awash in a world of music. His family owns a superb collection of instruments and at its heart is his father's 1742 Guarneri de Gesu violin. But all is lost when the Nazis march across Europe and Simon and his father and brother are sent to Dachau. Amid unimaginable cruelty and death, Simon finds kindness from an unexpected corner, and a chance to pick up a violin again a chance to live.
In the present day, orchestra conductor Rafael Gomez has seen much in his time on the world's stage, but he finds himself oddly inspired by the playing of an aspiring violin virtuoso, a fantastic talent who is only just fourteen. Then the boy, Daniel Horowitz, suddenly refuses to play another note, and Rafael knows he'll do anything he can to change that. When he learns the boy's family once owned a precious violin, believed to have been lost forever, Rafael thinks he might know exactly how to get Daniel playing again. In taking on the task he discovers a family story like no other that winds from World War II and Communist Russia all the way to Rafael's very own stage.
About Julie ThomasJulie Thomas lives in Cambridge, New Zealand. She wrote The Keeper of Secrets over a seven-year period while writing and producing television and film full-time.
Connect with Julie on Facebook.
I'm always a little leary of books that are split into sections, because it sometimes can become quite frustrating to try and stay up with it, not to mention that the jumping from one to the other can often confuse us.
I do think that in this case it was beautifully written, if anything the only complaint I have is that I was left wanting to know more about each person.
I'm a huge history geek, especially when it comes to World War I and II, and that's usually one of the things that draws me to a book. A good story filled with History and drama and sentiment, and this book delivers it.
But who are the main characters and why are they so important? Well Simon Horowitz's family owned a priceless violin in Berlin in 1939 and when the war descended upon them, everything was destroyed and taken, including the violin.
The story shifts to Daniel Horowitz who is Simon's grandson. A talented young man who can play the violin like no other. There's just a slight problem, Daniel prefers sports to the violin and isn't exactly prepared to become a musical prodigy. We then meet Rafael Gomez, the conductor who is desperate to help Daniel and to see that love for music shine through.
Hence begins a journey as the author takes us from past to present, across time, through some of history's darkest moments as we sit front and center with Simon in the concentration camps.
It was a wonderful story and like I said, one that I didn't want to see end.