Snow on the Tulipsby Liz Tolsma
A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.
The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in/b>/b>/b>/b>
A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.
The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.
When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their ives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.
As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.
She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.
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SNOW ON THE TULIPS
By LIZ TOLSMA
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 Christine Cain
All rights reserved.
THE PROVINCE OF FRIESLAND, NETHERLANDS
Schnell, schnell!" A German soldier jammed the cold, hard barrel of his rifle into Gerrit Laninga's back.
Gerrit's heart throbbed against his ribs like waves in a squall against a dike. Any minute now, it would burst through his chest, splitting open as it flopped to the ground.
He scrambled to keep pace with the nine other Dutch Resistance workers in front of him. If he fell behind, the Germans would shoot him on the spot. Not that it mattered one way or the other.
Gerrit was on his way to his execution.
"Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up." The words of Psalm 56 that he had memorized long ago became his prayer. I know, Father, what awaits me on the other side of the bullet. But if it be Your will, let this cup pass from me.
The smell of boiled cabbage wafted on the early evening air as people finished their suppers. He sensed their pitying stares as they hid behind their lace curtains, peeping out to spy on the men marching to their deaths. Behind closed doors, these people whispered, wondering what crimes the men had committed to be executed in this way. Tomorrow morning they would talk about it around their breakfast tables.
He would not be here in the morning.
Behind one of the house's brick facades, a child shrieked in laughter. The Gestapo officer jabbed his weapon between Gerrit's kidneys.
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Please let it happen quickly. No pain, no suffering, Lord, please. But spare me, Father. "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me."
He'd had many close calls during the war, like the time the Nazis searched every nook and cranny of the house where he had been hiding. They failed to move the rug that covered the trapdoor to the cellar where he was concealed. Or the time he had seen some soldiers on the road when he'd been delivering ration cards. He was able to hide in a ditch before he was caught.
I trust my life to You, sovereign Lord.
Peace filled him, a sweet taste of the heaven that awaited him.
No matter what happened, God was in control.
The men in front of him watched their feet as they moved forward, their backs hunched, their shoulders slumped.
Gerrit held his head high. He refused to let the Germans think they had him conquered. Death was not defeat. Death was victory.
His hands were tied in front of him. He clasped them together, tighter and tighter as death approached.
His ankle turned and he stumbled on the uneven street. The butt of the rifle slammed into his back.
With his wrists bound, he couldn't balance himself. He fell to his knees. His breath caught in his throat. Any second now, a bullet would pierce his skull.
The Gestapo officer grabbed him by his upper arm, placed him on his feet, and shoved him. Gerrit spoke his thanks with a smile. If he could earn the sympathy of the soldier, maybe somehow he could find a way out.
The man stared at Gerrit with frosty blue eyes. Then he frowned and turned away.
Escape slipped out of his grasp.
A cold chill wrapped itself around him.
The death march continued to the canal. A squat house stood sentry at the water's edge, its two first-floor windows like eyes, watching, recording, memorizing these events. The setting sun's rays reflected off the still water.
Visions of Mies and Dorathee flashed across his mind. One woman had broken his heart. His heart broke for the other. He did this so they could be free.
The Germans forced the condemned down the icy canal bank beside the bridge. The early evening frost made the grass slippery. Gerrit and the other prisoners slid and skidded down the small hill. The Gestapo officers shouted at them while jabbing them with their guns. "Get up, get up. Schnell. Now line up here."
This was the end.
Gerrit righted himself and faced the officers. The men who were slow to stand were kicked and dragged to their feet.
A neat line formed.
Silence filled the air.
He stood tall. He couldn't think.
He fixed his gaze on the cobalt-blue eyes of his executioner.
Into Thy hands I commit my spirit.
A white-hot pain seared through Gerrit's body.
He crumpled to the ground.
Cornelia de Vries sat in her rocking chair, alone in the small front room with its out-of-date red brocade wallpaper, the heat from the black cast-iron stove warming her cold feet. Twittering birds serenaded her as she sewed the fraying hem of her silky green Sunday dress. Glancing at the picture of Hans on the wall, pain nibbled at the edge of her heart.
