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A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together. 1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young/>1914. A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together. 1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family. A half century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future.


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A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together. 1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young/>1914. A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together. 1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family. A half century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future.

30 review for The Silver Music Box

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 When choosing to read a book about the Nazis and the Holocaust, one knows they are opening themselves up to some of the darkest days in history. Yet, if the word gentle, could be applied to any book that touches on this subject, this is the one. The focus is on one Jewish family, the Blumenthals. The men Jewelers by trade, and the events that touch them are unveiled gently, with much of the focus on the Germans who were their friends, and others who went out of their way, at great risk to th 3.5 When choosing to read a book about the Nazis and the Holocaust, one knows they are opening themselves up to some of the darkest days in history. Yet, if the word gentle, could be applied to any book that touches on this subject, this is the one. The focus is on one Jewish family, the Blumenthals. The men Jewelers by trade, and the events that touch them are unveiled gently, with much of the focus on the Germans who were their friends, and others who went out of their way, at great risk to themselves, to help them. That is not to say they don't have their share of suffering and losses, just that is was different to read a book where this happened. The silver music box, is the connector between the generations, both symbol of love and a means of identity.i am not going to rehash the plot, the summary for this book, is one of the better ones. Gives enough away without saying too much. The first two-thirds of the book covers the family in Germany and starts in the 1930s, when they begin to realize where the future, for Jews, may be heading. This part is strongly written, well done and the focus is again on various members of this family. I liked this part very much, which made my disappointment with the last part vividly stand out. The last part takes us to the 1960's, and a young woman has had some surprising news. This will send her on a guest to find those forgotten or scattered after the war. Some of the revelations at this point lack the shock value, they would have had if this story had been told in a linear fashion. It is also a little over written ,and one line in particular I felt was cheesy, didn't fit at all. Still all in all this is a good story, with a different bent than many of these years. This is the book a mother can read with her young teen to introduce the Holocaust, much to discuss and not horribly graphic. ARC from Netgalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    4.5 stars The Silver Music Box is one of the best Kindle First books I have read. I started it this morning when I had a little free time and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. The book is beautifully written – it was originally written in German and then translated into English so occasionally a turn of phrase or expression is a little unusual but that didn’t impact the story one bit. The tale starts out slowly but really picks up about a third of the way in. Th 4.5 stars The Silver Music Box is one of the best Kindle First books I have read. I started it this morning when I had a little free time and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. The book is beautifully written – it was originally written in German and then translated into English so occasionally a turn of phrase or expression is a little unusual but that didn’t impact the story one bit. The tale starts out slowly but really picks up about a third of the way in. The silver music box is at the heart of the tale. As the book opens in 1914, Johann Blumenthal creates an ornate silver music box for his son Paul so that Paul will remember his father while Johann goes off to fight for Germany in World War 1. The story continues through the decades until the mid-1960’s following Paul and his family members and close friends with the silver music box remaining the thread that ties them all together. At times uplifting and at other times heartbreaking, the story sucked me in until I made it to the very last page. My favorite part of the book was Lilian’s story, and the path she is lead down when her adoptive parents die. Have tissues handy!! I also liked that a list of characters is included at the front of the book; it is very helpful because there are a lot of people in the book. I also enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end where she discusses her exhaustive research and the facts she altered a bit for the purpose of maintaining the flow of the book. I was happy to learn that one of my favorite characters, August Konrad, was based on a real person – what a pleasant surprise! The Silver Music Box is a wonderful and heartrending tale that will stay with me for a long time. When I read a story like this one, I can’t help thinking about the extreme divisiveness plaguing the U.S. today and wondering if humans will ever learn.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    This book is just amazing and one of the best I've read it a long time!~ Very hard to put down! There are a lot of characters in the book and they are listed in the front of the book and I found that to be very hopeful. The book starts in 1914 and father Johann Blumenthal creates a silver music box for his young son to remember him by when he goes to fight in the German WWI . The silver music box is at the heart of the tale and the book follows 3 generations of the family through heartwarmi This book is just amazing and one of the best I've read it a long time!~ Very hard to put down! There are a lot of characters in the book and they are listed in the front of the book and I found that to be very hopeful. The book starts in 1914 and father Johann Blumenthal creates a silver music box for his young son to remember him by when he goes to fight in the German WWI . The silver music box is at the heart of the tale and the book follows 3 generations of the family through heartwarming times and severe heartache. The music box helps to reunite what is left of a family after WWII. This amazing story will stay with me for a long time. Pub Date 01 Dec 2017 Thank you to NetGalley and AmazonCrossing for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    Visit the locations in the novel - Lubeck and Hamburg A story that sings and soars like the bird of the bird box. It’s made by a Jewish jeweller for his little son before the father volunteers for WWI to show he is a good German. This war story, is unlike any other in that it looks at the Jewish people and how they helped and worked hard for their country, helped others less fortunate and wanted to play their part in the war. It’s a poignant story and one where you gasp in hope one moment, cry in the oth Visit the locations in the novel - Lubeck and Hamburg A story that sings and soars like the bird of the bird box. It’s made by a Jewish jeweller for his little son before the father volunteers for WWI to show he is a good German. This war story, is unlike any other in that it looks at the Jewish people and how they helped and worked hard for their country, helped others less fortunate and wanted to play their part in the war. It’s a poignant story and one where you gasp in hope one moment, cry in the other and shed tears knowing that this is not going to end well. The premise of using a music box which joins the stories across time to tell the whole picture was nicely done and this is a book which is going to stay with me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mel (Epic Reading)

