I read Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma and thought that it was a fabulous book. When I was given the opportunity to read another book by Tolsma, I jumped at the chance. Daisies are Forever was also a wonderful book. Like Snow on the Tulips, this new Tolsma book is set during World War II. However, this book was written about average people in Germany. This was a slant on the war that was new to me. Using stories passed down in her own family, Tolsma gave us an intimate insight into how the war affected German citizens.
The story is about Gisela Cramer who evacuated from East Prussia and walked to Berlin with her cousin’s two tiny daughters and three elderly people, including two women with dementia. On the way she picked up a British soldier who had escaped from a German POW camp and helped him escape by saying they were married. This book made me feel the fear, the constant, grinding fear that never let up.
My initial reaction was contemplating what people are able to tolerate to survive. The human spirit is indeed remarkable. This showed with startling clarity what it was like to live under the Third Reich. I have read several books that dealt with Americans and British and their roles during this war. This was the first book I have read that told the other side – the German people who were also victims. On an intellectual level I understood that not all German people were worshipping their Fuhrer; but this book brought to life the people who suffered and desperately wanted the war to stop. Starvation, bombing and constant danger were a part of their lives.
The book is exciting and also very tense. The two sisters with dementia offered comic relief, talking about being on holiday in Paris and Vienna as they sat in a dark, musty basement, hiding from the bombs. It was interesting to watch a real romance develop between the two protagonists who pretended marriage.
This is definitely a book worth reading. Realizing that this was a fictional account of experiences of real people made it incredibly powerful. I definitely recommend this book. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Book:Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.
About the Author:“New York Times” best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of “Daisies are Forever,” “Snow on the Tulips,” and the contributing author of “A Log Cabin Christmas.” When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.
Find out more about Liz at http://www.liztolsma.com.