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. . . .
This book was given to me in exchange for a honest review for Litfuse Group during the blog tour of The Melody of the Soul.
This book was beyond heartbreaking. While I didn’t weep real physical tears, my heart hurt with all these characters had to endure. Anna was such a sweet beautiful soul who lost so much. Her family is stolen from her by the hand of the Nazi’s as she pleads to go with them to the exhibition hall, this is the last time she will ever see their faces and feel their loving embrace again. She remains in Prague with her Grandmother, silently waiting until they receive their deportation notice.
Horst Engel, a German officer, movies into Anna’s building and one day he hears her playing her violin and pays her an unexpected visit. Horst isn’t like the other German officers, he is more gentle and sensitive, he feels remorse for his actions and those of his fellow officers. He isn’t a Jew hater, as a matter of fact, he doesn’t want to be responsible for deporting any, sending them to their death. He feels they – him and the Jews – are all the same in God’s eyes. Anna’s music brings hin peace and comfort and soothes his soul, he requests for her to play for him, which re agrees as she doesn’t trust him nor does she want to anger him.
When Anna and her grandmother’s papers arrive for them to leave, Horst can’t part with them and decides to hide them in his apartment. As they stay there, Horst becomes fond of Anna. He doesn’t see her as the Nazi’s do – a dirty filthy Jew -, he sees her as a woman, a very beautiful one. While Anna does find him attractive, she still has trouble trusting him, worrying that he will change his mind and turn them in.
As time in hiding becomes dangerous due to one of Horst’s fellow officers – Jagear – they have to flee to the countryside for safety. Anna’s spirits dwindles and Horst hates to see her spirits so low, he wants to make her smile again, risking anything to make her happy again, he does something risky to bring a bit of joy back in her life. After staying at the farm for some time, their whereabouts is found out and they flee again, pushing west, trying to find safety in the hands of the Americans.
I have never read a book set during the Holocaust or German occupation of Europe, while I knew what these times entailed, it was still an emotional read. So many losses, so many undeserved deaths. Each time a character died, whether to illness or by the hands of the executioners, my heart weeped for them. Those poor souls… Even thought everything was taken from Anna, she remained strong – she struggled – in the end. Only her and her grandmother survived out of her family. While it was an emotional read, there is a happy ending with Anna and Horst being reunited in Munich, eighteen months later.
While I enjoyed reading this book, I don’t know if I would read another Holocaust themed story due to that I know all these horrible things really happened to these innocent beings, it just pulled on my heart strings. It was just… very emotional and haunting.