    When I read the blurb on the back of The Silver Music Box I expected a story that jumped between the past and the 'present'. Initially I was disappointed that this is not how the story is written. Organization Usually organization of material is only relevant in non-fiction; however, Mina Baites has made it relevant in this book. The blurb will lead you to believe that you will be reading the story of a woman discovering her heritage for half the book. While technically you do read Lillian's heritage stor When I read the blurb on the back of The Silver Music Box I expected a story that jumped between the past and the 'present'. Initially I was disappointed that this is not how the story is written. Organization Usually organization of material is only relevant in non-fiction; however, Mina Baites has made it relevant in this book. The blurb will lead you to believe that you will be reading the story of a woman discovering her heritage for half the book. While technically you do read Lillian's heritage story; however, it's very misleading as that portion of the story is only the last 70 or so pages. I would have much preferred to read up to a point when many of our characters are separated in WWII, or Lillian is dropped at the orphanage (not a spoiler it's in the blurb). Then a second book could have been Lillian's story that discusses her origination and eventually ties her to our previous characters. Main Story I adored the main story and the way it was set-up to focus on chunks of time that are relevant. There are points where it may skip many years but it never felt like I missed out on anything important. Additionally the main story is where the true value and morale behind the story of The Silver Music Box is pointed to. That morale is that: while events that may seem innocuous in the past they can become the reason something happens in the future. Baites shows us that karma is indeed true and that if you give something positive to someone you will receive positive back (albeit might take 30 years, lol). The End Story I'm calling the end story the portion where we move forward rapidly in time and find out the fate of our characters from the eyes of Lillian (the orphan). Instead of telling us the full story in the main story line we are instead told the ultimate outcome of our main characters as it it is told to Lillian, who is searching for answers about the music box. I found this to be very unsatisfying. I had no vested interest in Lillian and just wanted to go back to the POV's that I loved. That of Paul, Lotte, etc. And while some of our characters do tell their own story to our future gal it's not near as satisfying as if I had read it in order and from their viewpoint like the rest of the book is written. Overall I loved the first approx. 350 pages. The transition over to the orphan in the future seemed unnecessary and annoying. Almost like Baites was told to quickly wrap things up and so to do that she rushes the last of the story in to a flashback. I will certainly pick up Baites again. I really did love 75% or more of the book. I also adored the way a series of events created causality in the future. Karma can be a powerful thing and so Baites clearly illustrates that if you give to others they will (eventually) give back unto you or yours. For this and more of my reviews please visit my blog at: Epic Reading Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    This book was one of my Kindle First selections and so heart-wrenching! The tale of a Jewish family trying to flee the growing animosity towards they’re ‘kind’ from the Germans. It’s heart-breakingly accurate when you read about what all they had to go through. The characters were relatable and your heart went out to them as they dealt with the persecution, especially from those they thought of as friends. I love historical novels, getting to learn things from a different time and This book was one of my Kindle First selections and so heart-wrenching! The tale of a Jewish family trying to flee the growing animosity towards they’re ‘kind’ from the Germans. It’s heart-breakingly accurate when you read about what all they had to go through. The characters were relatable and your heart went out to them as they dealt with the persecution, especially from those they thought of as friends. I love historical novels, getting to learn things from a different time and I definitely learned a lot by reading The Silver Music Box. I highly recommended this one!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Epic family story spanning from 1916 thru 1963, in Germany, London and Cape Town, South Africa. The Blumenthal Brothers of Altona, Germany, Max and Johann, are jewelers and silversmiths, and have been doing business for years. Johann decides to volunteer during the First World War, leaving his wife and young son. Before he goes, he makes an intricate silver music box for his son, Paul. The music box never leaves his son's hand. Next comes the turmoil in Germany as Hitler comes to Epic family story spanning from 1916 thru 1963, in Germany, London and Cape Town, South Africa. The Blumenthal Brothers of Altona, Germany, Max and Johann, are jewelers and silversmiths, and have been doing business for years. Johann decides to volunteer during the First World War, leaving his wife and young son. Before he goes, he makes an intricate silver music box for his son, Paul. The music box never leaves his son's hand. Next comes the turmoil in Germany as Hitler comes to power. Paul is now grown and working in the family business. He and his family believe that although they are Jews, they will be “protected” because of his father's military service years before, but they are mistaken. Now married, Paul, his wife and young daughter, his mother, aunt and uncles need to decide what to do as the anti-Jewish propaganda takes hold in the entire country. Fast forward after the war to the early sixties in England, and a newly orphaned young woman finds her whole world turned on end because her “parents” kept an important secret from her. Now her goal is to find the truth and how it connects to an old silver music box. An amazing, emotional story that is difficult to put down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~

