The Melody of the Soul

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The Melody of the Soul

The Melody of the Soul (Gilead Publishing, January 2018)

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.

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Reviews

  • A haunting heartbreaking story with beautiful characters during one of the worlds darkest times.

  • This was such a wonderful novel that all I can say is that you’d better have a box of tissues beside you!!

  • Melody does not shy away from the utter darkness of the war; indeed, Terezin and camp life come to life in all their darkness. (Maybe don’t read this before bedtime.) However, hope and God’s redemption remain ever-present as well. Tolsma weaves Scripture throughout the book, and forthrightly examines the struggle to serve God amidst an incredibly challenging and, frankly, downright hostile environment.

  • “The Melody of the Soul” by  Liz Tolsma is another great book by this gifted author.

  • I really enjoyed this book. I like books that have a bit of history involved in them.

  • I was a little wary of the book because I’d never heard of the author and I normally read books I’m at least a little familiar with. However, the plot of this book is fantastic, brilliant, and all those other words of similar meaning. I adore the idea of seeing a different side of a German soldier – especially because not all Nazis went willingly into the war.

  • The Melody of the Soul is a well-written, captivating story that sincerely tells of the faith and strength one Jewish family exhibited during the holocaust.

  • Boo has been reading this book to help me with this review! She grabbed it as soon as it arrived even though I had opened my schedule to read it! She loves music and the title grabbed her straight away. She’s loving the book – although was surprised by the emotions this time period and events sets off. She hasn’t read a lot from this point in history and I think learning the facts in a history class and feeling the emotions while reading and connecting with characters is completely different! She loves this book and has hardly put it down over the last few days!

  • 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.

  • With any book set during this time period there are parts that are heartbreaking to read, others that are difficult to imagine one person doing that to another, and yet others that serve as a powerful reminder that in God’s eyes we are all precious. The author does an excellent job of not weighing the book down with too many details of the bad things that are happening and instead focuses more on the spiritual journey of many of the characters.

  • Liz Tolsma has taken factual elements, combined them with her imagination and produced a first class story. Her power to capture the mood and atmosphere is outstanding.

  • This is an extremely powerful novel. I cried in so many parts of the novel for the cruelty and unfairness. I cried for the trust and forgiveness these two are trying to build. In all of the cruelty, there is hope and faith. Hope that this will soon end and that freedom, peace, respect and love will come again. This is the type of novel you will not put down – I read it in one sitting as it was just too powerful. I had to know what was happening to Anna. The ending was just perfect and suited their story. This is a definite must read novel.

  • I love that the characters in this book aren’t Americans because it gives you a different view of the horrible things that happened during WWII. I am so glad that there are more books in this series because I fell in love with all of the characters in this book and the setting of the book.

  • All in all, it’s a simple, quick read. It’s Christian fiction and frequently presents a strong Christian message. If this appeals to you and you enjoy reading fiction from the time period, this may be a book you would like to check out.

  • The Melody of the Soul of the soul is the first book from Liz Tolsma’s newest series, Music of Hope. This book is an incredible read. It is already added to my favorites list for 2018. It is beautifully written with vivid descriptions, making the reader feel as though they are part of the story. I just love and admire Anna, her fight to live, and learning to trust in God.

    The Melody of the Soul is a fabulous start to the series and I cannot wait to see where the author’s vision takes it next.

  • Trish Rucker says:

    The Melody of the Soul is a well researched book with vivid historical details. Some of the descriptions, especially of life in a concentration camp, are difficult to read. However, I continued because I found inspiration in the strength of Anna and Horst’s faith and I really wanted to see what would happen with their story.

    This is the first in a new series called the Melody of Hope. I recommend The Melody of the Soul for readers of historical fiction, and especially to anyone interested in World War II history.

  • Liz Tolsma is a fantastic author, but she outdid all of her previous novels with The Melody of Souls! This book is incredible and one of my all time favorites. I could not believe how hard it was to put it down. It has to be one of the better WWII Fiction novels I have ever read. From the first chapter till the last page of the book, I couldn’t put this emotional roller coaster of a love story down. This book is stunning!

