Title: The Melody of the Soul (Music of Hope Series #1)
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The story is set in Czechoslovakia during WWII. The lead female character is Anna Zadok, a young woman in her mid-twenties who is a violinist. She was studying to become a concert violinist when the Germans invaded her country and forbade all Jews from owning musical instruments. She, her grandmother, mother, father and two sisters live in a small apartment. They have watched as their neighbors and friends have received their deportation notices, which will send them to the prison camp of Terezin, some have been dragged from their homes for failure to report with their notices and some have even been shot by the German soldiers who are occupying their city. Anna and her family are strong Christians of Jewish blood, so they are labeled as Jews. Anna’s parents and two younger sisters receive their deportation notices. Anna begs to go with them, so they can stay together. Her parents, however, ask her to stay behind and care for her grandmother. Anna reluctantly agrees, wondering if she will ever see her family again.
A German officer, Horst Engel, commandeers the apartment below Anna by having the prior Jewish occupants evicted and put on deportation trucks. Anna has been sneaking playing her violin for short periods, even though this is forbidden. She continues to do so and the soldier confronts her. She fears for her life, but it turns out that he likes her music and is an aficionado of the symphony. He asks her and her grandmother to come to his apartment so she can play for him. He works to preserve and repair the architecture of Prague as part of his service to the German Army.
What follows this is a harrowing tale of attempting to survive the war as well as the German soldiers out for Jewish blood. There is a resistance group that gives aide at times, but there are visits to Terezin that are heart-breaking too. Anna has a wonderful Christian role model in her grandmother. Horst also begins to remember the lessons his own mother, a devout Christian, taught him years ago. However, his father is a devoted follower of Hitler and has high expectations for his son’s military career. Horst is caught in a difficult situation that is fraught with deadly consequences. This was a great story that I couldn’t put down! I had to see how it ended. There was sadness in the story, but overriding everything was hope in the One who is in control.
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