    3.5* From the blurb, I thought this was going to be about Lillian finding out about her roots and trying to research where her family came from and what happened to them during WWII, but that part of the plot doesn't come in until a little over 2/3s of the way through the book. Instead, it starts out with Johann Blumenthal fighting in WWI for Germany, then follows through to his son Paul at the dawn of the Nazis taking over power and Paul's eventual attempts to get his family out of t 3.5* From the blurb, I thought this was going to be about Lillian finding out about her roots and trying to research where her family came from and what happened to them during WWII, but that part of the plot doesn't come in until a little over 2/3s of the way through the book. Instead, it starts out with Johann Blumenthal fighting in WWI for Germany, then follows through to his son Paul at the dawn of the Nazis taking over power and Paul's eventual attempts to get his family out of the country. When things are looking grim for them, it then drops that storyline and jumps forward to the 1960s to Lillian, where I thought the story was going to start. It was a bit jarring to start off, since I wasn't expecting the story to be so linear, but in the end, I found it more effective getting to know the Blumenthal's and seeing their attempts to stay in Germany as long as they could before realizing - perhaps too late - that they needed to flee to save themselves. It was disheartening to see them doing everything they could to be good Germans, in a Germany that cared about them less and less, and to see the small steps that began to segregate the Jews from the main populace more and more until the Nazis were in power and didn't care about being quite so subtle anymore. (view spoiler)[This is compounded when they end up in Capetown in South Africa - they're safe there, but all around them is apartheid - which was implemented based on Aryan propaganda and laws. (hide spoiler)] I did feel at times that the characters were there more to serve as plot points, and Charolette suffers the most from this since she mostly just reacts while Paul is making all the preparations. Knowing how many women worked in the underground and resistance forces during WWII, I would have liked to see Charolette take a more active role. I also would have liked more time to get to know Lillian so her story arc could have more weight, but seeing her so driven to find out everything she could about where she came from and what happened to her family was touching nonetheless. The narrator, Jane Oppenheimer, who I first heard narrating The Moonlit Garden, was an odd choice I think for this story. She has a very mellow and soothing voice, which dulled the tension from a story that really should have been tense.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    If there was ever a "gentle" book about war (two wars, actually, The Great War and World War II), this is it. An uplifting book about war? This is it. I read it with my 11-year-old granddaughter. Tragedies. Horrible tragedies. But the book exudes such hope throughout. I will not spoil the ending because everything does not turn out for the best but it does turn out better than hoped or expected. And the centerpiece is a small, bird-shaped music box made by a Jewish jeweler for his little son bef If there was ever a "gentle" book about war (two wars, actually, The Great War and World War II), this is it. An uplifting book about war? This is it. I read it with my 11-year-old granddaughter. Tragedies. Horrible tragedies. But the book exudes such hope throughout. I will not spoil the ending because everything does not turn out for the best but it does turn out better than hoped or expected. And the centerpiece is a small, bird-shaped music box made by a Jewish jeweler for his little son before the jeweler volunteers for WWI--to show he is a good German. The exquisite bird is passed down through the family and helps reunite those who remain after the horrors of World War II.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eliz

