Monday, January 29, 2018

The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma + Giveaway!

Lately, I've been on a WWII reading kick. There are so many great books in this particular part of the historical fiction genre. One book I recently had the pleasure of reading was The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma. It was my second of Ms. Tolsma's books, but it definitely won't be the last. She creates beautiful, detailed stories that make me weep and laugh and hope, sometimes all within the same scene.

Be sure to stay tuned through the end of the article, because there's a GIVEAWAY to celebrate the release of this book.

DISCLOSURE: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, authors, and sites like Netgalley, Litfuse Publicity Group, and Blogging for Books. They do not require me to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Bravery in the Face of Fear

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 heartbreaking setting of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp also came alive with the stench, frailty of the inhabitants, and cruelty of the German guards. My heart squeezed every time one of the characters was in that place.

I nearly gave this book only three stars, but the Notes page at the end helped me keep it at four. While I was reading, I thought it was odd that a Jewish character would blatantly play a violin when the Nazis were watching and/or searching for her. Yet, in the note to the reader, Ms. Tolsma shared a bit of her research, which claimed this portion to be based on a Jewess who "hid her piccolo piano from the Germans and continued to play, despite the risk." This was eye-opening to me and altered my perception of the story I had just read, increasing my appreciation for the bravery of the people the characters were based upon... and those whose stories went unwritten and have thus been lost in history.

If any author is reading this, please include a note to the reader to share tidbits like this one. They make a huge difference in the reader's experience. To Ms. Tolsma, thank you for including this bit of history about Ms. Alice Herz-Sommer in your Notes page.

A few things did pull me from the story momentarily. There were several noticeable typos, including a random equal sign, "born" when "borne" (the past participle of "bear") was intended, and missing commas in direct address. There were a couple of inconsistencies, including a character's hands being handcuffed behind her back, yet she was able to lift her hands to the sky. On a few occasions, Horst's attraction to Anna slipped into the obsessive category, which was awkward and uncomfortable to read about. These things were slightly distracting and dampened my enjoyment of this book, if only by a small margin.

My favorite line came from Anna's grandmother: "Faith is precious. Cherish it. Hunger for it. Protect it." What a great mantra to apply to one's life! I hope to soak it in even more in the coming weeks and years.

This story is the beginning of the Music of Hope series, and I'll definitely be looking forward to the second installment. Ms. Tolsma has a fantastic way with words, and I really enjoyed the usage of music and its terms in this story.

Content:
* breastfeeding
* alcohol and drunk soldiers
* cigarettes
* a vulgar word (used three times)


What WWII books have you enjoyed lately?
(Looking for recommendations!)

Have you read any of Liz Tolsma's books before?
Which is your favorite?


About The Melody of the Soul:


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.






Liz Tolsma

About Liz Tolsma:


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 chidlren came to them through international adoption. Her other passions include walking, gardening, camping, and reading.
Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.




GIVEAWAY

Travel back in time to 1943 and meet Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian and concert violinist whose career is ended because of Nazi occupation in Prague. Don't miss the new historical novel, The Melody of the Soul, by Liz Tolsma. Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Officer Horst Engel, quartered in Anna's flat and dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz's prize pack giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz's Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 6th!




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Have you heard about February's reading challenge? It's All About Love, and you can learn more information about it here.


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