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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 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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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 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 . . .

30 review for The Refrain Within

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I have loved every book I've read by this author and this one did not disappoint. I've read many world war 2 books but this one really captivated me as I read it. This one takes place in Hungary and I've never read a world war 2 book taking place there so it was fascinating to learn some history through this book. Such a dark time in history the Jews were treated so unfairly. A fast paced read that was hard to put down the action and suspense were nonstop as decisions had to be made quickly that wou I have loved every book I've read by this author and this one did not disappoint. I've read many world war 2 books but this one really captivated me as I read it. This one takes place in Hungary and I've never read a world war 2 book taking place there so it was fascinating to learn some history through this book. Such a dark time in history the Jews were treated so unfairly. A fast paced read that was hard to put down the action and suspense were nonstop as decisions had to be made quickly that would affect the family if the wrong choices were made. Heart wrenching in spots this is an emotional book that I highly recommend! Published September 29th 2020 by Gilead Publishing I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Tero

    When it comes to historical fiction, I’ll confess there are very few fiction books that really hit the nail on the head. So many of them romanticize history. They work in escape routes for gruesome reality and give most of the characters a happily-ever-after, which in and of itself is often historically inaccurate. But this book? For me, it honors the title of Historical Fiction. It gives you a heart wrenching glimpse into Hungary during WWII as well as sobering realities of what it would have be When it comes to historical fiction, I’ll confess there are very few fiction books that really hit the nail on the head. So many of them romanticize history. They work in escape routes for gruesome reality and give most of the characters a happily-ever-after, which in and of itself is often historically inaccurate. But this book? For me, it honors the title of Historical Fiction. It gives you a heart wrenching glimpse into Hungary during WWII as well as sobering realities of what it would have been like to be a Jew during that time. There was not a happily-ever-after for every character. It was historically accurate. People died. People were taken to concentration camps and never heard from again. It was real. But it was also a good story. I did want some of it to end differently, yes, but I admire Tolsma for sticking with historical representation. So while I didn’t love it emotionally, I love it logically. The romance was clean. There were kisses and a few very slight allusions to more. It is more for the heart-wrenching details that I’d recommend this to an older teen or above, than for romantic details. The Christian thread wove consistently through the story. It was a story on fully trusting God, no matter what the consequences. And, as I’ve already alluded to, it really meant whatever the consequences. Which then makes the message all the stronger. Now that I have read book three, I want to go back and read books one and two. If I’m not mistaken, they cover completely different sets of characters so can he read as standalones. Now, let me go and take a few deep breaths now that this whirlwind of intensity has finished. *I received this book from the author and happily provided my honest review*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz Tolsma

    I'm so excited for all of you to read The Refrain Within! It's especially close to my heart because the heroine, Eva Bognar, is a clarinetist. While I have no where near her talent, I've been playing since I was in 6th grade. The Refrain Within explores the horrors of WWII in Hungary, a subject I knew little about until I started researching this book. To save a life, would you betray everyone you love? Eva must put her life and the lives of everyone she loves in the hands of the very man who bet I'm so excited for all of you to read The Refrain Within! It's especially close to my heart because the heroine, Eva Bognar, is a clarinetist. While I have no where near her talent, I've been playing since I was in 6th grade. The Refrain Within explores the horrors of WWII in Hungary, a subject I knew little about until I started researching this book. To save a life, would you betray everyone you love? 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 . . .

  4. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "The cost of action was high. The cost of inaction was higher." I've read quite a few WWII books but this is the first I've read from the viewpoint of Hungary in 1944. Liz Tolsma, as always, paints the setting vividly as resistance swirls around the city of Budapest and engages the reader with her complex plot, beautiful characters, and raw emotions. I loved how music is seamlessly incorporated into the plot and into the characters' lives. Music brings the main characters together initially but l "The cost of action was high. The cost of inaction was higher." I've read quite a few WWII books but this is the first I've read from the viewpoint of Hungary in 1944. Liz Tolsma, as always, paints the setting vividly as resistance swirls around the city of Budapest and engages the reader with her complex plot, beautiful characters, and raw emotions. I loved how music is seamlessly incorporated into the plot and into the characters' lives. Music brings the main characters together initially but love and faith hold them together even as the world around them falls apart. The events are heart-breaking and the atrocities incomprehensible; yet Eva, Patrik, Eva's brother Erno and his wife Zofia must leave their grief, anguish, and anger behind to forge a way out of Hungary. There are plenty of intense moments as they dodge those hunting them and great moments of revelation as faith guides and leads them. Despite it being a thoroughly heart-stirring and soul-searching book, the ending felt a little rushed and somewhat incomplete. But I am sure anyone who loves historical fiction, specifically WWII fiction, will absolutely adore this book. It's not an easy or light-hearted read, but you'll be glad to have read it. I received a copy of the book from Kregel Publications via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leslie M.

