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The Violin Maker's Daughter

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,651 ratings  ·  144 reviews
When the Nazis march onto the cobbled streets of Colmar on November 1st 1940, Josef, a Jewish violin maker, gathers his wife and daughters closely to him and tells them everything will be alright.

But one year later, three sharp knocks on the door at midnight turn his seventeen year old daughter Sarah’s world upside down. As the oldest child, Sarah must be the first to
Kindle Edition, 380 pages
Published July 19th 2019 by Bookouture (first published July 17th 2019)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,651 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Bev Walkling
Many thanks to #NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me an advance copy of The Violin Maker’s Daughter by Sharon Maas to read. What follows is my honest review.

The first thing that drew me to this book was the wonderful cover art which caught my attention and let me know that the book was set in the time of World War 2 - a time I am always fascinated to read about.

The story begins in Colmar, a city in the north-eastern region of France located in what was known as Alsace, a region which was
Deanne Patterson
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If only I could give this book 100 stars rather than 5!
This book captivated me right from the start.
This book is epic, a mesmerizing book of strength through unimaginable losses.
A forbidden love but will it be enough to overcome the pressure around them?
Heartbreaking and beautifully written this gripping tale of bravery and standing up for what you believe in despite the odds being against you.
One of the best and most memorable historical books I've ever read!
Expected publication: July 19th 2019
Teresa “Teri”
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Maas has become one of my favorite authors this summer! The first book I read, "The Soldier's Girl", was excellent in a way that was unexpected. Both of these books about WWII and the French Resistance in the area of Alsace (which it seems has changed hands between Germany and France, etc. many different times over the centuries!) have quite a lot of the same characters who occur in both books during the same time frame. However, I wouldn't call it a series or even say you have to read ...more
Queen Cronut
Jun 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arcs, 2019, netgalley
Set during World War II in German-occupied France, The Violin Maker's Daugther follows the story of Sarah Mayer, a Jewish girl fleeing the Nazis with the help of Rolf, a German soldier deserter. I really liked the premise of this book but I wasn't very impressed by the execution of it.

I didn't really connect with Sarah and found her character very two-dimensional. She was an extremely sheltered girl and very naive- I was surprised she wasn't captured by the Germans two seconds after leaving
Renita D'Silva
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sharon Maas never disappoints! She is one of my favourite authors and with this wonderful, harrowing, heart breaking tale of courage and love in the face of unimaginable danger, she has cemented her place as one of the best historical fiction writes of today, right up there with Antony Doerr and Kristin Hannah. I SO loved this beautiful story, Sarah's coming of age in a time of turmoil was so stunningly realised. For me, it made the war come alive, the suffering and angst of ordinary people, ...more
Alayne Emmett
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book right from the beginning until the very last page. It was interesting, sad but also sweet and exciting.
The story carried me along and I didn’t notice the pages turning as all I wanted to do was to keep on reading to find out what happens.
Although I guessed what happened to the girls family and also who she ends up with it was still a brilliant read.
It starts in WW2 in Germany which makes a change as most books I read start in England during the war. It gives you an insight into
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Alsace and I was eager to hear more about the region after reading the author's previous book. The area was touched on a few times and I remembered several places after visiting there.

I found Sarah to be a really irritating and childish nearly to the point of giving up the book! I stuck with it and towards the end of the book she improved.

I found this one lacking in comparison with the previous book.
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Here is another WWII historical fiction that I continue to be drawn to. This is a heartbreaking story, yet again, of a family being torn apart during the occupation of Nazis.

Through much of the book we see Sarah acting like an over protected child. Well, she is only a child and she was over protected by her parents who loved her very much. Parents that thought that they were going to go on and live an ordinary life until the unspeakable happens.

I liked the book and I do recommend it to anyone
Karren  Sandercock
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley, Bookouture and Sharon Maas for my digital copy of her new book: The Violin Maker's Daughter.
Josef Mayer is a skilled violin maker he decided to keep his Jewish ancestry a secret, he lives a quiet life with his wife Leah and five daughters in Colmar. His plan is to evade attention by keeping their heads down, live a quiet life and during this troubled time it's impossible to a keep secret. One day two German soldiers arrive at his shop and inform him that he needs to provide
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Here, we’re transported to Alsace-Lorraine, as Sarah, the eldest daughter of the Mayer family, takes a dangerous journey through France to escape persecution as a Jew.