The skirt's material cascaded over the arm of the faded blue davenport beside the rocker as she laid aside her mending. She rose, watched the pendulum swing in the schoolhouse clock on the wall, stared at Hans's picture, then went to the long front window. Parting the lacy curtains, she peered out to watch the birds on the bare, brown branches of the bush. The sky, often filled with droning Allied planes on their way to Germany, remained serene. The sun cast its dying rays over the canal, a thousand lights playing on the water's surface.
The birds blended in with branches, but when one of them hopped from twig to twig or flitted to another bush, she caught glimpses of their black and brown feathers.
Then a different kind of movement on the other side of the water caught her attention. Not the cheerful, bouncy action of birds, but the movement of men. A plodding motion. She parted the curtains farther for a better view.
A number of men, maybe a dozen or so, marched toward the steep canal bank. Five or six German soldiers, armed with rifles, surrounded the men and shouted at them. If they were trying to reach the edge of the canal, it would have been easier to do so about fifty or sixty meters from the bridge where the land once again became even with the water level.
What was happening?
The answer came as soon as the thought crossed her mind. From her vantage point, she watched as the soldiers forced the men to scramble down the bank, though their hands were tied in front of them. The Germans kicked many of them as they slid and fell.
Cornelia dropped the curtain.
She closed her eyes because she couldn't watch.
She covered her ears because she couldn't listen.
She sank to the floor because she couldn't stand.
Memories of that horrible night more than four years ago knocked at her consciousness. Denying them entry, she pushed her hands harder against her ears and scrunched into a ball.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
She had hoped and prayed to never hear that sound again, but the reverberations echoed in her head. The past mingled with the present.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
All fell silent. The birds ceased their chirping.
Five or ten minutes passed as she sat on the floor, her entire body shaking. The floorboards creaked under the unmistakable bounce of her brother's footsteps on the stairs. She opened her eyes. He moved down the hall and passed the front room to the door.
She rose to her feet. "Johan?"
He stopped, frozen by her call.
"I am going out."
"Nee," she screeched. "Nee. The Nazis just executed a dozen men. There is no way you are going to step foot outside this house."
He stood several centimeters taller than her and he used his height to his advantage, peering down at her. "I want to see the men they shot. Maybe we know some of them."
She stepped in front of the door. "They will arrest you on the spot, you know."
Her brother ran a hand through his tousled sand-colored hair. "They are gone now and I'll be careful. I promise."
"I won't let you go." She stood with her hands on her hips, something she had seen Mem do a thousand times. With their mother no longer here, she was the caregiver to her brother.
"You can't forbid me. I'm an adult."
"Only a fool would go out there now."
"Maybe I'm a fool, then. I am going anyway."
"What will happen to you if you get caught? Working in German factories with all the other young men who have never returned—is that what you really want?"
"Nothing will happen to me, because I'll be careful."
"What do you plan to do out there?"
"That is none of your business." He tried to push past her.
She stood her ground. "You are my business. And my responsibility. You're not going anywhere."
"Yes, I am."
Holding to what Mem always did, Cornelia stopped arguing and glared at Johan. She wouldn't let him out the door. Not when it meant an almost-certain death sentence. A few moments later he shrugged his broad shoulders, sighed, and turned up the stairs.
She won the battle. This time.
GERRIT BREATHED IN and out. Pain arced through his body.
Pain. He was still in pain.
He wasn't dead.
German voices floated around him. The soldiers who had attempted to execute him remained here. If he moved at all, he would be dead. The rise and fall of his chest, the twitch of his eyelids, a swallow would mean a bullet in his head.
The Gestapo spoke among themselves. "Give each of them a good kick. Let's make sure we got them all."
What would happen to him when a jackboot met his side? The pain would be unbearable, but he couldn't cry out, not even a whimper, no matter how great his agony.
He heard them as they made their way down the line, reassuring themselves that all of their prisoners were dead. Thud. Thud. Thud. A boot met each body. Each of his friends. Each of his fellow Resistance laborers.
He gritted his teeth. Forcing himself to go limp, holding his breath, Gerrit lay motionless.
Lord, please, spare me.
The soldiers moved closer. They stood right next to him.
