Tasa’s Song by Linda Kass (Book Review)

Tasa’s Song by Linda Kass (Book Review)Tasa's Song by Linda Kass
Published by She Writes Press
Pages: 256
My Rating three-half-stars

An extraordinary novel inspired by true events.
1943. Tasa Rosinski and five relatives, all Jewish, escape their rural village in eastern Poland avoiding certain death and find refuge in a bunker beneath a barn built by their longtime employee.
A decade earlier, ten-year-old Tasa dreams of someday playing her violin like Paganini. To continue her schooling, she leaves her family for a nearby town, joining older cousin Danik at a private Catholic academy where her musical talent flourishes despite escalating political tension. But when the war breaks out and the eastern swath of Poland falls under Soviet control, Tasa's relatives become Communist targets, her new tender relationship is imperiled, and the family's secure world unravels.
From a peaceful village in eastern Poland to a partitioned post-war Vienna, from a promising childhood to a year living underground, Tasa's Song celebrates the enduring power of the human spirit."

I’ve had Tasa’s Song by Linda Kass sitting on my kindle, unread, for at least a year.  The cover is gorgeous. The synopsis is intriguing. The genre is one I regularly read. Yet, for some reason I kept skipping over it in favor of other books. Either I wasn’t in the mood to read something in the historical war fiction genre or I was in the mood for the genre but I’d turn to an old favorite. Tasa’s Song was always there but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally decided to start it.

It’s a good book but I feel like I went into it with expectations that had been set too high. I heard that this book was inspired by Kass’ only mother’s story of survival. Any time I know a book has such an intimate personal connection I expect it to connect on a deeply emotional level. I mean, this book was based on her mother, so surely I’d feel some kind of close personal anguish while reading it, right? That was my expectation but instead I continually felt like an outsider peering in, watching his family, seeing their fear, yet always remaining just a little disconnected from it all.

It also felt like a story I’d read a million times before which might have contributed to my disconnect. It reminded me of Gracianna, The Melody of Secrets, and other WWII era books I’ve read that also included family connections and violins. I liked Tasa’s Song but I didn’t lovvvvve Tasa’s Song.

This is a good book. It’s solid. The story is well-developed. The characters are likable. There isn’t a single identifiable thing that lets me sit here today and say, “This book is terrible because ______.” There’s nothing to fill in the blank with because the book is good. It’s just not great, memorable, or special. If you enjoy WWII fiction, especially WWII fiction that is set outside of Germany, this would be a good book to try. It’s not graphic and there are no detailed passages of time spent in the concentration camps or suffering horrible conditions. Instead, it’s a tale of hope and the will to survive and it all flows melodically on the back of Tasa’s violin.  

Overall, it’s good but it’s also, unfortunately, a book I fear is forgettable.


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