By 1943, Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost everything, including her career as a concert violinist and almost her entire family. The only person she has left is her beloved grandmother, and she’s determined to keep her safe. But protecting Grandmother won’t be easy–not with a Nazi officer billeted below them.
Anna must keep a low profile. There’s one thing she refuses to give up, though. Despite instruments being declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to practice her violin. She has to believe that the war will end someday and her career will be waiting. Fortunately for Anna, the officer, Horst Engel, enjoys her soothing music. It distracts him from his dissatisfaction with Nazi ideology and reminds him that beauty still exists in an increasingly ugly world.
When his neighbors face deportation, Horst is moved to risk everything to hide them. Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals to her might break her trust and stop the music forever. . . .
I literally couldn’t put this book down. I picked it up when I got home after work and read it straight through. It instantly drew me in with the vivid scenes and well researched linguistics. I loved seeing the different cultures of the Jewish, German, and Czech characters! Since I’ve been learning German this year, it was fun to see what I already knew, but Tolsma also provides a handy key for the words used in the book.
Tolsma is a passionate writer and it shows on the page. There are quite a few characters in this book, but they are all very detailed and well-written with excellent development over the course of the book. Her characters are all broken, realistic people and struggle with the battle of what is good and what is evil. Obviously, we root against the Nazi’s, but it’s important to see the internal struggle in Horst. Horst got his job in the Nazi’s regime just following in his father’s footsteps, but he starts questioning if what they are doing is right. We need to see this because evil can be deceitful and appear to be good.
The romance in the book was good. I’m not particularly a fan of romance, so I was happy that there was more in the book than just that. If you want a more detailed review of romance, I’d suggest you visit a different reviewer blog. 😉
I will say the only thing that frustrated me with the book was I thought Anna wasn’t very careful. I think this was supposed to be brave, but for me I would’ve just stopped playing the violin and just lock myself in a basement with a few years worth of food…. But that’s just me, and I’m not a passionate musician.
The Melody of the Soul was gripping and intense, while still providing a satisfying ending.
I would recommend this to lovers of WWII fiction and historical fiction.