  • Steel your heart for some sadness because Anna goes through some very difficult moments in Melody of the Soul. Music provides her with a much-needed respite from the daily strife of survival. The characters experienced constant fear and distrust, which left me feeling unsettled through much of the book. Though it’s faith based, this story doesn’t dwell on religion or theology. It’s the simple fellowship of humanity that fuels the plot onward. Tolsma delivered a suspenseful yet emotional journey in these pages.

  • I experienced this book as hopeful yet horrifying. Comforting, yet haunting. I grieved the injustices of war while looking into my own heart for the courage of Horst Engel to make a difference, even in the life of one person.

  • Sadly, this was not the book for me.

  • In The Melody of the Soul the author writes of loss of faith and strength of faith. She shows us the loveliness that is found in music reaching the depths of the soul caressing and gentling it to the point that one finds themselves settled, able to cope, and renewed. ….

  • The characters are all so fascinating. Of the characters who have more than a couple lines of dialogue, all but one are wonderfully complex. The main “bad guy” is pretty thoroughly bad, with virtually nothing at all that ever makes you think “maybe he isn’t completely awful.”

    Everyone else, though, seems like a real person, where you see a mix of good and bad, faults and virtues, and real life experiences coloring how they react to the events of the story. Reading through the book, there were points I wanted to slap some sense into even the most likeable characters.

  • A very powerful read and a time that we need to never forget, it can never be repeated, but you will need to have the tissues handy.
    A story of survival, but also one of great faith, this life is temporary, but hard when it is being stolen from you because of your heritage. We see brutality up close and personal, and also compassion and the ultimate gift of giving one’s own life for another.

  • THE MELODY OF THE SOUL is a hard book to read. Realistic, based on the Nazi’s trying to eliminate the Jews. I’ve read all Ms. Tolsma’s previous books, and enjoyed them despite the hurt of knowing that this horrific event really happened in the World History.

    I’m also saddened that this isn’t taught to children in schools, as someone (I don’t remember who) said once “Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” My children had a Christian education and even there is wasn’t touched upon in the history books. I assigned my daughter to read Tricia Goyer’s WWII books and also Liz Tolsma’s so she will know that these horrible things actually happened.

  • Moments says:

    Liz has done an incredible job with historical details and bringing the time period and setting to life. Compared to the life I have lived, I cannot imagine having to life a life that so many had to years ago under Nazi rule. However, Liz has given me a vivid snapshot of what life was like and the horror and fear that Anna and so many others would have been living with in their daily lives.

  • Jami's Words says:

    If you are a lover and avid reader of WWII fiction, I would recommend you seek out The Melody of the Soul. I will warn you, though, that the Holocaust depiction will sadden you. Some of the content matter may be a trigger for those who aren’t familiar with this content.

  • Oh my. My words cannot do justice to this masterpiece of a novel. Liz Tolsma has penned a story that is a veritable symphony of words. Exquisitely titled and graced with an equally enchanting cover, The Melody of the Soul touched my heart as surely as if I were hearing Anna playing her violin.

  • The Melody of the Soul is an achingly beautiful story! Tolsma’s passion for research shines through this heart-wrenching tale that is alive with historical details and imagery. Meeting each of the characters and learning their stories, my heart ached for them and all they endured. With tender and tangible emotions, their journeys captivated me from the very beginning, making this book difficult to set aside.

  • Though Liz Tolsma, author, writes in several genres, I do believe that she has a very special touch for the World War II era fiction. The settings are so realistic, the characters so relatable, and the plot is deliciously involving.

  • This novel connects readers with the characters in a way that they will not soon be forgotten. Readers will fall head first into this novel, its history, and the engaging characters, and not want to put it down. This is a story that readers of WWII history will not want to miss!