    I've read all the books in this series, and I've loved them all. This is perhaps my favorite, as Eva plays the clarinet (something I've done since I was in 5th grade). Plus, WWII-era books are some of my favorite reads. I've only read a few books in this genre that take place in Hungary, so that piqued my attention. Tolsma has a way of weaving together a tale that shows the beauty, despite the horrors going on around the characters. While this is the third book in the series, it could easily sta I've read all the books in this series, and I've loved them all. This is perhaps my favorite, as Eva plays the clarinet (something I've done since I was in 5th grade). Plus, WWII-era books are some of my favorite reads. I've only read a few books in this genre that take place in Hungary, so that piqued my attention. Tolsma has a way of weaving together a tale that shows the beauty, despite the horrors going on around the characters. While this is the third book in the series, it could easily stand alone. Tolsma's latest is well-researched, emotional tale. Heartbreaking yet inspiring at the same time. The characters demonstrate how God's grace can shine through, even in the darkest of times. There is a romance angle, but it's not overpowering, and the pace is perfect to keep the reader actively engaged. This is a wonderful example of historical fiction, and fans of this genre will want to pick this one up! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I never miss an opportunity to read one of Tsolma's books! She will draw you into the story and leaves you thinking about the characters long after this book is done. This is a fabulous series one I very much enjoyed. I highly recommend this powerful book because she makes you sit on the of your seat to see what happens to this family. My heart ached in some places for the Jewish people. They didn't deserve all of the hatred and evil that was aimed at them. I learned quite a but from this beautifu I never miss an opportunity to read one of Tsolma's books! She will draw you into the story and leaves you thinking about the characters long after this book is done. This is a fabulous series one I very much enjoyed. I highly recommend this powerful book because she makes you sit on the of your seat to see what happens to this family. My heart ached in some places for the Jewish people. They didn't deserve all of the hatred and evil that was aimed at them. I learned quite a but from this beautiful novel. I didn't want it to end. I loved the heart stopping scenes because I felt like was holding my breath while fleeing with the Bongar family but yet at the same time I was rooting for them too. Does that make sense? This is like the third book that has made me stay up late to finish it because the voices inside it begged me to finish their story. Trust me it was well worth the loss of sleep. I give this book 5 stars hands down! The cover is absolutely beautiful. This is one of those that I will reread in the near future. It's soooooo good!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    I really enjoy this author's reads, and this one did not disappoint. We know about this time period in Europe and the evil that perpetrated against a religion. The atrocities that were committed and you will quickly find yourself holding your breath, as you get involved in this story. This read takes place near the end of the war 1944, and I kept hoping for the Soviets to get there. This is a very emotional story and it will play on your heartstrings, it became a fast read, as I had to know whom s I really enjoy this author's reads, and this one did not disappoint. We know about this time period in Europe and the evil that perpetrated against a religion. The atrocities that were committed and you will quickly find yourself holding your breath, as you get involved in this story. This read takes place near the end of the war 1944, and I kept hoping for the Soviets to get there. This is a very emotional story and it will play on your heartstrings, it became a fast read, as I had to know whom survived. Zofia had to help her people no matter the cost, and the cost was very dear! I became so engrossed in this family, and would love a sequel! I received this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to give a positive review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jacinta Meredith

