Monday, February 5, 2018

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Melody of the Soul

The Melody of the Soul
By Liz Tolsma
Music of Hope #1
Gilead, 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.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My thoughts

The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma is a fine-tuned work of art – and as such, I find it difficult to express my thoughts in mere words. It is moving, gripping, compelling, and thought provoking. I was hesitant to read it at first and wanted to turn away at times, yet I couldn’t. 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.

First, a confession. For the most part, I can’t deal with stories that have a Holocaust theme and try to avoid them. But in this case, it was the music – something I could easily relate to – that made me willing to take the risk, and I’m so glad I did. The characters are well drawn and felt so real that I cared about them. The horrors of war are felt, but skillfully handled by the author without being too graphic.

Life as Anna Zadok knew it was rapidly changing with losses of beloved family, city and music – and to trust a German was unthinkable. Yet I connected with the soldier Horst as he struggled with what the Nazis were doing and what was asked of him. Anna’s grandmother was a favorite of mine; her faith and words of wisdom are timeless.

And then there’s the music. These thoughts of Anna’s brother, a violinist in the Jewish orchestra at Terezin, vividly express the beauty of God’s gift …

The music enveloped him, carried him far from this place. He sailed above Terezin’s confines, peering down on this miserable lot. He soared above green fields, majestic mountains of blue, shimmering turquoise oceans. Away, far away from the misery of his soul. The terrible ache in his heart over the loss of his parents, of his family faded. Only beauty remained.

At its heart, The Melody of the Soul is a story of faith in a God who is worthy of our trust. It made me think of those times when God seems far away and faith is put to the test. And I can only hope that I would have the willingness to sacrifice and put others first, like Resistance fighters Patricie and Georg. The Melody of the Soul is a beautifully written story, full of hope and grace … not an easy read at times, but compelling and inspiring.

Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity and Gilead Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Best-selling novelist Liz Tolsma is the author of several World War II novels and prairie romance novellas. She also works as a freelance editor.

She lives in a semirural area of Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. Her son serves with the US Marines. All of their children came to them through international adoption. Her other passions include walking, gardening, camping, and reading.

Find out more about Liz at



Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Gilead Publishing for allowing me to offer a copy of The Melody of the Soul to one of this blog’s readers. To enter the drawing, please click on this link and share my Facebook post, then let me know that you shared by leaving a comment here. If you have a favorite World War II novel or author, please share that as well.

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Monday, February 12. Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents


  1. I shared :) I'm not sure I have a favorite WW II author, but it is one of my favorite genres.
    bettimace [at] gmail [dot] com

    1. You've probably read Cathy Gohlke and Sarah Sundin then, Betti. I do enjoy that genre, but have a hard time reading about the Holocaust. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. This book is getting rave reviews, and I'm really eager to read it once I finish another books I'm currently reading!

    1. Susie, I think you'll enjoy Liz's book, so I hope you get to read it soon. It begins a series and I'm eager to see where she goes next.

  3. I shared your post on my Facebook page, and I'm really excited to read Liz Tolsma's newest book. I've read her others, and they were fabulous!

    1. I wrote you a note above, but just wanted to thank you for sharing, Susie.

  4. I shared your post on Facebook. There are quite a few excellent authors of World War II books including Kate Breslin, Sarah Sundin, Cathy Gohlke, and, of course, LIz Tolsma. I'm sure I'm forgetting others whose books I enjoy reading. Thanks for the chance to win The Melody of the Soul. It sounds terrific.


    1. I thought it was excellent, Pam, so I hope you get to read it soon. Kate Breslin is an author I'm eager to try and the others you mentioned are really good. "Saving Amelie" by Cathy Gohlke is one of my all-time favorites. Thank you for sharing, Pam.

  5. phoneticpanda(at)Gmail(dot)com

    Hi, Carole
    The World War II Author I like is Terri Wanguard.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of Liz Tolsma's book.

    I have shared your Facebook post with my friends.

    1. Kathy, I'm glad you mentioned Terri Wangard because I recently read a novella by her and was very impressed. Hoping to read one of her novels soon. Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy.

  6. Carole, I used the same quote! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I too made an exception to read it. So glad I did! I loved it!

  7. I shared. I don't have a favorite WWII author, but I have enjoyed Melanie Dobson's books. They are dual time novels. Catching the Wind was a great book.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com