"This one is dead. I hit him squarely. Come on, let's go. Leave the bodies here to teach these people a good lesson about what happens to those who resist."
With that, the sound of the German voices, the clacking of their weapons, and the heavy thunk of their boots faded.
How could the officer be so sure he was dead? Gerrit didn't believe his acting skills were quite that convincing. Did his executioner hold himself in such high regard that he believed he couldn't miss? Or when Gerrit locked eyes with him, did he unnerve the man enough to cause the shot to go astray?
One thing he didn't doubt—he needed to be gone from this place before the soldiers came back. No need to put his theatrical abilities to the test again. He also had to be cautious not to leave too soon. They may look this way, spy movement, and come back to finish the job.
He lay without moving for as long as he dared. Around him, nothing stirred. No one moved about.
When he convinced himself that the Gestapo had left the area, when he hadn't heard their voices for many minutes, Gerrit moved. Pain shuddered through his right shoulder when he lifted his head. He looked down and bile bubbled in his throat. The bullet had torn away his skin, and blood spurted from the wound. He needed help.
Forbidding the anguish in his shoulder to register in his brain, he rolled to his left side. He pulled himself to a sitting position with the greatest of care.
The world careened, then crashed to a halt.
He sat without moving for a minute, not daring to look at the broken bodies of his comrades. His chest tightened.
The brown brick house at the top of the bank beckoned.
He sucked in his breath, then pulled his feet underneath himself. Pushing off with his uninjured arm, he stood. Or attempted to stand.
He couldn't bring himself upright. The world kept moving. Dusk had fallen. A sense of urgency pulled him along.
The light in the house's window winked at him. The occupants had yet to draw the blackout curtains. Biting his lip, tasting the saltiness of his blood, he rose to his knees, tucking his injured arm close to his body to keep it from jostling.
He crawled like a baby, edging his way along. He couldn't climb the bank. Instead, he needed to get to the place where the land flattened. Each movement sent a searing heat through his shoulder. Each movement brought him that much closer to safety.
Centimeter by centimeter, he fought his way to level ground. He lay panting for a moment, drenched in sweat, though the cold breath of a North Sea breeze touched the late winter evening.
He didn't have time to rest. Any moment those German soldiers could return. Gritting his teeth, he continued his excruciating crawl toward the house at the top of the bank.
The green door lay a few meters in front of him now. Hand, knee, knee; hand, knee, knee. Then it stood within arm's length. He reached up, knocked, then collapsed to the ground.
Rustling came from behind the solid wood door before it opened. Gerrit peered into the soft, round face of a dark-haired woman. She glanced around and, not noticing him lying in front of her, began to shut the door.
"Please, help me," Gerrit's voice rasped.
She turned her gaze downward. Her mouth fell open into a small O, but she didn't utter a sound.
A man came behind her, gray tingeing his hair. "Who is here, Maria?"
She pointed to Gerrit. "What are we going to do about him?" she whispered.
"Help me get him inside. Then close the door and bolt it."
They grabbed Gerrit by the shoulders and he groaned.
Maria released her grip while the man clinched him around the waist, dragging him to his feet. "Get that door closed. I'll bring him to the bedstee."
Blackness closed in on Gerrit, but he fought it. He needed to stay alert. These people might be collaborators.
The man half carried, half dragged Gerrit to the front room and deposited him on the bedstee, a bed in a cupboard with doors that could be opened or closed. Oh, the joy not to be moving, not to be jostled, to have a few minutes to let the throbbing in his right shoulder calm a little.
"Who are you?" the man asked.
"Jan Aartsma." One of his many false identities.
"We heard the shots. What did you do?"
Was the man curious, or did he have another agenda? "Last night I was arrested. They caught me out after curfew."
The man pulled Gerrit's shirt away from his wound with jerky actions. The fabric tugged on the raw edges of his flesh and Gerrit tensed.
Maria examined the hole in his shoulder then turned to the man. They held a brief, hushed conversation. Gerrit couldn't hear what they said, but the woman shook her head. The man nodded, taking her in his arms. He brushed her dark hair from her face and kissed her forehead.