    I thought this book was pretty good, up until the last section. It's in three parts, WWI, the years leading to WWII and the 1960s. The story of the Bluementhal family in the first two parts shows real people and issues. When we get to the third generation it's like the author rushed through and Lillian comes across as a shallow woman, and while she changes her mind, it's not done well enough to make you see any growth.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joan Bannan

    I guess I could consider this a page turner if I meant I found myself turning the pages rapidly without reading predictable paragraphs. I found it more like a journal than an novel. I realized last night that i was reading it just to have something to read while riding my stationary bike to nowhere. I'm abandoning it without finding out why the author chose this title.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    I really, really wanted to love this book. The story begins in Germany at the beginning of the First World War and ends in South Africa in 1963. It follows Blumenthal family through these years and tells of their trials and tribulations during this time. The silver music box is a family heirloom that also follows the Blumenthal family through the years. The premise of this story was very interesting and had a lot of potential. However, I felt there was a lot missing from it. It was almost like r I really, really wanted to love this book. The story begins in Germany at the beginning of the First World War and ends in South Africa in 1963. It follows Blumenthal family through these years and tells of their trials and tribulations during this time. The silver music box is a family heirloom that also follows the Blumenthal family through the years. The premise of this story was very interesting and had a lot of potential. However, I felt there was a lot missing from it. It was almost like reading a very extensive outline for the book. The story spans 50 very significant years in history and had a list of characters at the very beginning yet it was only 250 pages long, I usually only see a list of characters for much longer novels or for a series. I just didn’t feel engaged in the story or the characters until maybe the last 10% of the story. The author’s simple and pleasant writing style made this an easy read and is probably what helped maintain my interest in the story. I did like this book. I just wish there had more to the characters and the story. I just realized that this IS the first in a series ... I would be interested to read the subsequent books.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hohenbrink

    Not worth it This book is poorly written and the plot jumps forward many times skipping over crucial developments. The characters are not developed. The young men are all handsome and loyal. The women lovely but lack personality. I got this through Amazon’s first program, bu I wish I had chosen a different book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    Johann Blumenthal, a Jewish silversmith, has made up his mind. He will fight for his country, Germany, in WWI. As the author states: "They were men who loved their homeland and felt morally obliged to fight, since they had lived for many years in safety and harmony with their Christian neighbors and felt like full members of German society. They could have no idea of the catastrophic times that lay ahead." Before he leaves, he makes a memento for his son, Paul. A very intri Johann Blumenthal, a Jewish silversmith, has made up his mind. He will fight for his country, Germany, in WWI. As the author states: "They were men who loved their homeland and felt morally obliged to fight, since they had lived for many years in safety and harmony with their Christian neighbors and felt like full members of German society. They could have no idea of the catastrophic times that lay ahead." Before he leaves, he makes a memento for his son, Paul. A very intricate music box inscribed with his and Paul's name. Paul treasures the music box, even more so when his father dies saving a man at the Somme. Paul grows up and takes over his father's jewelry shop. It is now the 1930's and anti-Semitism is growing. Paul has fallen in love with Clara. In order to save their business, they change the name to one less 'Jewish' and decide to convert to Catholicism, to save themselves from discrimination. That worked for a time, but eventually the family became fugitives because they were not Aryan. Paul and Clara have one daughter and eventually another on the way. They are trying to emigrate to South Africa, where Paul's mother has sought and found refuge. London, 1963. We meet Lilian, a translator. Her parents have died in a car crash. They leave her a letter explaining she was adopted. They also leave her the tarnished silver music box. Lilian and her friend Sam then follow clues to eventually determine Lilian's true heritage. The book was well written and I learned at least one new thing; that one of the places in which Jewish people found refuge was South Africa. The author also states that many of the characters were based on real people. (Do not fail to read the Author's Note. It is chock full of historical tidbits). 4 stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    I was disappointed in this book. In fairness to the author, I'm always a bit hesitant to criticize a work in a translation. Some examples: the translation of The Solitude of Prime Numbers was superb (I do read French and some Italian); there is a world of difference between the original, very stilted Charles Archer translation of Nobelist Sigrid Undset's magnificent Kristin Lavransdatter and the later quite wonderful one of Tiina Nunnally. I have read that the English translation of Stieg Larsso I was disappointed in this book. In fairness to the author, I'm always a bit hesitant to criticize a work in a translation. Some examples: the translation of The Solitude of Prime Numbers was superb (I do read French and some Italian); there is a world of difference between the original, very stilted Charles Archer translation of Nobelist Sigrid Undset's magnificent Kristin Lavransdatter and the later quite wonderful one of Tiina Nunnally. I have read that the English translation of Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo series was badly flawed, but the power of the story and the characters nevertheless came through powerfully. The plot itself of The Silver Music Box, although rather predictable and not well-developed, has some interesting moments, but the tone and style are jejune, flat and, quite frankly, boring, and the characters are stereotypes. My friends know I am a very fast reader, but it took me four days to get through it. Although it is not categorized as young adult fiction, it might have appeal for some younger readers who are not familiar with the history of the period.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katz Nancy from NJ

