The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

A priceless violin. A family torn apart.
A decision that could change everything.

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 del GesĂș violin. But all is lost when the Nazis march across Europe, the Horowitz family's possessions are confiscated, and Simon and his father and brother are sent to Dachau. Amid ...

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The Keeper of Secrets: A Novel

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Overview

A priceless violin. A family torn apart.
A decision that could change everything.

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 del GesĂș violin. But all is lost when the Nazis march across Europe, the Horowitz family's possessions are confiscated, 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 in exchange for 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 just fourteen. When the boy, Daniel Horowitz, Simon's grandson, suddenly rebels and refuses toplay another note, Rafael decides he'll do anything he can to change that. After Rafael learns the boy's family once owned a precious violin, believed to have been lost forever, he thinks he might know how to get Daniel playing again. In taking on the task he discovers a family story like no other, one that winds from World War II and Communist Russia all the way to Rafael's very own stage.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A priceless 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin becomes a focal point from which radiates the story of a German family devastated by the Holocaust, a Russian family hiding secrets and a community of musicians. Thomas' (In Vino Veritas, 2012, etc.) novel sweepingly embraces generations of the Horowitz family. In 1939, Simon Horowitz follows in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather--all virtuoso violinists. Hoping to hide at least the most precious of the family heirlooms from the Nazis, Simon's father has the instrument--which has been in the family for over 150 years--subtly altered. Leaping ahead in time, the story picks up with Daniel Horowitz, whose talent at the age of 14 has already earned him the prestigious Hillier Foundation International Prize, as well as the kind attention of maestro conductor Rafael Gomez. Although the family did not lose its talent, it did lose the del Gesu during the war, which also sent Simon, his brother and his father to Dachau. Despite his gift--and to his parents' horror--Daniel would rather play baseball with his friends. While Rafael plots to keep Daniel playing the violin, another musician, Tatiana, captures the musical world's attention, not for her skill (which is certainly remarkable), but for her instrument. Rescued from prostitution, Tatiana is under the protection of Sergei Valentino, who allows her to play his family's 1729 del Gesu. Hearing her play in public, however, restorer Roberto di Longi becomes convinced that in her hands lies something far more valuable. Soon, Daniel's fortunes and the mystery of the del Gesu violins begin to converge, forcing Rafael to weigh friendship against justice. From unexpected mercies to unbridled greed, Thomas' tale is grand in scope, rich with musicality, yet the pressures of the musical coterie deflate when set against the horrors of the concentration camps.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062240316
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 115,953
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Julie 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2013

    I never had the talent of young Daniel in this book but I was br

    I never had the talent of young Daniel in this book but I was brought up in a musical family. The five of us all learnt piano (which our
    maternal grandmother taught), plus an orchestral instrument (all starting on the violin but while we three girls stayed on strings the boys
    moved to brass), and we all played in the concert band our father founded and conducted (the girls playing percussion in it). Now three
    of us make a living as professional musicians. So I can relate both to Daniel and to his parents, with their dreams and fears and
    encompassing love for classical music.

    This, of course, makes it hard for me to evaluate how well Julie Thomas has conveyed all of that to a reader who hasn't had a
    connection to the music world. But it seems to me that if it drew me in so fully, then it will also be very real to others.

    The story spans some 70 years as we learn the story of Daniel's grandfather and his family - Jews caught in the Holocaust - and the
    story of the Violin and what happened to it after the family were taken by the Nazis. We meet people with great passion and great skills
    and great hearts, and we experience love and suffering, all through the unravelling of the past as it becomes Daniel's story to hold and
    treasure. Daniel also needs to make a decision about his future. Who will help him with that?

    Although the pace of this book is gentle, its content will sit deep with you. It's suitable for both teenage and adult readers as it
    juxtaposes worlds of glamour with horror and savagery in a way that both wrenches at the heart and causes it to soar - an excellent
    novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 28, 2013

    A touching story about a music virtuoso of fourteen years old wh

    A touching story about a music virtuoso of fourteen years old who questioned his gift and the sacrifices that come with an artist's life.

    Daniel Horowitz is a violoin prodigy with a bright future ahead of him. But, he just wants to live a normal life while enjoying his music. Difficult to understand, accept and appreciate a musical gift when you want to be able to play baseball with your friends and live a life away from rehearsals, classes and concerts.

    Also difficult to be understanding parents when you see the incredible potential of your child ...
    Should you be pushing him, finding for compromise or just be supportive of whatever decision he will take ?

    But this novel also tells the story of a beautiful violin stolen from a Jewish family during World War II that reappears in the hands of a Russian millionaire in the United States. A violin enclosing the memories and emotions of all the hands in which it has passed.

    I spent a wonderful time in the company of characters and especially following the violin. 
    Soul-stirring!

    Lucie
    newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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