The Melody of the Soul
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Third Person • Multiple Points of View (more than three) • Fiction • 320 Pages
Back Cover Blurb:
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. . . .
The book I’ve been working on writing for the last several years is about a violinist, therefore I jump at the chance to read other books about musicians – especially violinists. Plus, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Historical Fiction that takes place during WW2. Maybe it’s because I’ve known people who fought in the war or because it’s such recent history, but I never grow tired of reading books – both fiction and nonfiction – that are set in that time period.
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. (It still got three stars, but I went into it expecting to give it a higher rating.)
There might be very slight spoilers in the next paragraph, but if you’ve read the back cover then you basically know what’s going on – I’m simply going to talk briefly about the motive.
One of the things I dislike in a book is when one of the main characters changes from being a bad guy to a good guy because of a love interest. Although that wasn’t the main motive, that reasoning did keep coming up in this book. And, because I’m a picky little bookworm, that greatly lowered my enjoyment of the novel. I have a feeling this is probably wouldn’t bother most people, but for me and nearly made me want to stop reading the book. (Really though, I know that’s unjustified.)
We’re thrown right into life during WW2 in Prague – a place that once teemed with music but now beats with the sound of marching boots and the wails of families being torn apart. We follow the lives of…
Anna, who is working hard to keep her grandma safe after the rest of her family was deported.
David, Anna’s brother who is in Terezin – a place that has captured my imagination because of all the music that took place there. Beauty among horror.
Horst, a Nazi who isn’t sure what he’s supposed to believe anymore.
Stefen, a Nazi who is extremely sure what he’s supposed to believe and delights in being cruel.
and Patrice, an underground worker who has some very difficult decisions to make.
There was so much switching back and forth between the different points of views that I sometimes felt nearly dizzy with the fast-paced changes. Although all of the characters had good points of view, it probably would have helped me be able to relate to them a bit more if we would have stuck with just one or two of them.
There was a lot of faith contained in the book. It was a good perspective to look at the war from – especially what the grandma had to say. I didn’t agree with all of it but they did make some very good points.
Although there is obviously cruelty and violence mentioned in the book due to it being during a war, I was thankful for the author not being too descriptive when it came to describing it. She hit a good balance with that.
I’m giving The Melody of the Soul 3 out of 5 stars, and 4 out of 10
*Litfuse gave me this book to review