    Liz Tolsma has managed to capture the magic of music and love right along with the sobering horrors of the holocaust, making this book a unique symphony of hope and sorrow. I loved the symbolic use of music throughout, and watching the characters struggle to figure out the line between right and wrong as they face the age-old questions: When is it okay to lie versus tell the truth? Is one life worth many? How do you choose who or what to save when a choice must be made? Eva, Patrik, Zofia, Erno Liz Tolsma has managed to capture the magic of music and love right along with the sobering horrors of the holocaust, making this book a unique symphony of hope and sorrow. I loved the symbolic use of music throughout, and watching the characters struggle to figure out the line between right and wrong as they face the age-old questions: When is it okay to lie versus tell the truth? Is one life worth many? How do you choose who or what to save when a choice must be made? Eva, Patrik, Zofia, Erno and others must find the delicate balance between doing the right thing and keeping their loved ones safe, while they learn just how important it is to lean on God.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Betti

    Growing up in a home full of instrumental and vocal music, this incredible story plucked all the right strings. I never played clarinet but I did study piano, organ, trombone and voice so I can certainly understand the refrain or melody within. There is always a tune in my mind. For Eva, Patrik and Zofia and many others, these rhythms were a permanent part of their beings. This was what brought them joy and also a sense of peace, even as the bombs fell around them. The music of hope could not be Growing up in a home full of instrumental and vocal music, this incredible story plucked all the right strings. I never played clarinet but I did study piano, organ, trombone and voice so I can certainly understand the refrain or melody within. There is always a tune in my mind. For Eva, Patrik and Zofia and many others, these rhythms were a permanent part of their beings. This was what brought them joy and also a sense of peace, even as the bombs fell around them. The music of hope could not be stifled. 1944 found Budapest caught between the advancing Russian front and the German stranglehold with air raids a regular occurrence. People were disappearing every day and trust was not given easily. Finally were any secrets safe - was there anyone who was uncorrupted? I found myself considering if I would lay my life on the line for a stranger, one who needed the protection that only I could give. Many stepped out and did what they could. Praying that we would all be found willing if the occasion arose for us to stand in the gap - prepared to give all for that stranger. This ARC was received through Gilead Publishing and NetGalley. The impressions and comments given are my own and were in no way solicited.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    “Which sin was worse- murder or lying?” So wonders Bognar Éva in The Refrain Within, a Christian WWII novel by Liz Tolsma. Musician Éva sees life’s choices as being very clear and decisive, with no middle ground. As the Germans oppress Hungarians daily, Éva doesn’t understand all the reasons the Gestapo is after her sister-in-law. When her fiancé, Kedves Patrik is not the person Éva thought, whom will Éva be able to trust? This is a novel so moving and haunting that I sped through it as it made m “Which sin was worse- murder or lying?” So wonders Bognar Éva in The Refrain Within, a Christian WWII novel by Liz Tolsma. Musician Éva sees life’s choices as being very clear and decisive, with no middle ground. As the Germans oppress Hungarians daily, Éva doesn’t understand all the reasons the Gestapo is after her sister-in-law. When her fiancé, Kedves Patrik is not the person Éva thought, whom will Éva be able to trust? This is a novel so moving and haunting that I sped through it as it made my blood run cold. I had to find out what would happen before the suspense, so palpable, was my undoing. Families being torn apart ripped at my own soul. The reality and historical accuracy is spot on. The warmth of the music was a fitting counterpoint to the cold reality of spies and war. I loved the fact that there were Messianic Jews in the story. Hope, faith, betrayal, forgiveness, and love- truly beautiful love- shone against a dismal backdrop of occupied Hungary. Those who enjoy inspirational WWII fiction will not want to miss The Refrain Within. