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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Father's Violin by John Hope is a moving historical fiction novel set against the backdrop of post-World War II Germany, where Soviet and American forces have solidified their stronghold over Berlin. It follows a thirteen-year-old boy named Hertz, who must survive starvation and the hostile Soviet military alongside his last surviving family member, his older sister Elsa. When a seemingly suicidal Elsa leaves him unexpectedly, his only remaining connection to his family is his father's violin. After the surviving members of his father's Philharmonic Orchestra approach him to play at the Funktrum Berlin, an old radio station, Hertz's music becomes a shining light in the darkness for the locals. However, it also earns him a stint at the makeshift prison set up by the Russians. But Hertz must not give up hope yet.
If you enjoyed watching the movie Jojo Rabbit, you're going to love Father's Violin. Author John Hope's enthralling coming-of-age tale showcases the importance of inner strength amidst a sea of heartbreak and tragedy. The narrative never shies away from showcasing the harsh realities of life after the Second World War, but John Hope masterfully portrays it from the fresh perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy. The characters feel genuine, and you can't help rooting for them. Hertz, Jakub, Elsa, and Konrad will break your hearts, but it only makes them all the more compelling to read about. The plot moves quickly and feels like a breeze to go through. I devoured it in one sitting. If you're itching for a small-scale, intimate war story, Father's Violin is the book for you.