About the Book
Book: The Refrain Within
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: WWII Fiction
Release Date: September 29, 2020
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 . . .
Click here to get your copy!
Tolsma gives us a touching look at Hungary in 1944, after Germany had invaded the country. We see how people existed during the oppression. People still fell in love and got engaged. Some worked to undermine the Germans with resistance activities. Several of the characters are musicians so a prominent theme in the book is how music is essential to well being.
A major issue in the plot is truth. At one point Patrick says, “Sometimes we have to lie to protect those we love.” (Loc 3722/4819) He had lied to his fiance and her family as to his secret resistance activities. Zofia had kept her activities a secret from her husband. I can see that issue leading to a good discussion on a reading group.
One thing I don't like in novels is suspense as the result of poor choices by characters. In the early part of the novel, the characters knew the danger of Nazi rule yet still did unthinking acts. I read statements like, "How could they have done that? They knew better?" (Loc 786/4819) “Maybe we should have taken more precautions.” (Loc 2108/4819) Near the end of the novel, when Eva realizes she had not checked to see if they had been followed says, “How stupid of us.” (Loc 4269/4819) I really felt the characters acted too naively for the situation they were in.
Readers who like WW II fiction will appreciate this one. It will give you insight into the conditions and life of those in Hungary during that time.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.
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.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 23
Among the Reads, October 23
Maureen's Musings, October 23
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 24
Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, October 25
deb's Book Review, October 25
21st Century Keeper at Home, October 25
By The Book, October 26
lakesidelivingsite, October 26
A Baker's Perspective, October 26
Inklings and notions, October 27
CarpeDiem, October 27
Mary Hake, October 27
For Him and My Family, October 28
Reflections From My Bookshelves, October 28
Emily Yager, October 28
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 29
Older & Smarter?, October 29
Genesis 5020, October 29
Betti Mace, October 30
Christian Bookaholic, October 30
Sara Jane Jacobs, October 30
Artistic Nobody, October 31 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Simple Harvest Reads, October 31 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Rebecca Tews, November 1
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 1
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 1
Connie's History Classroom, November 2
Where Crisis & Christ Collide, November 2
Splashes of Joy, November 2
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 3
As He Leads is Joy, November 3
Bigreadersite, November 3
Pause for Tales, November 4
Hallie Reads, November 4
Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 4
Amanda Tero, author, November 5
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 5
A Good Book and Cup of Tea, November 5
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)