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Celebrate Lit via NetGalley. I am voluntarily leaving my thoughts, which represent only my opinions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    The Refrain Within is set in 1944 Hungary. Eva Bognar is a musician and engaged to music composer Patrik Kedves. Her best friend Zofia is also a musician and married to Eva's brother. Zofia is a Polish Jew and it rapidly becomes clear that she isn't safe in Budapest. It's a time when these four young adults involved with music should be in the prime of their lives yet are instead living in fear. The main theme of this novel is trust. It's difficult to know who to trust. Is it ok to lie in order t The Refrain Within is set in 1944 Hungary. Eva Bognar is a musician and engaged to music composer Patrik Kedves. Her best friend Zofia is also a musician and married to Eva's brother. Zofia is a Polish Jew and it rapidly becomes clear that she isn't safe in Budapest. It's a time when these four young adults involved with music should be in the prime of their lives yet are instead living in fear. The main theme of this novel is trust. It's difficult to know who to trust. Is it ok to lie in order to save the lives of others? This novel has some suspenseful moments as one or more characters hide from or flee from Nazi soldiers. The ending was realistic. Is anyone expecting a Hallmark ending for this novel? The entire Music of Hope Series was enjoyable. My gratitude to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and the opinions expressed are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma Back of the Book: “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-i The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma Back of the Book: “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 . . .” Impressions: Great wartime romance. Exciting and moving. Liked: Oh, I liked this story. I truly can’t imagine the heartbreaking decisions that the people during the holocaust had to make. It was such an ugly but fascinating time and people to read about. I think I enjoy stories such as this because it makes me question myself and my faith. It makes me dig deep into my soul and search for answers of myself as to where my heart lies. Disliked: Nothing to make note of. Learned: It would be unfair to share what I think I might do in these situations. When it comes down to it, it would take great strength and courage to do what people had to do to survive during the Holocaust. Quotes: “’ How can I do this, Lord? How can I not break into thousands of pieces when I have so little left?’” – Have you ever felt this hopelessness? This crying out to the Lord for mercy and strength when you feel you have nothing more to give? It is something to experience when God gives us the fortitude to continue on when we have, “so little left.” “’ That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.’” – Amen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    Liz Tolsma's The Refrain Within details an escape, betrayal, and love all in one novel. While the heroine on the cover did not do justice to the character within the pages of the novel, I truly was enthralled with the heroine on the pages of the story. She was brave and a delight to be around. She had no problem jumping right into helping her friends and family. She was cautious to trust every one, which as readers will completely come to understand. I love seeing the bravery of this generation Liz Tolsma's The Refrain Within details an escape, betrayal, and love all in one novel. While the heroine on the cover did not do justice to the character within the pages of the novel, I truly was enthralled with the heroine on the pages of the story. She was brave and a delight to be around. She had no problem jumping right into helping her friends and family. She was cautious to trust every one, which as readers will completely come to understand. I love seeing the bravery of this generation while surviving all the horrors they had to go through. The hero, Patrick, denied who he was for a good reason. He was a remarkable and brave hero. I enjoyed the plot of the story. Of course, it featured all my favorite aspect of a World War II novel. Bravery in the face of absolute differing odds. Run of their lives. Lying. Spies. Escape. What a delightful thread to a great story. Tolsma's The Refrain Within does not disappoint fans of World War II novels. It was a wonderful way to spend a budding fall week. I can't wait to own this book in physical form for my bookshelf. I received a complimentary copy of The Refrain Within by Liz Tolsma, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Larimer

