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The Keeper of Secrets (Horowitz Chronicles #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,041 Ratings  ·  329 Reviews
Beautiful and mysterious, this debut novel follows a priceless violin across five decades-from WWII to Stalinist Russia to the gilded international concert halls of today-and reveals the loss, love, and secrets of the families who owned it.

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

Berlin, 1939. Fourteen year old Simon Horowitz is awas
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 28th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published September 2nd 2011)
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Pouting Always
The premise was interesting but the writing was not that great and kept getting bored while reading and had to force myself to finish. Also plotline was obvious a quarter of the way in I think so that didn't help, you'd want to build suspense for a story like this one

Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-ebook, i-own
Great story about a missing Guarneri violin. The tale is told through several decades and the people who loved and knew its worth. I liked how the stories intermingled and came together at the end. 3.5 stars!
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

"The Secret Keeper" is the story of two families (one German Jewish and the other Russian) who are bound together by a single, priceless instrument: a 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin.

The Horowitz family loses everything in the Holocaust, including the precious instrument ... which, through a variety of circumstances becomes the property of the Valentino family. We see the story of both families, across several generations, beginning before the onset of WWII and ending in
Oct 18, 2013 rated it liked it
A violin, a family, a war, a young musician

"I would like to dedicate this piece to poppa (grandfather) and to all my family I never knew". Daniel Horowitz, a 14 year old violinist, says this prior to performing at one concert. His family is Jewish, from Berlin and many of them perished in the camps during World War II. They also had all their worldly goods stolen from them including a priceless 1742 Guarneri del Gesu. This is the story of that instrument and the people who played it and cared fo
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, Violin-Lovers
It's said that good things come in small packages. How true has that proven to be in this case.

I'm a student of violin. Violin is where I escape to, a place far away from my worries. So this book was a treat for me.

For this books protagonist is not a person, but a thing. If you can call a violin a thing, that is. The book revolves around a German family's attachment to their heritage.

To read the rest, go here/a>
Bev Walkling
For a debut novel I found this story very impressive. It moves between the past and present day in telling the story of an incredible violin and the different people who owned it.

The story begins in Berlin in February of 1935 when life was getting very difficult for anyone of Jewish ethnicity. Simon Horowitz is following in the family tradition of playing the violin - a tradition passed on from father to son and so on. His family own a bank and believe that nothing bad will happen to them. They
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
A fourteen year old Jewish violin virtuoso in Nazi Germany is linked to his counterpart in contemporary America by a priceless violin, superlative talent and family line. In my opinion, this was an unremarkable novel comprised of rather average character development, mediocre writing and a predictable, sweet plot dependent on implausible coincidences and extraordinary circumstances.
Michelle Silvestri-Oetinger
Very Pleased that I chose this book for a book club read. It caught my interest from the start. I enjoyed the parts of the book that describe family relationships and how the war affected those relationships. For me, it got a little complicated with the switching of the 1930's and present time and keeping all characters straight. I definately would read another book by this author.
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A heart-wrenchingly good book that I didn't want to put it down. The life of the violin is a wonderful tribute to things lost and found. I would recommend this book to all of my friends as the story sucks you in and leads you through a wonderful journey of life and love.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of a priceless violin, whose value is not only in monetary terms, nor in the beauty of its tone, but in what it means to two different families. Though the instrument was made in the 1700s, we are introduced to its history through a Jewish family in the US. Daniel, a young virtuoso violinist is battling with his parents, torn between his love for playing the violin and baseball. A wise conductor, Raphael becomes aware of the true history of the violin. Presently it is in the hands of a ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Upon finishing this book I wasn't sure know how else to describe it except that it's almost beautiful. In a way, it's kind of like a painting, in that even though I've seen (or in this case read) it once, I can't help but look back on it and smile.

The book includes three main story lines. The first is Daniel Horowitz, a fourteen-year-old violin prodigy, who isn't quite ready to devote his life to music. The second part, tells the tale of Daniel's grandfather Simon Horowitz, and the horrors he li
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: coming-of-age
This book is incredibly good. I won it on Goodreads giveaways and I'm so glad I did or I might not have discovered this author. I love Julie Thomas. I don't want to say anything about this story because I want you to discover all its magic on your own. I couldn't put it down.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books I love most in the world. Saying thank you to "The Keeper of Secrets" author, Julie Thomas, will never come close to expressing how much I see and feel in her writing, and and how much I treasure the story she brought to life for all of us.
Paula Howard
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

WOW!!! The Secret Keeper is a must read. The Secret Keeper is about music, WWII, the loss suffered by the Jews at the hands of the Nazi and human nature. The story goes fact and forth in time between the present day and WWII Germany with the same Jewish family. It is easy to follow and you are able to see the cause and effect of the events. The Secret Keeper is about the power of music - especially on the violin. The characters are so real you feel their pain. Julie Thomas has the ability to wri
Read because it was a mystery about a precious violin, lost in WWII, but reappearing 60 years later. I like music, particularly non-fiction about ancient instruments, and one of the "Troy" novels had a similar subplot.

