Keeper of Secrets, The

Thomas, Julie

  15 Reviews

In an attempt to bolster young violinist Daniel Horowitz's interest in playing, musician Rafael Gomez sets out to track down a precious 1742 Guarneri violin owned by the Horowitz family but confiscated by the Nazis. It is an international story ranging from Europe to the US and the antipodes and reflects comprehensive research into what happened to Jewish families and their prized possessions.

With its riveting plot and its rich musical content, this is an intriguing mystery and a triumphant story of a family and its heritage.

Comments from Groups

We all rated this book very highly. Very well researched. Julie Thomas has a very good knowledge of music and violins. Many of her characters are drawn from real people or groups, and her empathy for them can be felt. A NZ author we can be proud of, and we recommend her book to others. Diamond Harbour 001

We had mixed feelings - some loved it, some didn't like it. The general feeling was that it described scenes in words rather than creating a picture. It was well researched, but we felt the author was under a compusion to include all the details she had found. We found the ending and Sergio's character a bit anti-climatic. Levin

A great read. We were all most interested in the history of violin making, and the ownership of these throughout the centuries; the beauty and durability of each instrument and pleasure to each owner - intertwined with the horror of life in the concentration camps. Napier 005

This was a great way to start the year. Whilst the topic was sombre, the style of writing made it an easy read. Winton 001

Our group really enjoyed this book. The story was 'a good one', and we had lots of discussion about wars - past and current; music (learning as children versus as adults); whether a lay listener would hear the difference between a superior violin and a standard violin; plus what little we knew about countries behind the iron curtain. It was one of our longest discussions and most enjoyable. Christchurch 196

We liked the story but felt the writing style was aimed at young adult/film scripts - not our favourite styles. Wellington 074

... For our group it was a fortuitous read, coming at the time of ANZAC Day. It gave us the opportunity to reminisce over WWll horrors, and the wonderful survival stories that came out of war. The book itself was a very easy read for us all, and yet although we all thoroughly enjoyed the book, it did not in any way dispel the need for discussion. I think it will be a book that we will remember for quite some time to come. Auckland 006



AUCK 389
Fascinating slant on music and old violins. It's unusual to find a book which describes the playing of the violin and its music so accurately almost as if the author was a famous violinist herself. It is interesting to read a book which describes violins (Guaneri) in emotive terms instead of text book descriptions.
DIAM 003
Amazing story, so well researched. Very very sad descriptions of death camps. Interesting characters throughout the story.
AUCK 412
Our whole group loved the book. Easy reading and hard to put down. One member checked online and found that there were another 2 follow up books by the same writer. She highly recommended us to read them also.
We had a mixed response - one person loved it and couldn't put it down. Others found it predictable or more like a young adult's book. All read it though.
The majority of our group loved this book and would recommend it to other groups. "A great read and written by a New Zealander", "It transported us to times and places and musical experiences", and " I loved reading the background on the famous violins".
CHCH 267
The book was really enjoyed by the musicians in our group. We would suggest to readers that they have a computer close by so they could access 'sonatas" etc as they are mentioned and played in the story.
An interesting story with an unforgettable main character. At times too long. Interesting philosophical questions.
WELL 142
A very happy meeting. All had read and most had enjoyed the book, although several had difficulty with the handling of time jumps, and the style of writing was sometimes a bit ponderous.
AUCK 236
Everyone loved this book.
CHCH 446
All enjoyed this book. Extremely well researched. It was easy to lose track of all the adult characters. Eventually all wrongs were "righted" even to the use of a bullet!
CHCH 446
A very popular story, loved by everyone.
All our members "enjoyed" this book, although several found the passages set in the concentration camp difficult to read. We were all fascinated to learn about the history of the violins. Our discussion was lively and went on for longer than normal.
Majority really enjoyed this war story told through a musical instrument. Well rounded characters and a satisfying ending.
HAVE 012
Great discussion on the effects of war on the Jews, and the making and types of violins - also parents nurturing their children to achieve, and the effects of choices made eg. music versus sport.
Most of us really enjoyed this book although there are harrowing accounts of the concentration camps. Most thought it was an easy read.