    #The Refrain Within # by Liz Tolsma is the third in the Music of Hope series. Liz Tolsma has been the finalist for the Selah and Carol awards. This book is beautifully written . It takes place during World War II. The book is fast moving and once you start the book it is hard to put it down until the last page. The emotional difficulties are clearly explained in this book. The characters are caught off guard when World War II starts hoping their lives will not be disrupted. Eva is a musician and #The Refrain Within # by Liz Tolsma is the third in the Music of Hope series. Liz Tolsma has been the finalist for the Selah and Carol awards. This book is beautifully written . It takes place during World War II. The book is fast moving and once you start the book it is hard to put it down until the last page. The emotional difficulties are clearly explained in this book. The characters are caught off guard when World War II starts hoping their lives will not be disrupted. Eva is a musician and hopes to continue her music lessons. She is disrupted when Nazi military men show up to turn her life and others there apart. The book takes place in Hungary. The characters draw close to God when they face the trials of World War II. The book is well researched and shows the reader the struggles and intense difficulties during World War II. Thank you to netgalley, the publisher, and the author for allowing me to read and review this well written book. I highly recommend this book. The opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Karen R

    An exciting, action-packed tale set towards the end of World War Two! Budapest, Hungary in 1944 becomes a dangerous place to be for Jewish citizens. It's the last refuge of many fleeing from Nazi controlled Europe. Family, friendships and faith are put to the test as the war closes in. "The cost of action was high. The cost of inaction was higher." Full of suspenseful moments and plenty of action made this a fast paced read that was hard to put down. A compelling storyline based on real history k An exciting, action-packed tale set towards the end of World War Two! Budapest, Hungary in 1944 becomes a dangerous place to be for Jewish citizens. It's the last refuge of many fleeing from Nazi controlled Europe. Family, friendships and faith are put to the test as the war closes in. "The cost of action was high. The cost of inaction was higher." Full of suspenseful moments and plenty of action made this a fast paced read that was hard to put down. A compelling storyline based on real history kept my interest from start to finish. The tension builds as the main characters make life or death decisions, sacrificing for those they love. Deciding who to trust or believe in war time is tough, especially when it involves the lives of your loved ones. Their faith is evident in prayers and conversations, with reminders that God never leaves or abandons us, and we can put our trust in Him. Highly recommend for WW2 fans who enjoy inspirational stories with some romance. 4.5 stars (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    While The Refrain Within is the third book in Tolsma's Music of Hope series, I did not feel like I missed background information important to understanding the story. As a matter of fact, prior to looking back at the front matter, I assumed it was the first of a series. I certainly would like to know what happens next in the lives of the major players in this story. The Refrain Within is an emotional tale of the impact of World War II on Jews in Hungary and those who loved them. It is also a tal While The Refrain Within is the third book in Tolsma's Music of Hope series, I did not feel like I missed background information important to understanding the story. As a matter of fact, prior to looking back at the front matter, I assumed it was the first of a series. I certainly would like to know what happens next in the lives of the major players in this story. The Refrain Within is an emotional tale of the impact of World War II on Jews in Hungary and those who loved them. It is also a tale of how music feeds the soul, especially during great trials, and of course how true faith in Christ grows when tested. The story is very well written, and will linger in the readers' thoughts long after it is finished. I am grateful to have received a copy of The Refrain Within from Gilead Publishing via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Ulferts

    The Refrain Within (Book Three in the Music of Hope series) is so riveting that once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished. Liz Tolsma weaves her characters’ stories together so skillfully I felt like I was there in the midst and I questioned what I would do in each situation. This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Happiness, heartbreak, fear, anger, joy, sorrow, hope...they all made their presence known while I read. This is a truly wonderful story and I high The Refrain Within (Book Three in the Music of Hope series) is so riveting that once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished. Liz Tolsma weaves her characters’ stories together so skillfully I felt like I was there in the midst and I questioned what I would do in each situation. This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Happiness, heartbreak, fear, anger, joy, sorrow, hope...they all made their presence known while I read. This is a truly wonderful story and I highly recommend it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer K

    Tolsma writes a suspenseful tale in which her characters have to make extremely tough decisions. Because she is a good storyteller, I found myself invested in the story from the beginning. These characters had to make life and death decisions, when right and wrong weren’t always clear. They were challenged to be brave and take action but sometimes they had to trust and not take action. Other times, decisions had to be made immediately and it was difficult to know who to trust. Living through all Tolsma writes a suspenseful tale in which her characters have to make extremely tough decisions. Because she is a good storyteller, I found myself invested in the story from the beginning. These characters had to make life and death decisions, when right and wrong weren’t always clear. They were challenged to be brave and take action but sometimes they had to trust and not take action. Other times, decisions had to be made immediately and it was difficult to know who to trust. Living through all of this tension challenges their faith. I appreciated these lessons of faith which are applicable to our world today. I think that is why this fiction had me turning pages so fast because during the worst hardships, hope is still available for the choosing. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Baldwin

    I love World War 2 era books but this is the best I have read in awhile it is a 5 star plus book.This is based in Hungary and the story of a violinist and clarinet player and their love and betrayal. Eva and Patrick and Eva's brother Erno and Sister In Law run to flee the Nazis but not all of them will survive it brought tears to my eyes. I love World War 2 era books but this is the best I have read in awhile it is a 5 star plus book.This is based in Hungary and the story of a violinist and clarinet player and their love and betrayal. Eva and Patrick and Eva's brother Erno and Sister In Law run to flee the Nazis but not all of them will survive it brought tears to my eyes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Floraljoy