This does have the feel of a gripping adventure story, as Sarah and Ralf (the runaway German soldier she falls in with) negotiate their way from Alsace-Lorraine to France and safety. Along the way, they meet with Resistance fighters, learn how to pass undetected past checkpoints and blockades and turn their hands to spying and
Sylvia Ward
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
The story of the WWII plight of a non-practicing Jewish luthier apprentice who must flee her home in France during the German invasion. This was a page-turner as I anxiously waited to see what happened to young Sarah Mayer as she matured from an innocent and sheltered young woman to a revolutionary. However, the writing lacks polish as the plot moves along impatiently and without depth. Many scenes felt contrived, shallow, and predictable. It feels as if this story, with so much potential to be ...more
Meg at
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can’t Get Enough Historical Fiction…
So for the past eight months or so, I’ve been on a bit of a historical fiction kick. Basically every other novel I would check out from my local public library—was historical fiction. Much of it had been based in, Stalin’s Soviet Union. Often the in the ‘40s. But I wanted to enjoy a story from another part of Europe in that era.

Hence when I was given the opportunity to read an advance copy of, Sharon Maas’s newest historical fiction novel—The Violin Maker’s
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sarah, her parents and her four sisters live in Colmar in the Alsace region – one that ping-ponged between French and German rule for much of World War II. Non-practicing Jews, with a Christian mother, the family doesn’t have the onus of “Juden” on their papers: in fact, only a few of their most trusted friends even know that her father is Jewish. Their surname of Mayer is very Germanic, and the girls all had names more French than Jewish, leaving them reasonably ‘safe’ in a wholly unsafe place. ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Any story which has a WWII background whether it is from any country involved in the war is poignant and very emotional. This one is no different.

Even when the Nazis walk into Colmar Josef a secular Jew believes he will be safe. He produces beautiful violins for a living and thinks that it is all a question of too much hype. When the actual situation dawns on him it is very late, and he has to think of a way to get his children away. He succeeds with his eldest sent at the age of 17 from an
Jean Blankenship
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peggy Morley
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good read but sad and uplifting at the same time

A good read but sad and up lifting the same time will stay with me for a long time it
Jean Blankenship
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Violin Maker’s Daughter by Sharon Maas is a World War 2 novel of love, spying and lots of action. I became absorbed in the characters from the beginning. Sarah in the first two parts of the book was so naive and childish. She was so annoying. She was Jewish with a German name and passed as a German. She was the first daughter that had to flee from her home in Colmar. Her father was a violin maker. Sarah meets a German soldier, Ralf, who she hates because he is a nazi. Ralf hates Hitler and ...more
Lee Husemann
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sarah Mayer is the eldest of 5 daughters of luthier Josef and Leah Mayer, nonsecular Jews in France 1940. When the Germans invade France and start deporting the Jews, Josef decides to send his family to a safer place via the underground and Sarah is the first to leave. This is the very well-written story of her flight to freedom and the various people she encounters, some trusting and others not so. I really enjoyed this book; however, I really disliked the character of Sarah who came across as ...more
Emma Crowley
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Sharon Maas takes us back to the town of Colmar in the Alsace region of France which has now been annexed and is in total control of the Germans during World War Two. This was the setting for her previous novel The Soldier's Girl and it was great two to see one or two characters from that book make a reappearance in this new book The Violin Maker's Daughter although be it on a more secondary level. It is 1943 and the Mayer family - father Josef, mother Leah and their five daughters Sarah, ...more
Wendy Brown-Baez
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
With so many books out about the war, this one has a different perspective of escape to safety, the efforts of the underground resistance, and the unlikely companionship between a Jewish girl and a German soldier. I am not finished with it yet, since I read it on my Amazon fire only when I am traveling but lingering over it is an appropriate way to be immersed in the journey.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Violin Maker's Daughter has a protagonist, Sarah, who is sheltered and immature. Her family, her parents and four younger sisters, live in the Alsace region of France which has been annexed by the Germans. The family is of non-practicing Jewish heritage and they initially ignore the call for all Jews to register and then be deported. Eventually, however, the father decides that they can no longer rely on the sympathy and
Avis Ross
Aug 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed by this book. Reading about the brave deeds of the civilian population during the wars is important to me, because so few of those people are left to tell of their heroism.This book had a lot going for it, plotwise, until it veered off into explanations of the heroine's childish behavior, which should have caused numerous deaths, but didn't, by some miracle. In spite of this, the hero, who showed a bit of backbone and responsibility, stayed in love with her. I found ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Violin Makers Daughter by Sharon Maas ISBN 1-78681-979-1 / 978-1-78681-979-6