What I didn't know is that Julie Thomas writes like Jeffery Archer. No character development. Russians always have fabulously tailored suits, women like strings of pearls, and underground, temperature-controlled safes. Jews are at best pitiable, requiring third-party deus ex machin
Elisha (lishie)
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, heart-wrenching story about a violin, a boy, family provenance, as well as innate gifts. Reading this I actually felt the music. Enough history to take my breath away... I cared for the characters deeply, in the present as well as the past & that all makes this a very well-written historical fiction novel for me.
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I liked:

Development of characters.
Intense - it was a page turner.
WWII time period

What I didn't like:

Strong language: (numerous F words)
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what beautiful writing...I loved this book. It made me very emotional. Thank you Elizabeth for the recommendation :)
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book came highly recommended but read like a Young Adult book. Basically interesting story about a family's attempt to regain possession of a fabulously valuable violin stolen by the Nazi regime.
Antony Millen
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Keeper of Secrets" is written by Cambridge, New Zealand author, Julie Thomas. I first heard about Thomas and her book just over a year ago in an article in the "New Zealand Herald" ( I had just published my first novel and was intrigued and inspired by her story as she, too, penned her novel while others slept and while she maintained a full-time career. I was also captured by her success at the time. After rejections from publishing houses, Thomas ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of “The Keeper of Secrets” by Julie Thomas from HarperCollins Publishers and I am very happy to write that it has been a pleasure reading this book. The story sweeps from pre-war Germany in 1939 to 2008 in the USA.
We meet a boy who is amazing at playing the violin but is torn between his talent and just being a normal – baseball playing – kid. Daniel Horowitz loves music passionately, but he also loves hanging out with his friends playing
“This is not so much [Daniel’s] story as the story of a German Jew, a Spanish Catholic, a Russian agnostic, and a rather special violin . . . .”

"The Keeper of Secrets" is a fascinating story marrying history with contemporary. It is also a multifaceted story told through various elements: characters, ideologies, cultures, families, a maestros, a virtuoso, artisans, heroes, villains, war and peace then and now, – linked together through the passion and brilliance of music.

Have you ever held an
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Keeper of Secrets" really is a story about a family and what brings a family together. I love reading about families and the ties that bind them. This book also involves a priceless violin and while I was never really good at playing any instruments (I failed at playing the flute and the piano), I appreciate the ability of music to bring people together. Add some great historical detail and you have a fantastic book that will keep you engaged.

I really enjoyed reading about the family at the
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I received a copy of The Keeper of Secrets by Julie Thomas as an Early Reviewer for in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

Initially, I did not think I was going to enjoy The Keeper of Secrets. The author's writing style was distracting with the abundance of adjectives used to describe every person, place and thing. I am not sure if, over several chapters, I became accustomed to Ms. Thomas' writing style or if the author's writing changed as her novel progressed, but I
“The Keeper of Secrets” by Julie Thomas captured my heart on many levels. It is a well written and emotional read. This is the story of a very special violin, the love of baseball and music, and Simon Horowitz’s wealthy Jewish family. It also is about the impact of World War II, Communist Russia and the horror of Dachau. This is a well researched book and part of the emotional scenes reminded me of several other books I have read such as The Book Thief and Rose Colored Glass. In this story, Thom ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book, possibly as the main characters - a young violin virtuoso and an interesting orchestra conductor - are such likable people. Also, part of the story takes place during the WWII time period and I always like books written about that period of time. This book has a way of flowing so softly, smoothly that makes it such an easy read. And difficult to put down. I liked the way that it flows between the WWII Germany time period and then to the present day, very seamlessly.

Julie Thomas can write. This book reads like it was written by a bona fide published best selling author. Currently it is a free kindle download - absolute proof that there are truly talented authors out there sharing their works for free.

The Secret Keeper tells the history of a priceless antique violin, through WW2 to modern times. On this description alone it is not perhaps a book I would have necessarily chosen myself. It's hard to try and shove it neatly into a genre - little bit of mystery
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I read anything WW2 / concentration camp / Nazi related and I'll admit to having some weepy moments throughout `The Keeper of Secrets`. The protagonist of Julie Thomas' novel is a priceless violin and the tale spans from Nazi Germany to Communist Russia to London and the US in 2008. I loved the fact that every single character was intricately woven with backstories and characteristics that jumped off the page - nothing kills writing more than flat, undeveloped characters. ...more
Nancy  Price
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read a number of books that combine a present-day story with its antecedents in World War II, but I especially enjoyed this one because of its musical theme. Daniel Horowitz is an American teen violin virtuoso who is unsure if he is willing to sacrifice being "normal" to fulfill his potential for a lifetime in music. A noted orchestra conductor takes an interest in his struggles and seeks to help him find the answer that is right for him. The story then moves back in time to Daniel's grandf ...more
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Ebooks for a $1 o...: My ebooks are free! 1 34 Nov 29, 2011 02:26AM  
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Julie started writing at the age of eight, stories about pre-revolutionary Russian princesses who rode troikas through the snow. She has worked in the media for over 25 years, radio, TV and film. She has written three novels and seven feature film scripts. In 2011 she sold her house in Auckland and moved two hours south to Cambridge, a glorious English style village, not unlike St Mary Mede. She s ...more
More about Julie Thomas...

Other Books in the Series

Horowitz Chronicles (3 books)
  • Rachel's Legacy (Horowitz Chronicles, #2)
  • Levi's War (Horowitz Chronicles, #3)

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