    Poignant and compelling: This is an emotionally gripping book that makes you stop and think. It was a little hard to read at times due to the WWII subject matter and especially the treatment of the Jews. However I found I was drawn into this families struggles and their quest for freedom. There was a slight element of suspense surrounding the secrets that the characters kept from one another. Eva is initially terribly naive and ignorant about what was happening around her yet her eyes were soon op Poignant and compelling: This is an emotionally gripping book that makes you stop and think. It was a little hard to read at times due to the WWII subject matter and especially the treatment of the Jews. However I found I was drawn into this families struggles and their quest for freedom. There was a slight element of suspense surrounding the secrets that the characters kept from one another. Eva is initially terribly naive and ignorant about what was happening around her yet her eyes were soon opened and I liked how Patrick bravely stepped up to help those in need. This was book 3 in the series and whilst I believe it was a standalone, I kept feeling that I was missing out on a lot of backstory. I don't know if it was because I hadn't read the previous books or just the author's writing style. I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This is a beautifully written story that is full of emotions. It hooks you on the first page and doesn't let go. The author brings the book to life with her words. I loved this book and highly recommend it. Thank you Independent Publishers Group--Kregel Publications and Liz Tolsma via Netgalley for the ARC copy of this wonderful book. All opinions expressed are my own. This is a beautifully written story that is full of emotions. It hooks you on the first page and doesn't let go. The author brings the book to life with her words. I loved this book and highly recommend it. Thank you Independent Publishers Group--Kregel Publications and Liz Tolsma via Netgalley for the ARC copy of this wonderful book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robin Dix

    This book captivated me from the very beginning. I love reading a book where you can anticipate what will happen next. Liz Tolsma did just that with this incredible book! Then ending was not what I anticipated and I was left hoping for more. Perhaps a sequel? One can hope.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    This intense symphonic masterpiece is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read this year, and it will stay with me long after the last page. The primary focus is on two couples, one married and one engaged, in WWII, 1944 Budapest. They are very well defined. The author invited this reader into their lives from the first page and kept me there until the very end. Eva is an excellent clarinetist and co-owner of a music shop with best friend and sister-in-law Zofia, a gifted pianist. Th This intense symphonic masterpiece is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read this year, and it will stay with me long after the last page. The primary focus is on two couples, one married and one engaged, in WWII, 1944 Budapest. They are very well defined. The author invited this reader into their lives from the first page and kept me there until the very end. Eva is an excellent clarinetist and co-owner of a music shop with best friend and sister-in-law Zofia, a gifted pianist. They give lessons and sell many music-related items. Zofia is a Messianic Jew from Poland and married to Eva’s brother Erno. Eva is engaged to Patrik, a composer and director of the Budapest Youth Philharmonic. Erno follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in designing and creating clarinets, the best in Europe. Eva, Zofia, and Patrik see their circumstances and emotions through musical expressions or various musical pieces, either ones they play or for Patrik, those he composes. Eva sees him as her refrain, and he sees her as his muse. The majors and minors, volume and tone, reflects the swells and crashes and dips as they endure living in occupied Hungary. Zofia and Patrick are keeping secrets from Eva and Erno that can cost them and their parents their lives. The two young couples are forced into hiding, and they fear not only for their lives but the future of their parents. The horrors they learn about how Jewish people and those who help them are treated or tortured is devastating. This novel is not for the faint of heart, but the author is very sensitive with what she shares that regard. Eva, Patrik, Zofia, and Erno gain a depth to their faith they never thought possible as they pass through the fires of life on the run. Before they leave Budapest, Eva’s father asks her where her hope comes from, and she shares a beautiful recitation of the Lord that she fully believes, stemming from the days of her catechism studies. While the end isn’t entirely what I had hoped, it is overall satisfying and realistic. I highly recommend this novel of faith and endurance in some of the worst imaginable situations to those who appreciate Christian WWII novels set in Europe with engaging characters and an incredible plot. From a thankful heart: I received a copy of this novel from Celebrate Lit through NetGalley and this is my honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Bryant