    A really good book! I read lots of books about Germany before WWII and the Holocaust. Some are very good. Some are just OK. But I really enjoyed The Silver Music Box and look forward to reading the second book in this series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy Collins

    3.5 Stars. Review to follow.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Niles L. Kaplan

    Story too choppy, but very good in places I would have preferred Baites to have developed the story and characters in more linear fashion and in greater depth for greater interest and cohesiveness. For instance, by the time Paul tells how Clara died, his remembered loss had none of the devastating impact it must have had when it happened. Emma's character is all but lost so abruptly that the impact of her time with Lilly is diminished when she does return to the narrative. However, I was moved Story too choppy, but very good in places I would have preferred Baites to have developed the story and characters in more linear fashion and in greater depth for greater interest and cohesiveness. For instance, by the time Paul tells how Clara died, his remembered loss had none of the devastating impact it must have had when it happened. Emma's character is all but lost so abruptly that the impact of her time with Lilly is diminished when she does return to the narrative. However, I was moved to tears several times by the trials suffered by this family and those of the jews they represented who were trapped in the Nazi net. Also, I learned so much more about the kindness as well as the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans. Perhaps this could have been 2 books, the sequel being Lilly's story. I am glad to have read this book, and I always will remember it; however, it could have been so much better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marcy Heller

    Those who follow my reviews know that I'm not parsimonious in giving out stars, but I remind you that three stars means 'I liked it'. The Silver Music Box was a free Kindle selection for Prime members this month and I selected it when only a few had reviewed it, but all of those reviews had been five stars. The title of the book makes the denouement of the story somewhat obvious. I have read a tremendous amount of holocaust fiction and this book fits a mold that makes it a decent read Those who follow my reviews know that I'm not parsimonious in giving out stars, but I remind you that three stars means 'I liked it'. The Silver Music Box was a free Kindle selection for Prime members this month and I selected it when only a few had reviewed it, but all of those reviews had been five stars. The title of the book makes the denouement of the story somewhat obvious. I have read a tremendous amount of holocaust fiction and this book fits a mold that makes it a decent read, but it just doesn't stand out as an extraordinary book. The author wrote a plausible, interesting multi-generational tale, but there's too much competition in literature on her subject to make The Silver Music Box stand alone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Irfken

