Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review & Giveaway: The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones


Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2011 by Berkley Trade
ISBN: 0425243052 (ISBN13: 9780425243053)
primary language: English

From the publisher:

Lauren O'Farrell is an "art detective" who made it her mission to retrieve invaluable works stolen by the Nazis during the darkest days of World War II. Her quest leads her to the Manhattan apartment of elderly Isabella Fletcher, a woman who lives in the shadow of a terrible history-years ago her mother was rumored to have collaborated with the Nazis.

But as Isabella reveals the events of her mother's life, Lauren finds herself immersed in an amazing story of courage and secrecy as she discovers the extraordinary truth about a priceless piece of art that may have survived the war and the enduring relationship between a mother and a daughter.

My thoughts:  First off I have to say I do not care for this cover; it smacks of cheesy romance or light chick lit. There's nothing wrong with romance or chick-lit but it definitely does not do justice to this wonderful story. Get past that and what you find inside is an intriguing story set during two different time frames. Kelly Jones did a terrific job of seamlessly shifting between pre WWII Germany and modern day New York City.

Isabella tells Lauren it's about time the story of her mother, Hanna Schmidt, and a Kandinsky painting was told and what a story it is! We first meet Hanna as a young girl who leaves her family farm to visit her sister in Munich. I found Hanna's story to be fascinating as she became involved with the Fleischmann family both at home and at the Fleischmann Gallery. Hanna had no art education at all, but she had a real love of and feel for the contemporary artists of that era. In time she became not only very knowledgeable but was considered to be an authority on such art.

What was also interesting to me was after Hitler's rise to power, it was his subsequent derogatory judgement of contemporary art that led Hanna to use the position Hitler had thrust her into to try to save some of the ill-fated art works. What was seen at the time as Hanna's collaboration with the Nazis was a disguised attempt to preserve certain paintings for future generations. I thought the Nazis stole art works for their value not for condemnation. A lot of the paintings were sold to finance the Reich but Hitler determined a lot of the contemporary art was not fit to be seen and had it destroyed. Jones skillfully weaves German art history into fiction that made the whole story come alive.

Between the two time frames I think I enjoyed Hanna's story the most; it was interesting to see how Jones developed Hanna's character from a naive sixteen year old farm girl to a talented and caring businesswoman and mother. The ending in modern day was wonderful and such an apt ending to Hanna's and Isabella's stories. If you are a fan of historical fiction, art or WWII fiction, I'm sure you would love this book. The end includes a readers guide. Most enjoyable! 4****

Kelly Jones can be found at her website. Her previous novels include The Seventh Unicorn(Berkley Books, 2005), inspired by The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries in the Cluny Museum in Paris, France, and The Lost Madonna (Berkley Books, 2007), set in Florence, Italy.

To celebrate the release of The Woman Who Heard Color, Berkley is allowing me to host a giveaway for one copy of the book. Open to US and Canada and the deadline to enter is October 23rd at 5 PM (est). Please be sure to leave an e mail address in your comment. Bonus entries available for this contest are as follows:

+1 for posting on your facebook page with link to giveaway
+2 for being a follower, old or new. Just remind me how you follow and under what name.
+3 for blogging (sidebar is fine) or tweeting about the giveaway. Leave me a link, please.


If you cannot leave a comment, you can e mail me at florida982002[at]yahoo.com with Win Woman Who Heard Color in the subject line. Leave your name and e mail.

Good luck!

Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Berkley Jove in exchange for my honest opinion.

37 comments:

  1. E mail entry for

    Marcia

    agirlandherbooks [at]printedage.us

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd love to win this. Sounds like a very good book.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  3. GFC Follower
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds like a really good book. Thanks for the chance! I follow via RSS.
    amandarwest at gmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm always amazed when some of the art work actually shows up - as is does - and the stories that go along with it. This book sounds fascinating but I agree that the cover is a bad choice.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. GFC follower as Karen B.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think I agree,too. The novel sounds much more deep than the cover would lead you to believe.
    I would love to read it.
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am a gfc follower
    debbie
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi there. I follow in GFC Savvy Verse & Wit!

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I love these types of WWII fiction.

    I've posted the giveaway in my sidebar. I posted on Facebook as well, here: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=301118586569803&id=108116422539816

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  10. oops forgot my email sorry about that

    savvyverseandwit at gmail

    ReplyDelete
  11. This compelling book would be memorable and special. many thanks for this opportunity. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a special novel which sounds unique. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. No need to enter me as I have a copy I will be reading soon. Just wanted to say great review, and I'm so glad to see you enjoyed it. I don't care for the cover either, but I've seen worse. ;)

    I'll get your review linked on War Through the Generations soon.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I found the backstory you provided in your review to be fascinating, and I would love to read this book. Thanks for sharing your insight on it with us!

    zibilee(at)figearo(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  15. Great review! This book sounds amazing! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    I'm an old follower via GFC.

    bookloversdiary @ yahoo . com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't like the cover but the book sounds good.

    GFC follower as SandyG265
    sgiden at verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hm, I avoided that cover because of the cover. I do like art, so I have a feeling I'd like this book after all. Please enter me. kathy(at)bermudaonion.net

    ReplyDelete
  18. The cover for this book caught my eye right away and the blurb sealed it for me. Coincidentally I just read a story about an art detective. I finished it a few days ago so the story is still fresh. I would like to read this one and like that it draws back to the past.

    I am a GFC follower.
    Cambonified [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
  19. This sounds like an amazing book! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm an old GFC follower (Margaret)

    Margaret
    singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  21. The cover draws me in every time, and then I want to read the story

    ReplyDelete
  22. Kaye, I think this book sounds wonderful. Please toss my name in the hat.

    janezfan (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  23. This sounds like a really clever book. I will have to keep my eye out for it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Don't enter me...I have a copy!

    I can not wait to read this one..I love Historical Fiction and I just know that I will love this one!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'd love to win this, it sounds really good! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  26. GFC follower as holdenj
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  27. You're right … that cover does not give an accurate flavor for the story you described!

    ReplyDelete
  28. nope...the cover looks too trashy for me to be seen reading this. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  29. this one sounds fascinating. And I'm in love with the title.

    carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Haven't read a story with a mother-daughter connection in some time. Love to read this.

    nanze55 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  31. That cover does not do the book blurb justice at all. The story sounds very interesting! I'd love a chance to win a copy. Thanks for the great review and the chance to win a copy.

    I am an old google follower-bthgordon

    bthgordon(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  32. thanks for the chance to read this novel...love the title of it :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  33. i'm a follower :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  34. I would love to read this book a woman who went against Hilter. I can tell from reading the story line that I could really get immersed in this book.


    +1 I posted this giveaway on Facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1802916392

    +2 I am an old follower under the name of Carol N Wong

    +3 I tweeted this giveaway:


    http://kayespenguinposts.blogspot.com/ Giveaway of " The Woman Who Heard Color"


    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. That cover is gorgeous and the premise is intriguing. I'd love to enter.

    I'm pretty sure I'm a follower already but I'll go check and make sure.

    mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for this great giveaway!
    +2 I am an old follower.
    laurafabiani at videotron dot ca

    ReplyDelete
  37. This sounds like a wonderful story. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

    + Posted on my sidebar at http://aseaofbooks.blogspot.com/

    + Here's my Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/ASeaOfBooks/status/127481274028929024

    + Old Follower with GFC

    + Shared on FB

    ReplyDelete

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