    “Fighting for survival. To see each new dawn. That’s what life had come down to for them.” Another well-written winner from expertly talented storyteller Liz Tolsma! This poignant, suspenseful historical tale of love and sacrifice amidst the tribulation and devastation of World War II in Hungary kept me engaged from beginning to end. In this book, Ms. Tolsma masterfully combines intrigue, romance, faith, and history into one exciting, inspiring read. Her detailed descriptive language and sensory “Fighting for survival. To see each new dawn. That’s what life had come down to for them.” Another well-written winner from expertly talented storyteller Liz Tolsma! This poignant, suspenseful historical tale of love and sacrifice amidst the tribulation and devastation of World War II in Hungary kept me engaged from beginning to end. In this book, Ms. Tolsma masterfully combines intrigue, romance, faith, and history into one exciting, inspiring read. Her detailed descriptive language and sensory imagery transport you to the scene, and the historical detail woven into the fictional story evidences extensive research and adds credibility to the narrative. The plot flows at a suitable pace and keeps you guessing with each page turn. The characters are powerful and captivating, and the decisions they must make are heart-wrenching testing the strength of their love and faith. I especially like the recurring use of music throughout the story bringing comfort and healing to the soul during extremely trying times. I appreciate the inclusion of the spiritual truth of God’s love, care, and provision to those who trust and hope in Him. I have added this book to my list of favorites and highly recommend it. I received a copy of this book in e-book form from the publisher via netgalley but am under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ibjoy1953

    Refrain Within is a WWII novel, set in a very dark place in 1944 Hungry after the Nazis have invaded. We see a lot if things happening during this book but the main thing that stuck with me was love. Because of the war, people were forced to do whatever it took to save their loved ones. There were many sad and lonely times. But there were better times. I love how the author uses Eva and her clarinet playing to give some pleasure and happiness to the people. I play the piano and playing any instru Refrain Within is a WWII novel, set in a very dark place in 1944 Hungry after the Nazis have invaded. We see a lot if things happening during this book but the main thing that stuck with me was love. Because of the war, people were forced to do whatever it took to save their loved ones. There were many sad and lonely times. But there were better times. I love how the author uses Eva and her clarinet playing to give some pleasure and happiness to the people. I play the piano and playing any instrument has a way of calming people, it settles your nerves. I was intrigued at learning more about a clarinet. And to learn that Ms. Tolsma wrote a bit about her clarinet playing into the character of Eva! About the characters, they were very well chosen, so realistic during this story. I enjoyed Eva the most. Maybe because we share a love of music, or maybe the determination to save her family she loves? I just like her! If you enjoy WWII stories, you need to read this one. It will not disappoint! This is a 4 star for me! A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Would you lie to your loved ones to keep them safe? "The Refrain Within" is such a wonderful conclusion to the Music of Hope series! I could hardly put it down. A beautiful story in the midst of darkness! It is 1944 and Eva Bognar is happily engaged to the love of her life, Patrik Kedves. Just days before their wedding, Eva's Jewish friend and sister-in-law, Zofia, goes missing. Word gets back to her that it was none other than her fiance who took Zofia away. When Eva's family is threatened, she a Would you lie to your loved ones to keep them safe? "The Refrain Within" is such a wonderful conclusion to the Music of Hope series! I could hardly put it down. A beautiful story in the midst of darkness! It is 1944 and Eva Bognar is happily engaged to the love of her life, Patrik Kedves. Just days before their wedding, Eva's Jewish friend and sister-in-law, Zofia, goes missing. Word gets back to her that it was none other than her fiance who took Zofia away. When Eva's family is threatened, she and her brother, Erno, have to flee to the border for safety. Only it is Patrik who will lead them. How can Eva possibly trust the man who supposedly betrayed her and her family? During this harrowing journey secrets will be revealed and all will be revealed. Can Eva ever trust Patrik again? Will they escape all the dangers that await them? This book really made me realize just how strong people had to be during the days of WW2. On first thought it's easy to say that it's never right to lie to your loved ones. Reading this book however really made me think. Seeing the tough decisions Patrik and Zofia had to face, the sacrifices they were willing to make was really eye opening. In those dark days of war, things were not always black and white. You'll be hooked to this captivating story! I was able to read an advance copy of "The Refrain Within" and was not required to leave a positive review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    never miss an opportunity to read one of Toslma's books! She will draw you into the story and leaves you thinking about the characters long after this book is done. This is a fabulous series one I very much enjoyed. I highly recommend this powerful book because she makes you sit on the of your seat to see what happens to this family. My heart ached in some places for the Jewish people. They didn't deserve all of the hatred and evil that was aimed at them. I learned quite a bit from this beautiful never miss an opportunity to read one of Toslma's books! She will draw you into the story and leaves you thinking about the characters long after this book is done. This is a fabulous series one I very much enjoyed. I highly recommend this powerful book because she makes you sit on the of your seat to see what happens to this family. My heart ached in some places for the Jewish people. They didn't deserve all of the hatred and evil that was aimed at them. I learned quite a bit from this beautiful novel. I didn't want it to end. I loved the heart stopping scenes because I felt like was holding my breath while fleeing with the Bognar family but yet at the same time I was rooting for them too. Does that make sense? This is like the third book that has made me stay up late to finish it because the voices inside it begged me to finish their story. Trust me it was well worth the loss of sleep. I give this book 5 stars hands down! The cover is absolutely beautiful. This is one of those that I will reread in the near future. It's soooooo good!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Knudsen

