genre: Christian historical fiction
I first read this series of books twenty years ago (literally within a month of twenty years, I just looked it up!) and when I saw three of the middle books on the shelf at the thrift store, I snatched them up. Back then, I fell in love with this set of stories for their multidimensional characters, the thorough historical setting and for the romantic interplay between our main character, the German violinist Elisa and John, the American journalist. I also liked that faith is a part of the story, that people choose to use their faith to give them the strength to stand up, in whatever way they can, to the evil that they are surrounded by.
In this first book, we learn Elisa is Jewish but her appearance allows her to have an Aryan stage name. This allows her some safety within the growing cloud of Nazi power but, living in Vienna and playing in the orchestra there means that she is not far from a violent that is nearly boiling over into her beloved adopted homeland of Austria. John Murphy, meanwhile, is abreast of all political developments and he can see the writing on the wall. Elisa's best friend is openly Jewish and sees Palestine as an option but Elisa knows that her heart remains in Europe - but at what cost? And what of the danger she can't help but see?
I like that the authors are certainly Christian but see all faith as important. I like that they do not shy away from the violence - if they did, I couldn't believe their story - but they aren't trying to shock me. There is a lot of political stuff in here, straight up history that these characters are a part of. They aren't perfect - sometimes a little repetitive, sometimes the romance is a bit to romance-novely-flip-floppy but I just kind of love it anyway. I am going to read this whole dang series again, I think.