Tag Archives: Liz Tolsma

Top 10 Tuesday: First Lines

6 Mar

Today I am recycling because that is what busy bloggers do when they are short on time and inspiration! 😉 This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to list their Top 10 Favorite Book Quotes. I’m a slacker when it comes to keeping a journal filled with the wonderful nuggets I find in the pages of a book. But as I thought about the topic, I couldn’t help but think how it is the first lines that I almost always remember. I haven’t read (or rather re-read) Rebecca in a long while, but I can still quote that memorable first line — Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Another wonderful weekly meme I participate in is First Line Friday hosted by Hoarding Books (their tagline is it’s not HOARDING if it’s BOOKS — great, huh?). It has been lots of fun discovering new books and authors through first lines. So today, I will share some first lines from books that were fabulous reads. I hope that you find your next great book today!


Top First Lines

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey

Christy by Catherine Marshall 

Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart 


What’s your favorite book quote?



Book Review (+ Giveaway!): The Melody of The Soul

30 Jan

Anna has one chance for survival—and it lies in the hands of her mortal enemy.

It’s 1943 and Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost nearly everything. Most of her family has been deported, and the Nazi occupation ended her career as a concert violinist. Now Anna is left to care for her grandmother, and she’ll do anything to keep her safe—a job that gets much harder when Nazi officer Horst Engel is quartered in the flat below them.

Though musical instruments have been declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to play the violin. But Horst, dissatisfied with German ideology, enjoys her soothing music. When Anna and her grandmother face deportation, Horst risks everything to protect them.

Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals might stop the music forever.


Best-selling novelist Liz Tolsma is the author of several World War II novels and prairie romance novellas. She also works as a freelance editor. She lives in a semirural area of Wisconsin with her husband and two daughters. Her son serves with the US Marines. All of their chidlren came to them through international adoption. Her other passions include walking, gardening, camping, and reading.

Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.


My Impressions:

Both man’s inhumanity and man’s compassion are revealed in Liz Tolsma’s latest novel set in WWII Europe, The Melody of The Soul. In this first novel in the Music of Hope series, Tolsma’s characters attempt to survive the soul-crushing cruelty of the Nazi regime in Prague and Terezin. This novel is a moving account that I just could not put down. Highly recommended.

Violinist Anna Zadok loves her family, Prague, and music. All three have been integral parts of her life for as long as she can remember. But with the occupation of the Nazi’s she loses one after the other as the Final Solution decimates the Jewish population of the city. Faced with either boarding a transport train or trusting a Nazi officer, Anna and her grandmother take a risk that God is really protecting them.

I loved the historical details that Tolsma effortlessly wove throughout The Melody of The Soul. The beauty and cultural richness of Prague is contrasted with the desperate conditions of the transition center the Nazi’s called Theresienstadt. She somehow portrays the horrible conditions of Terezin and the depraved actions of the Nazi occupiers without being too graphic. But the story still makes the heart break for all those lost in the Holocaust. The characters are very complex. Anna and Nazi officer Horst Engel struggle with their place in the drama that is unfolding around them, as well as what God is doing in their lives. Resistance fighters Particie and Georg place others above themselves. And the villain of the story, Stephan Jaeger, is a man of contrasts. Despite the hopelessness of many of the characters’ situations, they find themselves depending more and more on God and finding that He can indeed be trusted.

Music plays a major role in the characters’ lives. Anna’s brother David finds himself performing during his stay in Terezin. This is what it did for him — And then the music enveloped him, carried him far from this place. He sailed above Terezin’s confines, peering down on this miserable lot. He soared above green fields, majestic mountains of blue, shimmering turquoise oceans. Away, far away from the misery of his soul. The terrible ache in his heart over the loss of his parents, of his family faded. But music can only take you so far — only God can bring real salvation.

The Melody of The Soul displayed the human experience at its worst — grief, despair, fear and impotence, and at its best — sacrifice, faith, and perseverance in trial. While not always an easy read — there are many scenes I wished I could have looked away from — it is definitely a beautifully written and thought-provoking one.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Litfuse and Gilead Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Giveaway and FB Party! 

Join Liz Tolsma and other bookworms for a Facebook Live event on February 6, plus enter to win Liz’s prize pack giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the HERE. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 6. The winner will be announced at Liz’s Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Liz and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!