    A rare literary gem as the name suggests is almost impossible to find but once found it shines and illuminates the deepest recesses of the soul. This book is that rare gem. It's not often I find books that tear me apart and put me back together, books that just bring tears to my eyes and have a healing effect on my soul but that is exactly what this book did. I love historical fiction and especially WWII fiction and this book is the best work of World War II literature I have ever read putting t A rare literary gem as the name suggests is almost impossible to find but once found it shines and illuminates the deepest recesses of the soul. This book is that rare gem. It's not often I find books that tear me apart and put me back together, books that just bring tears to my eyes and have a healing effect on my soul but that is exactly what this book did. I love historical fiction and especially WWII fiction and this book is the best work of World War II literature I have ever read putting the likes of buzzed about albeit mediocre and overrated books like The Nightingale and Salt to the Sea to shame. This book also lacks all the pretension of All the Light We Cannot See and is all the better for it. It is simply put, a heartbreaking and powerful story of family. Beautifully written and powerfully resonant, it follows the trials and tribulations of a Jewish family, their loves and struggles through WWI and WWII. It centers around a beautiful music box a father made for his son and how such a small object can hold so much pain, joy, sorrow and history. It's the story of a family and a people through love, evil and war and the search for family and identity, I have never read a book that captures humanity and emotion so powerfully. I am truly moved to tears and I rarely cry when reading. It's a translated book and a great and important one that I would implore everyone to read especially in today's times.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paula Girard

    Back to historical fiction and this interesting cross-generational novel about a Jewish family divided by World War II. I don't know why I am so drawn to this time period but I am and this novel did not disappoint. Really enjoyed it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    I was lucky enough to win this Kindle edition from Goodreads (Thank you!). What a heartbreaking read. The book spans three generations, through two World Wars, and a silver music box that ties them all together. Johann Blumenthal, a Jew, is a silversmith who creates the music box for his son, Paul, before he leaves for WWI. Paul then gives it to his daughter Margarethe during the outbreak of WWII. The book centers around the music box and the love each father has for his child. The book is basic I was lucky enough to win this Kindle edition from Goodreads (Thank you!). What a heartbreaking read. The book spans three generations, through two World Wars, and a silver music box that ties them all together. Johann Blumenthal, a Jew, is a silversmith who creates the music box for his son, Paul, before he leaves for WWI. Paul then gives it to his daughter Margarethe during the outbreak of WWII. The book centers around the music box and the love each father has for his child. The book is basically three sections, each generation. The first section is about the making of the box and the love Johann has for his son before he leaves to fight in WWI for Germany, fighting as a Jew which was not very popular. The second section is about Paul keeping his father’s jewelry store afloat while the horrors of WWII begin, what they went through as a family even though Paul and his wife had converted. The third section was about Paul’s second daughter, the keeper of the music box, finding her family after riding the kindertrain to England at the outbreak of WWII while the family was trying to emigrate to South Africa. I liked this book A LOT, the story of each generation was so engrossing you could actually see and feel the emotions. However, the third section felt rushed to me -- Lillian finding out her real existence and what happened. I felt a lot happened in just a few pages that could have been a lot more of the book. In the end, it did make me cry, all the heart ache that Paul went through to keep his children safe. The one part that did kind of frustrate me, was in the acknowledgments where the author talked in depth about the real August – which was actually a couple of pages – and how little of August’s story was in the book (perhaps there could be a sequel of August’s story – hint, hint!). I would definitely recommend this book to friends, especially those that love WWII and horrors of Hitler.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    Before setting off to fight for his country of Germany in World War 1, Johann Blumenthal gives his son Paul a beautiful music box. Paul treasures this item as he grows into a young man who runs the jewelry store his family has owned for years. But because the Blumenthal family is Jewish, the family business and their lives will be changed forever as the Nazis come into power. This is a story of what people are willing to sacrifice in the name of love and their dreams. This was an incr Before setting off to fight for his country of Germany in World War 1, Johann Blumenthal gives his son Paul a beautiful music box. Paul treasures this item as he grows into a young man who runs the jewelry store his family has owned for years. But because the Blumenthal family is Jewish, the family business and their lives will be changed forever as the Nazis come into power. This is a story of what people are willing to sacrifice in the name of love and their dreams. This was an incredible historical fiction novel. I have read many books taking place right up to and during World War 2 but was not very familiar with role of Jewish soldiers fighting for Germany in World War 1. I thought the story of Paul and Clara was fascinating and what they were willing to do in order to fulfill Clara's dream. I loved the role of the music box in the story and how it spanned generations. Knowing how history played out it made for tense reading at times but in my opinion it is a book well worth reading because it accurately shows the tough decisions people had to make during that time period. I definitely recommend to anyone who has an interest in historical fiction.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com

