The Keeper of Secrets

February 20, 2014
BY Jessica Cohen

022114_mishmash-bookBy Julie Thomas
William Morrow Paperbacks, 384 pages

“The Keeper of Secrets” weaves together the stories of three men, each facing his own battle but sharing a love of classical music. The novel begins with the journey of Daniel Horowitz, a young boy in the United States who is a gifted and internationally acclaimed violinist. When Daniel suddenly decides to give up music, those around him join together in an effort to inspire him to embrace his musical gift. This is the catalyst for what becomes a mystery of sorts, ultimately centered on what is hypothesized to be an elusive, and very expensive 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin.

In unraveling the musical history of the Horo-witz family, conductor Rafael Gomez finds himself also unraveling the history of the Guarneri violin, long believed to be destroyed during the Holocaust. The author beautifully juxtaposes Daniel’s musical talents with those of his grandfather, Simon, who grew up in Berlin and was sent to Dachau with his brother, and Sergei Valentino, a young boy coping with loss in Communist Russia.

The story highlights the beauty and complexity not only of human relationships, but something more. It displays the importance of music in a historical context and the ability that music has to touch the soul. Perhaps most importantly, this novel shows how music can bond people in a profound and moving way.

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