Over the last few months, I have found myself immersed in a number of books set during WWII (it also seems that I am enjoying more WWII movies as hubby and I have watched a couple of them this past weekend). Sarah Sundin was the first author that I enjoyed reading a WWII novel, and while most of her stories take place on the American bases, it was an invitation to an area of historical fiction I typically stayed away from. Since reading the first book written by her, I’ve been slowly adding WWII era books to some of my favorites.
Daisies are Forever is the second book by Liz Tolsma that I’ve read. The first book I read, Snow on the Tulips, focuses on the Dutch Resistance. Daisies are Forever also focuses on a unique situation during WWII. It follows refugees fleeing westward as Russia invaded Germany. Again, this was a piece of WWII history I was unfamiliar with.
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Daisies are Forever was an intense novel. For me, it seemed like the stakes were raised a little bit more with each turn of the page.
For both of the main characters, Mitch and Gisela, each has a need pressing them to move west. Gisela is escaping with her two nieces and elderly neighbors while the Russians are invading Prussia. Gisela is also trying to escape a past mistake. Mitch has spent the last 5 years in a POW camp and is trying to move West to join back up with either the British or Americans. For him, any part of Germany is dangerous. The Russians pose a constant threat, as they fire upon the opposing military as well as civilians.
This book captured everything from the perils of moving across Prussia and Germany in the middle of winter to the threat the Russians brought to the fleeing refugees. This same threat, paired with the bombing of Berlin makes for a page-turning book.
To help protect Mitch, Gisela decides to pretend that they are married. Within this lie, their true feelings for one another begin to develop. The love story aspect of this novel developed slowly and naturally. With so much against them, the least of all being survival, I couldn’t wait to see how this part of the story would unfold.
My one complaint of the novel was that it seemed to have ended quite abruptly, and then picked up again in the epilogue a year later. It left a few unanswered questions concerning Mitch’s family and a few threads from the war and some of their other companions that Mitch and Gisela take shelter with.
The characters were a wonderful group with a number of personalities, and the threats working against the characters had me quite worried for them. There were a few great scenes dealing with relying on God and faith that also felt quite natural to the context of the story. Overall, Daisies are Forever was a great novel that was hard to put down.
I would love to hear from you! What WWII novels have you read that take place in a unique aspect of the war? Any WWII novels that are among your favorites?
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 Daisies are Forever on Amazon
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