    The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites (translated by Alison Layland) is a historical fiction novel which takes place during World War II. Ms Baites lives in Germany and is the author of several books. Johann Blumenthal, a Jewish silversmith, creates a magnificent music box for his little boy, Paul, before volunteering to go to the front during World War I. Paul keeps the music box as a treasure he will never let go of. Decades later, Lilian Morrison of London, discovers the m The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites (translated by Alison Layland) is a historical fiction novel which takes place during World War II. Ms Baites lives in Germany and is the author of several books. Johann Blumenthal, a Jewish silversmith, creates a magnificent music box for his little boy, Paul, before volunteering to go to the front during World War I. Paul keeps the music box as a treasure he will never let go of. Decades later, Lilian Morrison of London, discovers the music box which opens up doorways to the past and sends her on an amazing journey. When I saw The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites I knew that this book would be right up my ally, and I was not wrong. The author wrote a very compelling story taking place over decades in one of the darkest times in our recent history. Ms. Baites created an interesting narrative, combining it with informative information and fascinating characters. The story is very interesting and engaging. Somehow, however, the author managed to completely skip over the holocaust and German atrocities. She describes life in the 1930s in Germany, how all the anti-Jewish laws had a devastating effect on persons and families, but then we move forward several decades. It works, there is nothing wrong with the storytelling – I just found it strange. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, it was well written and engaging. The characters were developed, interesting and likeable, the family’s journey was amazing and horrible as the reader could sense their hopeless depression and refusal to believe what their eyes see. The second part was good, just not as good and somewhat predictable. One of the most disturbing aspects for novels like this, at least to me, is that I can imagine the behavior that people display at those evil times in Germany repeating themselves easily, almost with the snap of a finger. This is something, I believe, that we must always keep in mind, telling ourselves that us, or our friend, will never act like that is fooling ourselves. For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kymm

