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.
I’ve enjoyed Liz Tolsma’s previous novels set during World War 2. I can’t find anything about this title on the publisher’s website, however.
Liz Tolsma returns with a new fiction series on her specialty subject of World War Two, this time based around the theme of music. It commences with a prologue set in the spring of 1943 as Anna’s family are deported to the camp at Terezin. Not surprisingly, she harbors strong resentment towards anyone in a Nazi uniform. But Horst is, perhaps, a different kind of Nazi. A military man due to nepotism, Horst isn’t exactly naïve but he prefers to close his eyes and not think about the fate of the deported Jews. That’s until he hears Anna’s violin and is inexplicably drawn to her.
This is a tense and emotional novel. Anna and her grandmother wait for their deportation notices to arrive and then wait to be discovered when they don’t obey the instructions. There’s a side story about one of Horst’s colleagues cozying up to a Czech woman who happens to be a member of the resistance. I couldn’t see the point of its inclusion at first, except perhaps to show a contrast in the officers’ behaviors. But the stories combine and lead to a stunning conclusion that makes you rethink what you just read.
Although primarily a dramatic love story set during war time, The Melody of the Soul raises some uncomfortable questions for both the characters and the book’s readers. At one point, Anna point blank asks Horst why no one stopped Hitler long ago, and especially after the events of Kristallnacht. He has no real response for her. The reader is also forced to confront the notion of “good Nazis” versus “bad Nazis.” For every hero in fiction there must be a villain, and Horst’s fellow officer fills that role as he struts around Prague, coerces/seduces Czech women, and willingly shoots any Jew who gets in his way. Still, we must ask ourselves if the notion of a “good Nazi” is based on individual acts such as Horst protecting Anna and her grandmother, rather than the inability to stop the Final Solution.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for my complimentary copy of The Melody of the Soul, which I received for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour
Have you read The Melody of the Soul? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Publication Date: 16 January 2018
Page Count: 320