  • When I saw that talented author Liz Tolsma had written another book, I was thrilled. As with the author’s other literary works, this book is set in world-war two Europe. Again, like with the other novels by Liz, I was engrossed from the first chapter. I loved the musical aspect to this book. I liked how Anna continued with her musical talent despite the threats from the Nazi leadership. Whether or not you have previously read the author’s other books, you will fall in love with this new book.

  • As always, this book was AMAZING! It was heartbreaking, moving, historical and I literally couldn’t put it down until I finished every page and found out what happened.

    I love that this book is based on real people who went through these devastating events in our world’s history. It was both heartbreaking and inspiring and reminded me that I am so blessed because people have literally gone through hell and back. Liz Tolsma is just such a gifted storyteller and I HIGHLY recommend this book and ALL the books she has written!

  • This tale reaches into the depths of darkness, but shines light into the grace of Jesus, the grace only He can provide in dark times. Books like this one show us that human kindness and love, when coupled with trust in God, can outshine even the most horrific of evil. The Melody of the Soul is filled with adventure, heartbreak, but ultimately love.

  • What I appreciated the most about The Melody of the Soul was the way Tolsma gave a clear presentation of the gospel throughout the story of Horst and Anna. And maybe the most endearing character was Babicka (Anna’s grandmother). Her steady faith and encouragement to those around her was a reminder to me of the importance of trusting in Christ alone.

  • This has to be one of the most powerful, realistic book I’ve ever read about the unfair treatment of Jews. The author captured the truth of an historical event and wrote a story that we must never forget.

    “No one should be hunted because of the blood that flows in their veins. We’re all created in God’s image.”

  • The feeling of danger is thick in this story and the characters we meet are faced with decisions that they must make concerning life and death, right and wrong. How do we live when the world seems to have gone mad? Anna and Horst have a very unlikely friendship that does grow into a romance and I cared about both these characters. I understood Anna’s disgust and distrust of Horst at first, and I understood Horst’s revulsion at his fellow comrades and his own father. We are given both of their viewpoints and a few other important ones to get a more rounded picture. The author did a good job in really immersing the reader into a time and place when danger abounded and trusting your enemy was akin to jumping off a cliff.

  • The Melody of the Soul is an exquisite symphony of emotion and grace. The quote – “The music spoke of darkness and violence, but also of hope and trust” – is actually a pretty good summary of the book itself. Tolsma has beautifully captured the agony of the Holocaust and the struggle to trust God and find hope in the midst of such evil and darkness. This is one of those books that lingers with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

  • What I really enjoyed about this novel is first, the setting. I am a huge fan of WWII and using that as a setting really forces readers into a place in history that is vibrant, real and terrifying depending on whose side you might find yourself on. Second, placing a budding romance between two very different characters who have their own shared beliefs, enemies really makes you wonder what will be the catalyst that changes for them both that will cause them to defy the odds for love over war.

  • The characters in this book have depth. They are good and bad, have strengths and weaknesses, and suffer real life experience of love and loss. Your heart will hurt at the knowledge that these atrocities really happened. Nazi rule happened, the concentration camps happened, and some even rose from the ashes of these tragedies. This book covers all of that, offering a light in the midst of darkness.

  • This is another wonderful World War II novel from this author, who does such an amazing job bringing real slices of history to life. I especially appreciated the delicate balance in this one, of showing the atrocity but also showing that there will always be good people to take a stand when it matters. We might not be able to impact the whole world, but we can impact our world. I’d recommend her books to any fans of this genre.

  • Liz Tolsma’s novel is one about courage and endurance as her characters face impossible situations.
    The story was an interesting read and constantly kept me on edge wondering how things would play out with the Nazi’s as they hunted down the Jews. This story is loaded with many intense situations as Anna and others attempt to stay alive. I enjoyed reading this story and learning more about this time in history. The author did a wonderful job at making the characters’ faith real and transparent throughout the story. Liz’s novel moved me and made me ponder how I face hardship in my own life. I look forward to Liz continuing the story in her next novel in this series coming out Fall 2018.

