The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

SNOW ON THE TULIPS By Liz Tolsma

Snow on the Tulips by Liz TolsmaPublisher:  Thomas Nelson
Release Date:  August 2013
Pages:  336
Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction

Book Description:  In a time of unprecedented darkness and fear, Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger’s life is worth risking her own.

In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga—a man who puts God and country above all else—arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Her hope is to be free from her paralyzing fear.

Gerrit is a known and hunted Dutch Resistance member. When he comes to Cornelia’s home for shelter, he’s drawn to her strength and kindness. When he asks her to contact the local Resistance on his behalf, she refuses. Gerrit is determined to find a way to continue his underground work without putting Cornelia or her family in harm’s way.

When things start to unravel and Gerrit’s life depends on her actions, she must summon her courage and learn to depend on the perfect love that drives out all fear. But will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?

Wanda's Thoughts:  Snow on the Tulips is a story of loss, survival, fear, and uncertainty.  It also has a strong thread of faith throughout with strong religious overtones. 


February 1945 – WWII in Occupied Netherlands – The storyline starts out strong as the Nazis are planning to execute several Dutch Resistance workers.  Gerrit Lanings is one of those men, but the Gestapo blotched his execution and he survives. 

Since her parents had died and her sister had married, the job of caring for her younger brother, Johan, fell on Cornelia.  Cornelia was still trying to get over the loss of Hans, her husband.  She became a bride and a widow on the same night when Hans chose his country over Cornelia.  Hans was in the army and he had an obligation to fight the Germans.  She begged him not to go – they would’ve exempted him as a newlywed – but he was determined. 

20-year-old Johan went into hiding at the farm.  He would work there to earn his keep, but he was always in danger of getting picked up by the Gestapo.  He was tired of sitting prisoner in the house, waiting to be either arrested or liberated.  He became bored and wanted to join the Resistance. 

Cornelia risks her safety and well being when she reluctantly takes in Gerrit and nurses him back to health.  Cornelia was no longer the innocent young woman she was when she married Hans.  She had been caught in a war zone without a husband, but she survived.  Life had become uncertain and fragile for Cornelia.  A love eventually begins and blossoms between Cornelia and Gerrit --- and the story unfolds with much suspense and drama. 

I truly enjoyed this book, a rich treat for historical fiction fans.  It is a book to be savored, obviously well researched, as it brings to life such a sad time in our history.  Parts of the book did drag somewhat and the romance faltered, being rather lukewarm – it just didn’t feel natural to me.  But – that being said – the storyline had a well-constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.  A richly written novel and a great read!  4/5 stars.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions shared are solely my responsibility.  

About the Author:  Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. Daisies Are Forever released in May 2014. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at www.liztolsma.blogspot.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog.