- Series: Music of Hope (Book 1)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Gilead Publishing (January 16, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1683700406
- ISBN-13: 978-1683700401
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #408,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Melody of the Soul (Music of Hope) Paperback – January 16, 2018
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About the Author
Liz Tolsma’s specialty is historical fiction―from WWII to prairie romance. Her debut novel was a finalist for the 2014 Selah and Carol Award. She prides herself in excellent storytelling, presenting accurate historical details, and creating persevering characters.
Liz is also a popular speaker on topics such as writing, marriage, living with courage, and adoption. She and her husband have adopted all their children internationally. Liz resides in semi-rural Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters; her son currently serves as a U.S. Marine. Liz is a breast cancer survivor and lives her life to the fullest. In her free time, she enjoys reading, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.
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Top customer reviews
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Anna and Horst are a very unlikely pair. A Jewish Christian and a Christian German soldier. Both are enemies by birth yet united spiritually by choice. Together we join them as they try to survive the German occupation in Prague.
Frederick Delius a British composer said that Music is the outburst of the soul. He couldn't be more correct. I grew up not only listening to music, but singing in choir at church. Besides reading, I turn to music when I am sad, or need encouragement. So, it doesn't surprise me that during this most horrible time in history music was not only a comfort to the Jewish people enduring the Holocaust but the German soldiers who were just doing a job out of fear for their own death or acceptance by family.
My Bottom Line:
This is an emotionally charged story that will impact how you see those that are different from you. And how hate of someone who is different whether in looks or beliefs can affect how we see ourselves and how God sees us. Seeing hate consume others places a child of God in the position to go along with those who hate, or choose to love as He has loved us. 1 John 4:19 - We love because He first loved us. (NIV)
This is a must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Keep kleenex close, and be prepared to be challenged as not only a human but a believer.
The phrase "Jew and Nazi" conjures up horrific pictures. As people, Anna and Horst would seem to go together like powdered sugar and onion - as in, not at all, never in a million years. And indeed, Liz Tolsma does not give our two main characters a full-blown romance, although they do come to love each other. What Liz does instead is explore the raw and wrenching emotions of their unique situation. For instance, Anna is understandably unwilling to forgive Horst, who just as good as sent her family to their deaths and is guilty by association even though he claims what his countrymen are doing is wrong. For his part, Horst grapples with his past and his present constantly. At first, he reaches out to help Anna and her grandma partially because of his mother, a devout Christian who would not submit to Nazi rule even in her own home. Eventually though, he becomes his own man and stands for truth in his own right.
Liz also crafts a breath-stopping subplot around Patricie, a resistance worker, and another, more stereotypical Nazi soldier named Jaeger. Patricie is in fact forced to date Jaeger for much of the book, leading to soul-crushing compromises and plenty of soul-searching. This also contributes to the plot as a whole, which is filled with close calls, daring escapes, and probing insights. I read the first half of this book at a good clip, but stayed up until nearly midnight reading the second half because it refused to let go of me. I simply could not stop until I knew who made it through this horrible war and where everyone ended up.
I would never say I love or enjoy Holocaust books for their own sake. They paint grim portraits of one of the most senseless and evil things humans have ever done to each other. But what I do love about this book and others like it is how it shows the truth of the human condition and the strength of the spirit, especially when that spirit is owned by Jesus Christ. Many times, Anna, Horst, and others feel their souls trying to die. And yet, those souls live because of the God who protects them and has plans for them. They live because the same God who allowed others to die comforts them and lets them know evil will not ultimately win. The souls live because the characters refuse to allow evil or hopelessness to win in their lives and hearts. If that is not music to the soul, please tell me what is.
I want much more of this series - I can't wait until the next book arrives in the fall.
When Anna and her grandmother receive their deportation papers, Horst hides them in his apartment. He cannot in good conscience be a party to their demise. When a fellow officer finds out about his obstruction, they must all run far and fast. Horst and Anna become very close to each other despite their different backgrounds and the rules forbidding their comradeship. Ms. Tolsma’s story of their escape and the atrocities that occur keep the reader from putting the book down. I cannot wait for the next stanza in the Music of Hope series.