Rambling about books

Book review: The Silver Music Box, by Mina Baites

Book cover from Goodreads

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Silver Music Box (Silver Music Box #1)

Author: Mina Baites, translated by Alison Layland

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Goodreads link

Honestly, historical fictions are the best. I thought I was going to be hit by a reading slump again, judging by awful January has been like, but nope, I devour this book the whole Saturday and Sunday. Granted I did start reading the book on Monday, but weekdays being the most horrible days in a whole week, I couldn’t find a time to read, at least not until weekend rolls around. And boy, did I not waste any time at all.

I have to admit, I really was not expecting much from the book. I read the English translated book, and judging from past experience, reading a translated work is quite tricky. Sometimes if the translations aren’t that well, the essence of story can get lost amongst the translation. Now, mind you, I am not an expert, it’s just merely a rookie’s observation. Based on that previous experience, I wasn’t really expecting anything amazing from reading this book, but oh damn, I was in for a ride.

The first part is just scary, and not ghostly kind of scary, but more like chilling and thrilling kind of scary, and the second part if just heart wrenchingly sad. I’m not even kidding, there are times I had to put the book down for how nerve wrecking the story was. It’s like when you watch a movie and you’re at the end of your seat, you’re scared for what’s going to happened to the characters, and you just want the bad things to go over, but then it never did. And then the sadness? Oh don’t even get me started. This book is so sad. So utterly heartbreakingly sad, that I found myself crying whilst reading this book on a Sunday morning. Okay, not everything is entirely heartbreakingly sad, some are actually heartwarmingly sad. Like it’s sad, but it’s also heartwarming.

I genuinely think this book was well written in the way that it manages to keep the reader tethered to the book, waiting in vain to know what were to happen to the characters. Then, comes the next chapter, it was already a couple of years later. And you would think as a reader you would hate the author for doing that, but do not worry my fellow reader, for the author have more interesting story to weave in the next chapters, and again you will be tethered even more to the book.

The story was written matter of factly, there aren’t too many overly dramatic description of things, it just what it is. Even the characters are just what it was, and yet you can feel that these characters are taking a place in your heart and you can’t help but root for them, hoping for the best for them. For God sake, this is a fictional work, and I am so invested in them. I probably have cried because of this book more than four times, that is how beautifully it was written. Words can actually make me cry. And it was a good cry, if I may say so myself.

This was a wonderful story of family, compassion, and friendship. I really did not expect that I was going to come out of this book feeling all sort of emotions, from sadness, happiness, and an eerie feeling of emptiness, because I really felt the hardship and the heartbreak that the Blumenthals had gone through. Honestly, I really did not expect I would like this book so much. Maybe I should just start not expecting anything when I pick a book up to read.

Now, good words have been said about this book, but this book is not without its downfall. I was so enamored by the book, that the ending just took me by surprise and I found myself feeling angry. Like, what the hell? It was a well crafted story from beginning and this was my ending? I am not going to spoil you, but literally in the last three or so pages, the story just took a downturn for me that made think,”honestly, the reader can go by without this particular storyline, really.” Now, I do not know whether the ending will set the pace of the story in the second book, because if it doesn’t then all the more reason for me to hate that freaking ending. But, if it does, I still think the reader can do just fine without that particular ending.

I would recommend this book to those who are a big fan of historical fiction, especially those who have a keen interest in the Nazi occupation history.

From Goodreads

1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family.

A half century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future.

You never get anything in life without having to give something else up.

Mina Baites

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