He glanced over her shoulder at the entryway, then leaned above Gerrit, the long-forgotten odor of pipe tobacco clinging to his clothes. "Why were you out after curfew?"
He asked enough questions, questions Gerrit didn't want to answer. So he told the man what he had first told the Gestapo. "I had a meeting with a woman. A married woman. In the fields."
A blush crept into Maria's pale cheeks and the man took a step back. Good. Maybe they wouldn't question him further. The occupiers may be ruthless, but they didn't shoot men for clandestine meetings. They must know there was more to his story than he was willing to share, but the less they knew, the better for them. The less he told them, the better for him.
Maria handed a bottle of something to the man, whom Gerrit assumed to be her husband. Her hands shook. "You'll have to clean and dress the wound. The sight of it makes me sick to my stomach." She ambled out of the room.
Gerrit bit his lower lip as the man poured the pungent peroxide over his bloody shoulder. Millions of little needles pricked his wound. Darkness crept over him and he wanted to embrace it. But he couldn't. Not until he determined what kind of people these were, until he could be sure they wouldn't turn him over to the Germans. They had to know he had fabricated his story like a woman knitted socks.
He cried out in agony as the man patted his wound dry and when he positioned Gerrit to dress his shoulder. The rough cotton he used to cover the injury rubbed and chafed until tears came to Gerrit's eyes.
The man finished his work and stepped back, pacing four or five meters from one end of the small, bright room to the other, pausing for a moment before repeating his circuit. "You have to leave here." Maria returned to the man's side and he rubbed her shoulder while she wrung her hands.
His voice rose in intensity. "The Germans will come back to bury the bodies. When they count them and know one is missing, where do you think they'll look? Our house is the closest to the bridge, and they won't hesitate to turn this place over and shake it until they find you. And then they will arrest us for helping you." Fervor filled his words. "I have to protect my family, and having you here will mean we will all end up in prison. I'm sorry. You have to leave. Now."
Excerpted from SNOW ON THE TULIPS by LIZ TOLSMA. Copyright © 2013 Christine Cain. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a US Marine. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.
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In the Province of Friesland, Netherlands, war widow, Cornelia de Vries, spent her days simply trying to survive the ravages of the war going on around her. The Germans had taken over her city but with the Allies coming the war would soon be over. When her brother, Johan, brings home and injured man Cornelia is torn. Should she send him on his way knowing he will die or should she risk everything, even the safety of her brother, and let him stay? Once she decides to let Gerrit stay she find she is not only risking their safety but her heart as well. After the death of her husband due to the war Cornelia is afraid she won't survive another loss so she guards her heart like the Germans guard the city. But a lone Resistance worker soon finds his way into her badly bruised heart. Now if they can only survive so they can build a life together. Gerrit Laninga knew he was going to die. After surviving his own execution he was sure he was going to bleed to death unless the beautiful woman before him agrees to take him in and tend to his wound. Fighting against her fear, Cornelia de Vries follows her heart and relies on her faith and takes Gerrit into her home. Gerrit is a Resistance worker aiding the people of the city. He never thought about the danger until he lost his heart to Cornelia but he knows he must continue the fight and trust God to keep him safe. The biggest fight of all will be tearing down the wall around Cornelia's heart. Can he help her get past the fears that are stopping her from living a happy life with him? I can very easily say that Snow on the Tulips is the BEST book I have read this entire year! It brought out such raw emotions in me that I can't even begin to describe them. (A few Kleenex? Try a whole BOX!) This book was so descriptive I felt as if I were IN the story fighting along side Cornelia and Gerrit. I'm sure you have heard the phrase "I wish I were a fly on the wall" well I actually felt like I was. It could have been anymore real had I been in Friesland in 1945. When I was young I saw a movie that touched me so much I fell in love with it then and there and watched it every chance I got. I still haven't forgotten the way I felt watching it for the first time. That movie was The Diary of Anne Frank. I love the similarities between the movie and Snow on the Tulips, such as Dr. Boukma hiding five Juden and being discovered by the Germans. In The Diary of Anne Frank Victor Kugler hid several Juden, including Anne's family, and was later discovered as well. The Germans ravaged the countryside and the reality of just how devastating it was is brought to life on every page. I also loved the trust they had in God. They trusted Him to keep them safe no matter what situation they were in and that is a beautiful thing indeed. This is the first book I have read from Liz Tolsma and I have found a new author to love. If you love books that drag your emotions right out of you or if you're a fan of The Diary of Anne Frank you will love this book. Just make sure you have the Kleenex handy because you will need them! I most definitely recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone and I received no monetary compensation.
