Tolsma’s latest is a beautiful picture of love and heartache amidst one of the most horrific times in history.
I received a complimentary review copy as part of a blog tour for this book. All opinions are honest and my own.
About the Book:
In 1943, Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian young woman, is living in Prague with her parents and family. Her parents and siblings are deported, but thanks to a good friend, Anna and her grandmother’s names are left off the list–for now. She knows that it is inevitable that they will eventually be sent to the same location as the rest of the family–the Terezin Concentration Camp. Anna’s great love and training is on the violin, she pours out her heartache and pain in her music, which has become dangerous as the Nazis have confiscated all musical instruments and declared them illegal.
Horst Engel is a reluctant Nazi officer. His father’s dream is for him to be a great soldier, and purchases Horst a position in Prague as a historical preservation officer. Horst was raised with Christian values given to him by his mother, and is deeply ashamed of his participation in the events of Kristallnacht. When he moves into Anna’s building and hears her beautifully haunting music, he seeks her out and the two gradually form a tentative alliance. Their friendship turns into affection and love, but there is danger from many angles and threats to both of their lives.
Tolsma has penned a gorgeous novel, my heart ached for these characters and their plights. Let me start by addressing what could be the elephant in the room–the romance/love story between a Nazi officer and a Jew. Yes, Anna is a Christian Jew, but a Jew nonetheless and the fact that she became a Christian did not matter in the slightest to the Nazis at the time. Horst is a very conflicted Nazi, he does not agree with nor condone the atrocities that his fellow Nazis commit. It’s a pretty moving part of the story, and for me, it reflects the complexities of our individual personalities in light of the situations we may find ourselves in through choice or circumstances. The characters in this tale are based on real people, which gives depth and a sense of realism to the story.
I was on the edge of my seat throughout the reading of this book, feeling anguish for every character lost and joy for every one saved. As in life, there are not always perfect, pretty endings to every person’s journey, and Tolsma respectfully communicates the good and the bad equally while still projecting hope.
This tale reaches into the depths of darkness, but shines light into the grace of Jesus, the grace only He can provide in dark times. Books like this one show us that human kindness and love, when coupled with trust in God, can outshine even the most horrific of evil. The Melody of the Soul is filled with adventure, heartbreak, but ultimately love.
Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz’s prize pack giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz’s Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!