First Line Friday — The Melody of The Soul

19 Jan

This week,  I am featuring The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma. Liz has captured my imagination with her previous books, and this one looks to be no exception. I have deliberately limited my WWII fiction reading lately — I have read A LOT of it in the last few years. But I could not resist getting this one. It is even set in Prague, a city that is on my bucket list to visit. I surely can’t lose with this book!

Leave a comment with your first line, then head over to Hoarding Books to find out what other bloggers are featuring.



By 1943, Anna Zadok, a Jewish Christian living in Prague, has lost everything, including her career as a concert violinist and almost her entire family. The only person she has left is her beloved grandmother, and she’s determined to keep her safe. But protecting Grandmother won’t be easy–not with a Nazi officer billeted below them.

Anna must keep a low profile. There’s one thing she refuses to give up, though. Despite instruments being declared illegal, Anna defiantly continues to practice her violin. She has to believe that the war will end someday and her career will be waiting. Fortunately for Anna, the officer, Horst Engel, enjoys her soothing music. It distracts him from his dissatisfaction with Nazi ideology and reminds him that beauty still exists in an increasingly ugly world.

When his neighbors face deportation, Horst is moved to risk everything to hide them. Anna finds herself falling in love with the handsome officer and his brave heart. But what he reveals to her might break her trust and stop the music forever. 

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.

TOP 10 Tuesday — Around The World in Books!

19 Jul

This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are focusing on Books Set Outside The United States. To find out all the great books bloggers are recommending, click HERE.



I’m not much of a traveler, but I have loved the places I visited in books! Because there are so many great books set outside of the US, I have included many more than 10, 25 in fact. Divided by geographic location, my list includes books set within the last 100 years so that you can easily see where you are visiting! Have fun exploring the world!

Around The World in Books

The Americas

CanadaThe Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan.

MexicoMore Than Conquerors by Kathi Macias 

NicaraguaWater from My Heart by Charles Martin



EnglandThe Inheritance by Michael Phillips

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

Secrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

FranceDefy The Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot

GreeceThe Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Netherlands Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Ukraine Beyond The Rapids by Evelyn Puerto

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart





AlgeriaTwo Destinies by Elizabeth Musser

South AfricaThe Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

No Greater Love by Kathi Macias

SudanSide by Side by Jana Kelley


The Middle East 

AfghanistanFarewell, Four Waters by Kate McCord

Saudia Arabia People of The Book by Kathi Macias



ChinaCity of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Red Ink by Kathi Macias 

Indonesia (Dutch East Indies)Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

North KoreaBeloved Daughter by Alana Terry

The PhilippinesRemember The Lilies by Liz Tolsma

VietnamYesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West




Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman


Where do you want to travel?


Book Review: Remember The Lilies

18 Feb

689141Can Irene and Rand stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom?

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.

Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.

When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

LTolsma-178New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.


My Impressions:

Liz Tolsma has taken a subject not well known in the United States and brought it to life in her historical fiction novel, Remember The Lilies. Set in the Santo Tomas internment camp in Manila, The Philippines during WWII, it is rich in historic detail, life and death drama and a message of hope in the midst of the darkest storm. A great novel for those who love historical fiction with a dash of romance set amid the struggle of WWII.

The two main characters of Irene and Rand could not be more opposite. Yet their shared experiences of survival in an internment camp under the tyranny of the Japanese binds them together. Both characters grow during the course of the novel. Their struggles with faith in times of trial and forgiving those who hurt them ring true. I was amazed at what the mostly American

Santo Tomas Internment Camp

Santo Tomas Internment Camp

civilians endured under the Japanese and also by the indomitable spirit of those who attempted to bring a bit of normality to the situation. Remember The Lilies did what all good history does — it made me want to know more.

The spiritual themes found in Remember The Lilies are those faced by Christians the world over. How can I forgive and pray for my enemies? How do I keep my trust in God when the world seems turned upside down? I found the reactions and actions of the characters very true to life. Their flaws made the story even more real.

A great book for discussion, Remember The Lilies would make a good choice for your book club. Another winner by Liz Tolsma!


Audience: adults.

Great for book clubs.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE.



Book Review: Daisies Are Forever

21 May

689124In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.
Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.


LTolsma-178New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.