This is an engaging, exciting tale set in the Netherlands at the end of WWII, based on a true life experience of the author's family. There are some great examples of faith, courage, mercy and love in a time of war. Makes you think about what you'd do if put to the test. Had a hard time putting it down. Highly recommend!
Snow on the Tulips draws the reader into the deprivation, stress and terror of everyday life under Nazi occupation. Even good people with good intentions are fearful of doing more than the bare minimum of good works; those serving the resistance are afraid but willing to sacrifice themselves to help those who cannot help themselves. When the two sides meet, the clash means uncomfortable compromise or ultimate sacrifice. Told through the eyes of Cornelia, her sister Anki, and Gerrit, the love interest, the story unfolds toward the end of WWII in occupied Netherlands. Cornelia barely had a chance to experience adult life when she was widowed; Anki married a man of uncompromising faith which rendered him untrustworthy to those who broke the law; Gerrit’s recklessness was borne of betrayal and helplessness to protect a family member. Each has internal demons to fight, besides the enemy’s destruction of the life they knew before the war. Forgiveness is at best difficult, but it’s a joy to watch Cornelia overcome her prejudices and grow into a woman who is capable of living the life to which she’s called. What I loved most about this story is that it comes from family history. Tolsma draws upon stories from her relatives, from the cousin whose husband went to war the day after the wedding, to the man who survived a group execution, to the copious interviews and dedicated details, Snow on the Tulips is historical dramatic romance of high caliber.
Historical fiction is one of my especially favorite genres, and WWII is something I can't seem to read enough about. It is such a complex period in history, and I have never read anything that concentrated on the Netherlands during this tumultuous time in history. To make this book even better, it has its roots in reality. I love historical fiction that is based on a true story! I honestly don't have much criticism concerning this book. it is well-written, and the Christian message is strong and clear. At times, the reality does drive the story to some places the reader may not wish, but don't worry--it has an essentially happy ending. Putting this story towards the end of WWII practically ensures that. But there is much tragedy along the way, and some will possibly surprise the reader. There was a part of me that didn't want a happy ending, but in the end, the ending was strong, emotional, and filled with hope. This is the first book I have ever read by this author, and I can hope that I will read more in the future. Her book is well-researched, and I never found myself bored. Her characters are three-dimensional, and she seamlessly has woven the gospel story into the novel. I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
This book was for me an in depth look at the 1945 world war, told from the Dutch people's standpoint. This novel is superbly written and I was as if I saw the devastation, felt the fear, and yes the courage of the people. There are so many aspects to war...Those that go and actively fight the enemy are no more brave than those who stay at home and work in their quiet way, often behind the scenes where no one knows their involvement. But then, as is mentioned in the novel what is courage? Is it an active verb just like love is? I really enjoyed the novel, seeing the spirit of the Dutch Resistance, reading about their bravery, how slowly, one by one they did their part. It is well written, and I learned history without knowing it. Although I am not living on the war front as these people were, am I standing for what I know is right? It is so easy to let those who feel they have power and might over someone get away with bullying, to just be quiet and mind my own business. Am I brave enough to do my part to end it? To help the one at the bottom? These are questions I had to ask myself as I read. I received this book free from Amy at Litfuse Communications Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
