The Refrain Within
by Liz Tolsma
Series: Music of Hope #3
Published by Kregel Publications
Publication Date September 29, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Hungary World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Written for: Adults
To save a life, would you betray everyone you love?
Hungary in 1944 is a dark place. The Nazis have invaded and turned the country upside down, their evil making its way into every life.
Clarinetist Eva Bognar is engaged to conductor and composer Patrik Kedves, happily planning her wedding. At first she doesn't think the war will affect her directly; everyone around her can be trusted to do the right thing. Then her Jewish best friend and sister-in-law Zofia goes missing--and instead of the Gestapo being to blame, a friend says it was Patrik who led Zofia away. Has he betrayed Eva and everything the family stands for?
When the rest of the family's lives are directly threatened, Patrik's secrets must come to light. The Bognars flee for the border in hopes of getting out of the country to the safety of Palestine. Eva must put her life and the lives of everyone she loves in the hands of the very man who betrayed her--and they may not all make it out of the war alive . . .
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Also in this series: The Melody of the Soul, When the Heart Sings
Just between you and me, I can’t read many books dealing with the Holocaust. Or read them often. Reading about that terrible time in history tears me up inside!
A few years ago, I came across The Melody of the Soul by Liz Tolsma and was so intrigued by the synopsis, I decided to give it a chance. When the next book in the Music of Hope series came out, When the Heart Sings, I read that as well, this time with no hesitation. Though these stories stand alone, I still knew that I wanted to read The Refrain Within when it came out! I love that this series revolves around music during such a bleak time.
Patrick’s love for Éva and for music blends so beautifully! It is very touching the way she is his muse. The songs he composed that sprang from his affection, as well as his grief, were described so perfectly I felt that I could hear them!
I greatly admired Éva as she courageously sought her missing student, who was said to have been taken by the Nazis. She then did her small part to help ease the suffering there. Her struggle whether to trust Patrick was portrayed so well.
My heart ached as I read of the injury that was done to various characters. The author balanced telling the facts and not giving too many details well. Considering the cruelty that was inflicted on the Jews at this time, it was still painful to read – that is not the author’s fault.
Éva’s faith, understandably, was weak in the face of the destruction of lives and her beloved city. It was so precious to see her truly grasp the truth, first from her father and then from Patrick, that when God is our foundation, we cannot be shaken.
If you enjoy historical fiction with a strong Christian foundation, I recommend The Refrain Within.
More from Liz
This is the third book in a series all set around music. The first heroine, Anna in The Melody of the Soul, was a violinist. The second heroine, Natia in When the Heart Sings, sang beautifully. So what did I choose for this heroine?
When I was in fifth grade, the band teacher from the middle school came to our class and encouraged us to join. She brought instruments with her for us to try. I really wanted to play the flute. I thought it was very feminine. But all the girls wanted to play that, and I would have to be really good to get a good chair. So I decided on the clarinet. I played all through middle school and high school, making first chair a couple of times. I participated in marching band and in solo and ensemble contests, earning a couple of first places in state competitions. Even after my “career” ended, I continued to play from time to time. I still play in church. I love the rich, full sound of the instrument. When played well, the clarinet is beautiful. It can be playful and happy or dark and sad. It can skip and it can cry. I’m very glad now that I chose the clarinet instead of the flute.
That’s why the heroine of The Refrain Within plays the clarinet. In fact, she comes from a family of clarinet makers, and her family stamp on the barrel of a clarinet means a great deal to her. As God would have it, my editor, Janyre Tromp, is also a clarinet player. Between the two of us, we worked hard bring out the unique aspects of playing clarinet, like the callous that forms on the inside of your bottom lip.
Eva is a special character to me because we share this passion for the clarinet. There have been many times throughout my life that my clarinet has skipped with me and plenty of times when it has cried with me. Music is God’s beautiful gift to us, and I thank Him for the opportunity to share some of that with you in The Refrain Within.
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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.