3 out of 4 stars
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What if Jews were still hunted and the Church was trying to bring back the Inquisition? The Violin Maker is an action-packed romantic thriller filled with secrets, spies, fugitives, chases, and some supernatural elements that spice up the book. The mysterious tone of a powerful hidden secret and the peculiar involvement of the Catholic Church might remind you of Dan Brown’s "The Da Vinci Code".
In this strange world, the sun doesn’t shine nearly as bright. We follow Joseph Davidson, a young student at the American Violin Making School. While visiting a museum, Joseph touches a violin that sends him through time. Another odd thing is his unexplainable connection with Rachel. Together they try to discover a mysterious heritage that haunts Joseph. The author, Glenn J. Hill, weaves an intricate plot using destiny, love, secrets, and music.
I picked this book because I’m a classical musician, so I was attracted to the prospect of a story around a violin maker. I was glad to discover it’s so much more than that. Glenn J. Hill is known for making violins and harps. This story probably has roots in his family’s history. I must clarify that musical knowledge is not necessary to approach this book. I was also allured by the premise of a fast-paced story, a changed history, and time travel.
The book takes us through California, Portugal, Spain, and Italy, while also showing us the past. The author cleverly links the present with the past through music and love, the most powerful things. The world is not explained right away, but rather the reader has to put the puzzle together to figure out what happened after the war. The author uses Jewish traditions like in no other book I ever saw. I had almost no knowledge of Kabbalistic Judaism until this book. Spirituality is a unique aspect of the book, making you feel like everything is connected. I enjoyed the creative ways the author used Kabbalistic elements.
The book could have benefitted from a better characterization. I felt detached from the characters. A more detailed backstory would’ve solved this problem. Joseph grew up with some family friends, but not many details are given about them or his childhood. However, the plot is so fast-paced that this matter can be easily disregarded. I expect a sequel to this book, as the author left the ending open. The book can benefit from a sequel that might develop the characters.
I enjoyed the way the negative character was built. The author depicts a sick-minded cleric in his ascension to power. Just the thought of what he does with the power makes my stomach feel sick. I must give credit to the author for the genuine monster he created. It’s not something anyone can write.
The book includes erotica content, violence, profane language, and incestuous thoughts. Better said, don’t read this unless you’re an adult! The editing had many flaws, which made me take a star from the rating, ending up with 3 out of 4 stars. Many unnecessary commas disrupted the flow of the writing in the most unfortunate ways. They were just too irritating to ignore. Although I had some problems with the book, giving it a lower rating seems unfair because I highly enjoyed it. It’s a book that reunites mysticism, action, romance, family secrets, and classical music. I recommend it to people who love reading historical fiction, romance, and thriller.
The Violin Maker
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