Thursday, November 14, 2013

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Being of Dutch descent, I enjoyed reading this novel about the Netherlands during the latter days of World War II. Her book is based on events that actually happened to her ancestors and that brings added meaning to the novel.

One of the main characters, Gerritt, is with the resistance so we get a good idea of the dangers involved by those opposing the Nazi regime. When he survives his own execution, he is taken in by Cornelia, a young widow who is hiding her younger brother. Young men were taken by the Nazis to work in their factories. Cornelia had already lost her soldier husband to the Nazis and she was determined to keep her brother from the same fate.

The Dutch were a religious people and there were many who would not resist the Nazis, believing it was God's will to be subject to those over you. Such was Cornelia's brother-in-law, who refused to have anything to do with the resistance. He believed they should trust God alone for their welfare.

Tolsma gives us a good idea of what life was like for the Dutch under the Nazi occupation. She portrays well the choices each of them had to make. As Gerritt said, “Sometimes he cares for us by providing the means for us to take care of ourselves.” It was a choice between faith and common sense.

At one point Gerritt encourages Cornelia to stop hiding. “I am asking you to quit acting like a tulip covered in snow. Don't hide in this house until the Allies free you.” Hence the name of the book.

One aspect I felt was missing from the book was description of landscape. I could never quite get a sense of place, of being set in a typical small Dutch village. Also, although I did appreciate the use of some Dutch words, it was rather awkward to read sentences with one Dutch word, like nee for no, then the rest of the sentence in English.

Otherwise, a fine historical novel and a great debut.

I am taking part in a blog tour and you can find other reviews here.

Liz Tolsma has taught second grade, written advertisement, and worked as a church secretary. She and her family live in Wisconsin. You can find out more at www.liztolsma.com ot www.liztolsma.blogspot.com.

Thomas Nelson, 336 pages. Purchase a copy here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through LitFuse Publicity Group for the purpose of this review.
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