  • Tolsma captures the heartache and hardship of the Holocaust with her new novel The Melody of the Soul!  Horst’s bewilderment at the plight of his Jewish neighbors leaps off the page, as does Anna’s hope for a brighter future.  If not for that – and for knowing the ultimate ending of the Holocaust story – the book might have been overwhelming; it’s that well written.  As it was, while I was totally caught up in the story and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next, I did occasionally put the book down and catch up on Facebook news just so that I wouldn’t head out and try to join the Polish Resistance.

  • What a powerful, exquisite story. It was gripping, emotional, and heartrending. From the very first line, it was immersive and well expressed. The beautiful setting of Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), came alive with the inclusion of the Charles Bridge and other sights, sounds, and scents.

  • The author so beautifully captured the human spirit with this book that I couldn’t stop crying. I have never sobbed over a book as I did with this one. My family was actually alarmed and questioned whether a friend was seriously injured—or worse—dead.

    If you love World War II fiction and you are a fan of Kristy Cambron’s; I think you would also enjoy The Melody of the Soul. Just make sure that you have a box of tissues and maybe some chocolate before you sit down to read.

  • 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. A great read that I HIGHLY recommend!

  • Musical transcendence speaks to humanity in this World War II novel as a Nazi officer defies the regime to help Anna, a Christian Jew who is a violinist. Her grandmother’s unwavering faith is testimony to living a Christian life even amongst enemies. Emotional! Inspiring! Masterful writing by Liz Tolsma.

  • 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.

  • I highly recommend this book. Thank you Liz Tolsma for doing an excellent job writing this story and bringing to the forefront of the Holocaust. It seems to be a topic that isn’t taught about much anymore. “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” A very moving and powerful story.

  • 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.

  • I love novels set during WWII and in my opinion, no one writes a better novel set during this period then Liz Tolsma. Her newest book, “The Melody of the Soul” is a heartwrenching novel that will grab your heart from the first page and won’t let it go until long after turning the last page.

  • I have read a number of Liz Tolsma’s books and have enjoyed everyone of them. The Melody of the Soul does not disappoint. She weaves faith, love, pain, suffering, war atrocities, loyalties, family bonds, and history throughout this wonderful story. One reason I enjoy Liz’s books is because, every time I read one, I come away with a piece of history that I had not known before.

  • By The Book says:

    The Melody of The Soul displayed the human experience at its worst — grief, despair, fear and impotence, and at its best — sacrifice, faith, and perseverance in trial. While not always an easy read — there are many scenes I wished I could have looked away from — it is definitely a beautifully written and thought-provoking one.

    Highly Recommended.

  • Her tale offers danger, suspense, sacrifice, and strength based on faith — all the markers necessary for a Christian WWII novel. You’ll be drawn into that suspense and danger, but don’t miss the message behind it all.

  • The Melody of the Soul was hard to read in some places, like every book about WWII and the Holocaust is hard to stomach. She only ever went into as much detail to help the reader know what happened, but I’m so thankful that she left out some information. It would have been so hard to read that, considering how much I grew to love some of the characters.

  • We get to see the turmoil of their lives in such a desperate time. It’s an edge of your set kinda of book. Get ready to have your heart pulled apart & put back together again. I’m saying that as a reader, who wants to be changed by a book. And this one changes you.

  • Liz Tolsma has a remarkable knack for writing heart-filled WWII Fiction. “The Melody of the Soul”, book one in her new series, was a beautiful tale.

  • WORD Up! says:

    “Melody of the Soul” by Liz Tolsma is a gripping story about a period of history we cannot forget.

  • The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma is set during World War II and focuses on a young, Jewish woman living in Prague. It explores some of the horrific happenings during the Holocaust and weaves a story of Jews who hid, trying to escape the horrors being forced on them.

    Book one in the MUSIC OF HOPE series, this novel is filled with drama, sorrow, action, and glimmers of hope.

  • What a great story. Full of heartache and unbelievable horror, yet at the same time, hope, peace and light.

    The story grabbed my attention from the very first sentence and held it all the way to the end. Anna and her family suffered so much, it would have been so easy for them to lose their faith. Instead, these trials help them to rely more on their faith to survive.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the characters immediately and really loved how munis was such a focal point for everyone in the story.