    This was a fantastic book. I wasn't sure when I got it because I'd not heard anything about it, but it was free on Kindle Unlimited, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's the story of a family who goes through WWI, as well as the horrors that led up to WWII, but it's not only the family that you're following throughout the book, it's also a silver music box. The music box was made by Johann the father and given to his son Paul upon his leaving for WWI. The author does an amazing job of not only t This was a fantastic book. I wasn't sure when I got it because I'd not heard anything about it, but it was free on Kindle Unlimited, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's the story of a family who goes through WWI, as well as the horrors that led up to WWII, but it's not only the family that you're following throughout the book, it's also a silver music box. The music box was made by Johann the father and given to his son Paul upon his leaving for WWI. The author does an amazing job of not only telling a great story of this music box and it's subsequent owners through the years, but of describing what the person who's received it is going through at the time they receive the music box. The story follows the travels of this music box through to the 1960's where Lillian receives it after her parents are killed in a car accident, she has no idea what it means and becomes determined to find out. There's a sequel to this book which goes further into her quest for truth about the mysterious music box and it's owners, which I've already started. Seriously, I was taken in with this book from page 1 and couldn't put it down until I'd read the last word. It's sad at times, as most of these types of books can be, but there are moments of happiness mixed in. If you're a historical fiction fan and want something different than your normal WWI or WWII story this is it. It really is that good!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Historical fiction holds a special place in my heart. Especially WWII. My four star is because of the fast forwards in time. I wanted it all. I’d have sat down and read this family’s story even had it been 700+ pages. The tragic and horrific events of WWII are dehumanizing. And in a sense it sickens me because I can sit here and call them “events.” I react on an emotional level to the written word in historical books (albeit a fiction or a textbook) and I’m aware that these were defining times i Historical fiction holds a special place in my heart. Especially WWII. My four star is because of the fast forwards in time. I wanted it all. I’d have sat down and read this family’s story even had it been 700+ pages. The tragic and horrific events of WWII are dehumanizing. And in a sense it sickens me because I can sit here and call them “events.” I react on an emotional level to the written word in historical books (albeit a fiction or a textbook) and I’m aware that these were defining times in people’s lives. I can not imagine being a parent faced with the decision of what to do to save my children. Or those who make life altering choices to no longer have to suffer. To leave the place they once called home because they’re no longer welcome or to leave prior to being forced. I think my pull towards HF books is not only the history but the hundreds of thousands of stories of individuals and family’s and how they overcome and survived. I experience these events WITH the characters, I respect these individuals and their choices and I can find the beauty that these individuals managed to find whilst living through such hatred and bigotry. The fact is that these events are real. And for me...I see what I’ve stated above in every historical fiction book I’ve experienced.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The Silver Music Box was a beautiful, touching story spanning nearly 50 years. At the centre of the story was the silver music box, made in 1914 by Jewish silversmith, Johann Blumenthal, for his then four-year-old son, Paul, before the father joined up during the Great War. The book was basically divided into three sections - Johann, Paul and Lilian - although Paul's life was given the greater focus. His struggle to protect his family from Hitler's clutches was not only terrifying, but h The Silver Music Box was a beautiful, touching story spanning nearly 50 years. At the centre of the story was the silver music box, made in 1914 by Jewish silversmith, Johann Blumenthal, for his then four-year-old son, Paul, before the father joined up during the Great War. The book was basically divided into three sections - Johann, Paul and Lilian - although Paul's life was given the greater focus. His struggle to protect his family from Hitler's clutches was not only terrifying, but heart-wrenching. The choices he had to make were ones no parent should ever have to face. I loved his story the most although both Julian's and Lillian's stories were still engrossing. I liked Lilian and her determination to uncover the story behind the music box which unexpectedly came into her possession. In fact, I cried more in her story as she journeyed back to Germany, than I did in either Paul's or Juliann's section. Unfortunately, though, her story felt a bit rushed. A lot happened in a few pages and when I reached the end, I still wanted more. The Silver Music Box was an engaging read with wonderful characters and a captivating storyline that took me on an emotional journey of joy and heartbreak from the first to the last page. A delightful read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    I was really touched by this story. It has a bit of everything, horrors of war, sadness, family, losses, but most of all love and strength to get people through the war. The start is in 1914 involving a silver music box created with love for a son. Somehow through many years, the little box survives although a little worn. When we meet Lilian, I was fascinated by her story and how that turned out. The author put her whole heart into this book and it was a quick read since i I was really touched by this story. It has a bit of everything, horrors of war, sadness, family, losses, but most of all love and strength to get people through the war. The start is in 1914 involving a silver music box created with love for a son. Somehow through many years, the little box survives although a little worn. When we meet Lilian, I was fascinated by her story and how that turned out. The author put her whole heart into this book and it was a quick read since it's hard to put down but I felt so much a part of it. Such beautiful descriptive writing! This book even had a cast of characters at the beginning which was handy because of the many years we journey through this story, we meet a large group of characters. The ending had a note from the author in which she tells of all her research that went into the creating of this book. She also tells of a character that was based on a real person. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading next in this historical series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book is outrageously great! It is quite an achievement by an author to hold the attention of readers for any length of time. And I couldn't put this novel down for any length of time! "The Silver Music Box" is a deceptively simple story of a family who are silversmiths and Jewish in Europe during the first half of the 20th century. At the heart of this book is a beautifully crafted silver music box that follows the family and is actually the main character of the book. It is the heart of th This book is outrageously great! It is quite an achievement by an author to hold the attention of readers for any length of time. And I couldn't put this novel down for any length of time! "The Silver Music Box" is a deceptively simple story of a family who are silversmiths and Jewish in Europe during the first half of the 20th century. At the heart of this book is a beautifully crafted silver music box that follows the family and is actually the main character of the book. It is the heart of the family as it passes from one generation to another. The characters are extremely well written and the plot takes us on a journey of joy and heartbreak that the reader will not soon forget. I received this book from NetGalley and Amazon Crossing in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hamilton

    I had high hopes for this novel. I really wanted to love it, but ultimately, it was just ok for me. The premise of the book, a keepsake that helps a family reunite after the atrocities of the Holocaust was interesting to me. The problems for me were that the development of main characters was inconsistent, the plot dragged in places it shouldn’t have, and was rushed in places that needed more exploration, and the ending fell too neatly into place: particularly for a story within the context of t I had high hopes for this novel. I really wanted to love it, but ultimately, it was just ok for me. The premise of the book, a keepsake that helps a family reunite after the atrocities of the Holocaust was interesting to me. The problems for me were that the development of main characters was inconsistent, the plot dragged in places it shouldn’t have, and was rushed in places that needed more exploration, and the ending fell too neatly into place: particularly for a story within the context of the Holocaust.

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