A riveting tale of impressionable Sarah, an apprentice violin maker and non-practising Jew in the midst of a raging war, systematically spreading throughout Europe. The first time the Nazi’s appear they decide to hide their Jewish background and stay in their beloved family home. The terrorizing wait to see if they can remain hidden and be left in peace…. The ultimate betrayal eventually comes to call and their
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Violin Makers Daughter by Sharon Maas ISBN 1-78681-979-1 / 978-1-78681-979-6

A riveting tale of impressionable Sarah, an apprentice violin maker and non-practising Jew in the midst of a raging war, systematically spreading throughout Europe. The first time the Nazi’s appear they decide to hide their Jewish background and stay in their beloved family home. The terrorizing wait to see if they can remain hidden and be left in peace…. The ultimate betrayal eventually comes to call and their
Celtic's Library
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story starts out with Sarah and her family already partway into the new life they must live during the war. They did not evacuate with the other Jewish families in the beginning because they have a perfectly normal German last name and do not practice their religion. After an attack on her father’s violin shop, a neighbor encourages her father to finally flee for the safety of the family. The neighbor does what he can to ensure that the majority of their worldly possessions will be kept ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
With so many stories being set in the traumatic WWII era, all based on fact – whether the author chooses to rely heavily or loosely on these facts depending on each individual book – The Violin Maker’s Daughter has many unique qualities.

Sharon Maas has chosen to begin her book in the Alsace region of France, an area not often chosen as a starting point for books of this ilk, which are mostly set in more well-recognised areas of Europe. Alsace was a small area that in 1940 was annexed to become
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Violin Maker’s Daughter: Absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 historical fiction is written by Sharon Maas. This story takes place in Colmar, France to Paris, to Poitiers, to Frieberg, Germany, and back to Colmar, France during World War II. The area is well described as the characters walk through the forests, up the mountains, and from town to town to be free. The book is compelling and you keep reading until you discover the end and then you wish for more.
Josef Mayer was sure that
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the opening chapter, I had a feeling that this would be quite an epic book. The heartbreaking tale of a Jewish family broken apart during the Nazi occupation of France. The eldest daughter of a Jewish violin maker in Nazi-annexed Alsace must start her family’s journey to the south of France. But will she ever be reunited with her parents and sisters?
As a lover of history, I have studied Nazi Germany at GCSE, A Level and as part of my degree; the latter also included Vichy France. I feel
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the privilege of reading this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was absolutely blown away by the writing in this book. They were not just words, they were windows into Sarah's life. The book is a work of fiction but based on real life events.

The story starts out in Colmar, France part of the Alsace that was annexed by Hitler. Josef Mayer is a violin maker with 5 daughters. He was convinced that his German sounding last name of "Mayer" would keep them
Brodie Curtis
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A half-Jewish family in Alsace-Lorraine hides in plain sight during WW2, but is given up to the Nazis and must flee. They plan to escape in waves, and oldest daughter Sarah goes first. Character point of views in early scenes are presented in a scattered, omniscient style, which seems effective in highlighting the chaos surrounding the family’s plight. Then the story focuses on Sarah, and her transition from sheltered teenager to survivor, and ultimately a belligerent. Sarah’s journey is aided ...more
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Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and spent many childhood hours either curled up behind a novel or writing her own adventure stories. Sometimes she had adventures of her own, and found fifteen minutes of Guyanese fame for salvaging an old horse-drawn coach from a funeral parlor, fixing it up, painting it bright blue, and tearing around Georgetown with all her teenage friends.
“never let circumstances defeat you! Maman always said. Rise above them. Whatever situation you find yourself in, discover what you can do to improve it, even if it is only to change your attitude. Attitude is everything.” 0 likes
“He’s so stupid! Why is a stupid person a king?’ ‘It seems the German people wanted him to be king.’ ‘But why? Are they bad too?’ ‘I don’t think they’re all bad, chérie. But maybe they thought he is good for them and their country and they just follow what he says.’ ‘But why do they follow a bad man?’ ‘Maybe they don’t know just how bad he is.’ ‘Papa, stop lying to her! Of course they know! They know very well and they approve of it and follow his orders.” 0 likes
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