  • Overall, this is a powerful story that will stick with you long after the story is over. This is the first book in her new series and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next.
    Highly recommended!

  • This story is unforgettable! It is the story of Anna– a Jewish girl, a Christian, and an accomplished violinist. This is about how she and her grandmother experienced the war. About the German soldier, Horst, who cared about what was happening in his country, and did what he could to hide them and protect them.

  • This novel has a little bit of everything from love to hate. I appreciate that each mention of Father God the word used to identify Him is capitalized so the reader would understand who is referred to. `The Melody of the Soul` is book one of a series. I look forward to reading the next installment in the Music of Hope series which will be published Fall 2018.

  • Liz Tolsma’s characters, Anna and Horst, truly came alive for me. Their interactions, their passion for their beliefs and their love for Anna’s music….they truly captured my soul. These beautiful souls had a passion for God and I could feel that as I turned each page.

  • I’ve read a lot of novels set during World War II. I really appreciated Liz’s dedication to historical accuracy, from her use of German titles (Hauptman Engel, rather than Officer Engel) to the Czech formal way of addressing acquaintances. Her characters were also unique and likeable.

  • The Melody of the Soul is a fine-tuned work of art – moving, gripping, compelling, and thought provoking. It is a story of trust in the midst of deepest darkness, of compassion in the face of man’s inhumanity – and it will linger long after the last page is turned.

  • What a great story. Well written characters, great story line – great setting. Set during WW2 – which has been a time period I do not read enough. Grips the heart. Ms Tolsma is a master crafter and this story brings you on an adventure.

  • Noveltea says:

    While I am an avid WW2 Historical Fiction reader, I’m also a rather picky one. Therefore, you should probably take this whole review with a grain of salt, because there wasn’t really anything wrong with the book – it just wasn’t my favorite.

  • Book by Book says:

    With great emotion and hope, the overall message of the story uplifts, even as Tolsma doesn’t seem to sugarcoat the tragedy the time period involved. It’s transporting and powerful, and I enjoyed reading The Melody of the Soul. For lovers of historical fiction, I recommend this novel.

  • As one that plays several musical instruments, I always enjoy books where music has such a huge part in the lives of its characters, as did this book. And the soft side of a Nazi officers love of music was a special touch to the story as well. The characters are well developed as the story progresses. And the author does a fantastic job of weaving the beautiful historical scenes

  • You would probably like this story if you like historical fiction or are interested in World War II history. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.

  • A unique WWII story that was a fun read. I look forward to reading more in the series!

  • Not only do I learn a great deal but I also fend up doing a lot of thinking about how I would react in the same circumstances.

  • The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma was a wonderful read that delved into the heart of WWII Prague and the individual decisions people had to make in a terrible time. I thought the plot was well written and developed at an appropriate pace.

  • This book really touched me, a story that will stay with me for a long time. I cannot say enough good about this book or do it justice! I found myself crying through this book, happy tears and sad tears. This book truly brings up a myriad of emotions, which makes for a fantastic story. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction, you will not be disappointed in this book or this author!! I cannot wait to read the other books in this series!

  • Liz Tolsma has written another wonderful book set during WWII. “Melody of the Soul” is a compellingly thrilling novel.

  • As is true in so many areas in real life, people of a certain group can’t all be lumped into the same description with all the same ideas, plans, actions, etc. Liz’s characters fit that same pattern. The fears, the uncertainties, and the hurts that are shared by the Jews, the Christians, and even the German officials drew me into their lives in ways that I didn’t always expect. The unifying element of music and what it meant to the characters was a beautiful touch to the story.

  • Liz Tolsma makes you feel like you are there in Prague during the Nazi occupation. The fear of being discovered or even doing something that might accidentally draw attention, dreading every knock on the door and even reading the mail, constantly looking over your shoulder in fear is felt throughout this story.

  • This is a great WWII book that will leave you wondering how people survived through this period in history

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