"I'm asking you to quit acting like a tulip covered in snow. Don't hide in this house until the Allies free you. They may not come for awhile." Cornelia de Vries know quite a bit about the sacrifices required from being involved in the war. She has lost not only her husband Hans within the first 24 hours of being married and then widowed in the same day. Now she is struggling to keep her brother Johan Kooistra alive when the call of war is beckoning at his door. Being a onderduiker, a under-diver, a Dutch man hiding to avoid being sent away to a German work detail, he hides in a secret place when the Gestapo arrives for unexpected raids looking for men. But when he discovers a group of Dutch resistance workers taken down to the canal to be executed, he knows he can no longer sit by and just hide. No one has survived his own execution. The Nazi's weren't that sloppy. But somehow that is the prayer that was answered as Gerrit Laninga faced down the barrel of a gun. Now if he could only pretend he was dead long enough for them to leave, he might just get that second chance at life. He is discovered by Johan who went to see if he knew any of the Dutch men who were executed and takes him back home to tend to his injuries. Surviving a bullet wound is no easy task considering that there are countless people who would turn him in rather than face making the German soldiers suspicious. Now if he can only convince his sister Cornelia to help. In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Is that what someone might have offered to Hans if they found him laying wounded? How can she turn away a man clearly in need of help. Despite Hilter's pledge to respect the Netherlands neutrality, he invaded anyway. This war had a way of turning everything upside down, like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces didn't fit together. They had lost so much. Too much. What could they do now? I received Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are my own. Being a huge lover of historical WWII fiction, I was immediately drawn to this story. It had me wondering just what I would have done in the same situation that Cornelia faced. Would she turn away a wanted man and risk her own safety as well as her brothers? She knew that once the soldiers discovered that one of the men they had executed was missing, they would come looking and they wouldn't stop until they discovered him. Their own army was no match for the German soldiers and faced with food shortages and raids at any hour of the day as well as bombings from the allied planes, life for Cornelia was anything but normal. This story was based on the true story of the author's family which she does an incredible job at drawing the reader in and making them feel a part of the action. I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. There is a great discussion guide included as well as a sneak peek into the next novel Daisies Last Forever from Liz Tolsma, one I will definitely be picking up!
Liz Tolsma makes a solid publishing debut with Snow on the Tulips, a World War II novel set in the German-occupied Netherlands during the last remaining weeks of the war. This story is more action based than character driven, packed with one suspenseful scene after another. Snow on the Tulips is also a tribute to those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. This story is an eye-opening read as Liz brings home the reality of the German occupation and danger for those who defended their homeland. One of the story's strengths is the depth of research and rich historic detail, evident in the way Liz vividly depicts what life was like under the cruelty of the Gestapo in the small town of Dronrijp. You can almost hear the sound of Allied planes flying overhead, sense the fear as wanted men are hidden behind walls, and admire the determination and courage of those in the Resistance underground movement. And what makes this book so very special is that it is based on real-life events in Liz's family history, as described at the bottom of this post. Having lost loved ones to the Nazis already, Cornelia is unwilling to take a risk when her only goal is to protect her younger brother, Johan. Yet Gerrit's passion about his dangerous work forces her to rethink her beliefs. "She liked Gerrit's comparison of his work to David and Goliath. God used small people to accomplish big goals." Liz does a good job at highlighting the contrast between people like Cornelia's brother-in-law, who believed that submitting to the Germans' authority was God's will, with those who put their lives on the line to fight evil. Cornelia's question sums up the moral dilemma: "How did you know when to step aside and let God do His work and when to act on His behalf? " I especially liked how the beauty of God's Word hidden in our hearts is shown through characters being able to draw strength from their knowledge of memorized Scripture. Snow on the Tulips is a moving and emotional read, one that I think most readers of inspirational fiction will enjoy, especially those who like World War II settings. This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.
