The Refrain Within

Title: The Refrain Within (Music of Hope, Book Three)

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Publisher: Gilead Publishing

Length: 320 pages

Available: Wherever books are sold


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 . . .

Positive Elements:

Characters risked their lives to save others.

Negative Elements:


Spiritual Elements:

Characters pray; a character does her best to trust God; characters put their faith in God’s hands and discuss hoping in God; God using Rahab is mentioned; a passage from Revelation is quoted.


It is mentioned Jews are being rounded up en masse; characters are roughed up, beaten, injured, and interrogated; cities are bombed with injuries sustained and lives lost; it is mentioned characters are taken to Auschwitz; a character is kidnapped; innocent lives are taken; a character is struck by a car; it is mentioned a minor character was involved in two rapes and murders; one character’s torture and another’s suicide are described in a non-gruesome manner; it is implied a character is executed.


Characters kiss; characters lie to protect others and get Nazi officers drunk.


5 Stars.


Be prepared to be teary-eyed during certain parts of this book. Excellently written, powerful, and heartbreaking, The Refrain Within evokes emotion with sympathetic characters and plot. For the reader who recognizes the parallels between current events and WWII, The Refrain Within is not only an emotional read, but a chilling one, as well. Liz Tolsma is a master weaver of words and did an excellent job. This book is a must read.