My Impressions:

I loved Liz Tolsma’s novel, Snow on The Tulips. It was a beautifully written novel depicting the heroics of real and relatable characters during the final days of WWII in the Netherlands. Daisies Are Forever is a look at WWII with a twist — from the point of view of the Germans as they are facing a certain defeat. Based upon true events, this novel is an interesting look at the trials of a defeated people.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in Germany during WWII. Her parents returned their family to Germany hoping that the economic upswing would benefit their family. Unfortunately, they have been swept up in the war. Mitch Edwards is an escaped POW who has spent five years of the war regretting his actions that placed him and his mates in a German stalag. The two meet up during the desperate escape from the Soviet invasion. Along with Gisela’s two nieces, two elderly women and others they meet along the way, the two travel to Berlin desperate to overcome their past mistakes and rescue those they love.

The look at the German side that Daisies Are Forever presents is definitely a plus in this novel. The author takes experiences from two women, one being her aunt, and crafts a unique perspective on WWII. This look into an unknown piece of history was very interesting. The reader gains new insight into what the people of Germany faced as they endured the daily bombings by English and American Air Forces, the atrocities of the Soviets and the betrayal of their own government. I felt, however, that this strong story line was often sidelined for the romance thread, which I found weak. There is a tug of war for Gisela’s heart that went on too long for this reader. And after all was said and done, one of the major characters just disappears from the action with no explanation. Both Gisela and Mitch struggle with guilt in their roles in the loss of friends and loved ones to the crush of war. By the end of the book, they both acknowledge that they have little power to save others and need to place that firmly in God’s hands.

I think Daisies Are Forever will appeal to most fans of historical romance novels. And while I didn’t like it as much as Tulips in The Snow, I look forward to more books by Liz Tolsma.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

For more reviews, click HERE.

To purchase this book, click on the image below.



Liz Tolsma‘s latest WWII historical fiction novel, Daisies are Forever, is getting rave reviews.

“. . . compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses. . . .” —Library Journal

“Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read.” —CBA Retailers + Resources


Liz is celebrating the release with a Kindle HDX giveaway!


One winner will receive:
A Kindle Fire HDX
Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

Hurry, the giveaway ends on May 31st. Winner will be announced June 2nd on Liz’s website.


Book Review: Snow on The Tulips

7 Nov

SnowTulips-e1378875337964A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their  lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

LTolsma-178Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there’s always something going on at their house. She’s spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author. She’d love to have you visit her at http://www.liztolsma.com.

My Impressions:

Inspired by real events, Snow on The Tulips by Liz Tolsma illustrates the fear, sacrifice and heroism surrounding the German occupation of The Netherlands during WWII. Beautifully written, the novel features very believable characters struggling with living under the oppressive regime of an occupying force. The deprivation and desperation of the times is brightened by the shining faith of God’s people. Looking for a good book? Then Snow on The Tulips is definitely for you.

Corrie is a young woman struggling to keep her remaining family safe in the last days of WWII. When an injured resistance fighter is brought home by her brother, Corrie must make a decision that could spell disaster for her family and community.

I loved how Tolsma portrayed the struggle between personal survival and doing right. Many chose to submit to the authorities believing that is what God was calling them to do. Others made decisions based solely on keeping themselves secure. And others, convicted that evil must be confronted and fought, risked everything in the face of terror and death. Realistic and complex, the characters touched my heart. Snow on The Tulips is also a richly detailed and researched novel. Life under occupation came to life for this reader.

If you are a fan of historical novels, especially those set during WWII, then this book is for you. But for me, Snow on The Tulips transcends the genre and will appeal to all who love a great story.

Highly Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a copy of Snow on The Tulips. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

For more reviews, click HERE.

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Liz Tolsma’s Snow on the Tulips is already a favorite with critics and readers alike. Award-winning author Sarah Sundin had this to say about the book: “A splendid debut novel! With a tender romance, a gripping plot, and a well-researched setting, Snow on the Tulips drew me in to the harrowing uncertainty of life in the Netherlands under Nazi rule. Liz Tolsma’s beautiful story kept me up at night—not just wondering what would happen to her endearing characters, but wondering what I would do in similar circumstances. Do not miss this book!”


Liz is celebrating by giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner.

One winner will receive:

  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz’s blog.