Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica--and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.
Author Pam Munoz Ryan’s masterfully crafts a tale which is an enchanting combination of historical fiction mixed with folklore and a sprinkle of magic. The majority of the story is set against the backdrop of the 1940's when the fear and anxiety of World War II was on everyone's mind. But the common thread for each of the characters is a special harmonica, mysteriously crafted and marked with an “M” which seems to empower the owner with the strength to overcome the social inequalities and injustices they face. At first, I was frustrated at because the author leaves each of the stories of Friedrich, Mike and Ivy unfinished. A musical analogy would be listening to a song but having the last sentence cut off. However, each story ties together well in the concluding chapters. All around a wonderful and satisfying story emphasizing the power of music and family in overcoming obstacles. Well done!!
Full disclosure: Book obtained through the West Springfield Public Library Collection.