The Melody of the Soul (2018) by Liz Tolsma is the first book in her Music of Hope series. This novel comes in all forms including eBook, and is 320 pages in length. With a full-time job, and a five-year who had a lot of school projects and homework this week, this book took me 3 days to read. I received a review copy of The Melody of the Soul from the Litfuse Publicity Group. In no way has this influenced my review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give this story 5 STARS. The Melody of the Soul is a Christian Historical Romance set in Prague during WWII.
About the Book
Anna has one chance for survival — and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe-a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.
About the Author
Best-selling novelist Liz Tolsma is the author of several World War II novels and prairie romance novellas. She also works as a freelance editor. She lives in a semirural area of Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. Her son serves with the US Marines. All of their chidlren came to them through international adoption. Her other passions include walking, gardening, camping, and reading.
Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.
The Melody of the Soul is that AH-MAY-ZING story that rips your heart out and stomps on it…for about 97% of the time you are reading. It is impossible to walk away from this novel unscathed, and I mean that in the best of ways. A day after I’ve finished, and I still feel achy in my soul for Anna and Horst. The Melody of the Soul is flawless — there’s a beautiful damsel in distress, a handsome hero who looks like the villain for a bit but truly has a heart of gold, an EVIL antagonist who’s so good at being evil it makes your skin crawl, and a setting so fraught with danger you can’t help but sit at the edge of your seat as you read.
Liz Tolsma is a master storyteller. As I was reading this book, I was transported back in time to the scariest moments of occupied Prague during WWII. Anna, the heroine, is a Christian Jew. So far, Anna and her grandmother have remained off the transport list, but it’s really only a matter of time. Anna’s mother, father, two little sisters, and older brother have all been sent to Terezin, or worse, to Auschwitz. When Horst Engel removes the Jewish family living in the flat below Anna and takes up residence there, things look rather bleak for Anna and her grandmother, especially when this German Nazi takes a liking to Anna and her violin playing. All of this occurs within the first couple of chapters of the book. Before I hit page 30, I was as terrified as Anna. I feel like I was with Anna as she went though all her feelings and losses and experiences. And, knowing that Anna and Horst are based off of real people made this book all the more intense for me. This isn’t just a great work of fiction, but an illustration of what real men, women, and children had to endure during WWII.
I am taking away two very powerful messages from this novel. First, the issue of trust. I love Jesus with my whole being, but trust is a problem for me. I don’t trust automatically. In fact, I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to trust. I am a fixer and want things to go as smooth as possible. Life, however, is not about smooth. Life is about bumps and bruises, forks in the road and flat tires, valleys and hills. It’s about dashed expectations and lost dreams. It is about goals being achieved that you didn’t even know were goals in the first place. Suffice it to say, life is not what we humans plan. I believe that God allows these bumps, flat tires, valleys, goals, etc., so we will learn to lean on Him through the good and the bad. Too often though we humans shake our fists at Him and scream, “How can a God who loves DO this to us?!”
Throughout the book, Anna had to be reminded over and over again that God is in control. She had to be reminded to put her trust in Him. And, this is my takeaway: when we don’t put our trust in Him the bad can only ever be bad. When we put our trust in Him, God alleviates the bad by being there with us through the experience. Anna struggles hard with trust, and who can blame her? We all struggle with trust, but we’ve got to learn to hard wire ourselves to automatically trust God even when it looks like He is nowhere to be found. Such a fantastic reminder!!!
There is a character in this book, Patricie, who is in love with a man named Georg, but she doesn’t want to commit to anything because it’s wartime. She will admit her feelings after the war. Who would want to even consider love and marriage and starting a family during such a crazy time? She will wait for “tomorrow” — that elusive perfect moment. This is the second message that deeply impacted me. We don’t know if we will have a tomorrow so we need to live each day to its fullest loving and living as best we can. I am not a believer in the “seize the day” attitude. I think “carpe diem” holds too many negative connotations and allows for irresponsible and careless behaviors. But, I do believe that when we have the opportunity to be with those we love we should be. Love combats the evil that consumes this world. It’s not necessarily going to fix anything per se, but it’s definitely a little easier to go through the rough times with someone you love rather than by yourself. This idea is illustrated in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The Melody of the Soul is a phenomenal and powerful story that I feel quite blessed and honored to have read. I cannot recommend this book enough. The writing is solid, the historical research is impeccable, and the story line is captivating. If you are looking for a fast-paced, rock-your-world kind of read then pick up a copy of The Melody of the Soul immediately. You will not be disappointed that you did!
GIVEAWAY + Facebook Live
Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don’t miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna’s flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.
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