    This was one of my favorite WWII era books that I have ever read. It is different than others I have read in that it takes place primarily in Hungary. I loved the little and sometimes big twists and turns that the characters went through. It had a very clear example of the danger of keeping secrets and also a compelling reason for the need to do so. I definitely recommend this book and author.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    As I read this book, I cried at times. I had to take pause and reflect on the atrocities that happened to Jews during WWII. The relationships tested, lost and found. The great emotional and physical loss of country, family, friends. This is a hard subject to write about. And the author did a great job telling this story. I know parts were based off true life events. That grieves me that it really happened. Within the ugly and chaos hope can still be found. Love can still be shown. The subject ma As I read this book, I cried at times. I had to take pause and reflect on the atrocities that happened to Jews during WWII. The relationships tested, lost and found. The great emotional and physical loss of country, family, friends. This is a hard subject to write about. And the author did a great job telling this story. I know parts were based off true life events. That grieves me that it really happened. Within the ugly and chaos hope can still be found. Love can still be shown. The subject matter is hard, yet so well presented. Definitely recommend this one. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All views stated here are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Sienes

    I applaud any author who takes up the challenge to write historical fiction set in a country other than the United States. Any historical fiction requires intense research, but to step out of one’s country of origin is a little more difficult. This is the case in Liz Tolsma’s novel The Refrain Within. The novel takes place in 1944 Hungary during the Nazi invasion. There are so many fictional accounts of World War II that the competition to write a compelling novel in this genre is fierce. A few y I applaud any author who takes up the challenge to write historical fiction set in a country other than the United States. Any historical fiction requires intense research, but to step out of one’s country of origin is a little more difficult. This is the case in Liz Tolsma’s novel The Refrain Within. The novel takes place in 1944 Hungary during the Nazi invasion. There are so many fictional accounts of World War II that the competition to write a compelling novel in this genre is fierce. A few years ago, I read Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and since have set that as the bar for excellence. What I liked: Tolsma brought in a uniqueness to this genre by adding an element of music. I understand this is the third in a stand-alone series, although I did not read the first two, which wasn’t necessary to follow the story. This novel is written in four different points of view—Éva, Patrik (her fiancé), Ernö (her brother), and Zofia (her sister-in-law). I’m a big fan of several points of view, because everyone’s perspective is different. There are instances when music is interwoven into the plot and characters’ development, which I found original. What I struggled with: It started with the first line of the book. I find first lines fascinating and believe it’s what hooks the reader and sets the tone for the rest of the story. Have great novels been written that didn’t have compelling first lines? Absolutely. Still, this one didn’t hook me, nor did it set the tone. The challenge of writing from several points of view is truly developing the characters. I would say this is a plot-driven book, but if we don’t fall in love with the characters, it’s hard to root for them. It feels as if none of the characters truly knew each other—not Éva and Patrik (even though they were about to be married) nor Zofia and Ernö, who were already married. Éva refers back to a past relationship several times, but the entirety of it is never revealed, making it feel unfinished. It was frustrating that everyone was lying to each other, and they all seemed to feel justified in it. I felt as if the story dragged in several places and there were scenes that were either repetitive or didn’t seem to move the story ahead. And in the end, when Tolsma had the perfect opportunity to truly dig deep into one of the character’s emotions and take her readers on an emotional ride, she ended it too quickly. However, if you’re a fan of World War II fiction and have an affinity for music, you might find this book is for you. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Publishing for reviewing purposes, but the opinions are my own.

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