West Michigan is filled with families with Dutch names. Van- is the start of many and others end in -dyke or -stra (my personal favorite) among other signifiers of a name’s origin. In Holland, Michigan, each spring Tulip Time causes busy streets as people from around the world flock to the city. Tulips lanes border the streets, a riot of color everywhere. It isn’t uncommon to walk around and hear a strong Dutch accent. In fact, for the few years I was able to know him, my husband’s grandfather spoke with a heavy accent.
Being familiar with things like this can help bring a piece of fiction to life. Character’s voices easily sound in my ears and words that wouldn’t normally make sense to me, I can figure out without having to look up translations. Even if the setting took place in Europe 70 years ago. It is important to remember the events that shape the world in which we live today. Fiction can aid in that, alongside of other forms of preserving truth.
When I was in college, I had an opportunity to see a documentary about the Dutch Resistance (The Reckoning) as well as hear one of the individuals involved in the movement speak. Unfortunately, it was long enough ago that I don’t remember too much about it, other than being emotionally affected by the event and that it was my first exposure to this aspect of history. Appalled by what was happening to the Dutch Jews, a movement was formed in the Netherlands, known as the Dutch Resistance. The members of the resistance worked to essentially sabotage Germany and showed signs of protest. The group also helped support the people who worked to hid the Jews. It is within this setting that Liz Tolsma‘s Snow on the Tulips takes place.
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From page one, Snow on the Tulips drew me in. It all starts with a man’s execution gone wrong. Somehow, he has been saved. Wounded, but saved. So when the Gestapo comes back to collect their dead prisoners, and one is missing, the search brings danger to the village and more specifically to those harboring him.
Wanting to learn more about Gerrit Laninga made the first part of this book a page turner. There were so many questions surrounding why he was wanted and the threat of the Gestapo had me fearing for Cornelia and her brother, Johan. However, after the first bit, something in the novel changed and I actually became a bit bored with it.
Fortunately, toward the last third of the book, the tension picked up and drew me back in. The stakes were definitely raised as desperation set in for the characters.
Throughout the book, there seemed to be a theme of trusting in God for both protection and peace, and trying to follow God’s will. For some of the characters, this is a struggle and some of the other characters teach them about it.
Despite feeling a bit sluggish in the middle, I did find Snow on the Tulips to be a fast read. I enjoyed it’s setting and capturing a part of WWII that doesn’t seem to appear in fiction novels as frequently. Liz Tolsma has a second WWII novel out (Daisies are Forever) that I hope to pick up to read at some point.
For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:
- Liz Tolsma’s Website
- Visit Liz Tolsma on Facebook
- Follow Liz Tolsma on Twitter
- Read what Liz Tolsma is reading on GoodReads
- Check out Snow on the Tulips on Amazon
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