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 . . .
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I have read several books about World War II but this story digs deeper into the emotional toil it takes on families. The book captured my heart from the beginning. The author features several characters that tug on your heartstrings. The story is emotional and non stop action as freedom is the goal. I had to really search deep to see what I would do if lying to save someone I loved was okay to do. In this story one character faces the ultimate test of faith as his secret may cost him dearly.
In this review I want to express how much the story touched me and helped me understand what people go through when they are singled out because of ignorance . Being in power was all the Germans wanted. They didn’t care how they achieved it or how much pain others felt. It is hard to understand the hatred that a group of people can have for others. The torture is hard to read and I cried as the author took us inside camps.
I enjoyed getting to know the four main characters and how they leaned on each other during times of danger. The author shares a story that touched on music and how calming it can be. The sound of an instrument can soothe the soul while whispering melodies of peace. I played a clarinet in junior high and loved how the music would bring me comfort.
There were times I wasn’t sure if the characters would get to safety. We witness how faith plays a big part in the story. I loved how it was incorporated within the characters. In their darkest moments and there are several, they face the ultimate test of trusting God. Secrets abound in the book and I wondered how they would affect the outcome of the story. We may have the best intentions when we keep a secret, but in the end secrets can hurt others and cause division.
The story delivers a powerful look at World War II where spies, deceit, danger and the unknown run rampant. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know what would happen to the characters I became invested in. I will warn you that the ending is not without a bit of sadness. I end my review with this, “Would you stand up for what was right, even if it cost you your life?”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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.
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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.