March 18, 2023
Of the many different genres out there, historical fiction is definitely one of the most interesting. It gives you a glimpse into the past while at the same time telling an excellent story. One of my favourite historical novels is Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. It is set in the years leading up to and during WWII.
The book begins with a fairytale-like setting in 19th century Germany. Three princesses are put under a curse by a witch, and to escape from it they must save a life. They send out a magical harmonica into the world to do just that.
The book then skips ahead a couple of decades to the late 1930s and early 1940s and chronicles the stories of Friederich Schmidt a factory worker in Germany, Mike Flannery an orphan in Philadelphia, and Ivy Maria Lopez a migrant worker in California. Each of these three children receives, and then passes on, the same mysterious harmonica, until, eventually, it saves a life.
This book has a lot of music throughout the story, and although reading it is a wonderful option, the audiobook version is truly amazing. It features performances of each of the songs with instruments like the cello, piano, and (of course!) the harmonica. It is available in both a CD format and on Hoopla.