Liz Tolsma in her new book “Snow On The Tulips” published by Thomas Nelson brings us to the life of Cornelia de Vries in 1945. From the back cover: A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything. The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding. When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out. As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable. She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins. History, romance, family drama and suspense all bundled together into one very entertaining story. The Dutch Resistance Movement and World War II. Truth to tell I really do not know a lot about the Dutch Resistance Movement or I didn’t until I read this book. Wow, what people had to endure because of the war, it is incredible. Ms. Tolsma begins the book with the Nazis executing a dozen freedom fighters and the story takes off from there. This is a story about how individuals can determine the course for the many, either for the bad or the good. Corrie and Gerrit are wonderfully crafted characters that we draw very close to and root for them to succeed. “Snow On The Tulips” is a wonderful, interesting story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages. I recommend this book highly and I do look forward to the next book from this highly talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Snow on the Tulips is a beautiful story, but it is very emotionally in depth. This book is definitely not for the light of heart, but when finishing it a reader can look back an be in awe of the people who inspired the actual characters written! From the beginning I really felt I could relate to Cornelia with her wanting to stay safely tucked in her home and not acknowledging the fear that secretly gripped her heart. As she grew, healed, and let go throughout her journey she slowly became the woman God created her to be all along: Brave and courageous. My favorite quote from this novel that really defines the overall growth of the characters (and the story as a whole) is "Courage is not a feeling. Courage is an action." Spoken from one of the main characters, it really shapes the whole story for Cornelia and the sweet victory she receives. To get there though, there is a lot of suspense and of course romance endeavors as well as some hard-headness that the reader has to go through first! Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and was truly inspired. After closing the book I reflected on my own life and how fear is holding me back from living for God. I recommend Snow on the Tulips to anyone who is looking for a great historical novel that inspires the reader personally as well as entertain! *I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts are my own.*
Boring and repetitive and inconsistent!! Not beliveable. A Childish romance.
I really like that Snow on the Tulips was based on a true story. I’ve read books and watched movies about WWII, but Liz Tolsma wrote this in a more gentle way. That’s not to say that things were glossed over, she avoided the gory details that are often the focal point. Sometimes while reading books with several characters, I find myself fanning back through the pages, trying to figure out who is who, but that wasn’t necessary in this book. The characters were well developed, and I was genuinely interested in their outcomes. I was drawn to Cornelia, and understood how she ‘lost herself.’ If you like historical fiction, I feel you’ll love this book. There were some slow parts, but I was never bored. Cover: Like it Title: Love it Publisher: Thomas Nelson Pages: 336 Pace: Slow/Steady First Line: "Schnell, schnell!" A German soldier jammed the cold hard barrel of his rifle into Gerrit Laninga's back. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy free from the BookSneeze blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma, ©2013 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. --Psalm 46:1-3 Cornelia de Vries. I am reminded of Anne Frank and Corrie ten Boom. Hidden and hider. Concealed and concealer. It is February of 1945 in the provence of Friesland, Netherlands. Her brother Johan has just brought home a wounded resister left for dead. Do they dare being found out or supported together within their home? Where do you draw the line? Hunted or hunter? Secrets. Their sister, Anki Dykstra, comes to cleanse and tend to his shoulder wound. How do you tend to your daily chores, to appear normal in your activities? Sweeping the porch, beginning your laundry? Nothing new, you must appear as usual. Neighbors, countrymen, no one must suspect something different at her dwelling. No one must know her brother Johan is there either. Will it seem odd to add additional groceries to your already meager offerings? Suspicious? What about your neighbors? Sheltering someone(s) puts pressure on them. And you... you realize why their home is being searched and their son(s) taken. In the days before the war, her family would gather for a big dinner each Sunday, with a roast and mashed potatoes. The smell would make her mouth water. If a person could travel backward, she would return to those times and cherish them. --Snow on the Tulips, 75 Times had changed; her family had changed. But not our God: "God's fingerprints are over everything that is happening." --Ibid., 76 How good is our God in all generations. Join this family as He holds it all together in His perfect timing. He is indeed our Deliverer. John 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. We Gather Together ~Public Domain~ We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known; The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing; Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine! We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant, And pray that Thou still our Defender will be; Let Thy congregation escape tribulation; Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free! Author Liz Tolsma This story is told in remembrance of Liz Tolsma's family lineage. The book was written to preserve the stories of many who labored and gave their lives without fanfare so this generation could enjoy freedom. May we treasure it. --Liz Tolsma Snow on Tulips releases today, August 6, 2013. ***Thank you to BookSneeze for sending me a copy of Liz Tolsma's novel, Snow on the Tulips. This review is in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
WWII is coming to an end, but in a small town in the Netherlands, the rigors of war are still present. Cornelia, a young woman who lost her husband to the Nazis, is striving to protect her younger brother, Johan and survive the war. When Gerrit, a Dutch Resistance worker survives his own execution and is rescued by Johan, Cornelia must choose between safety and courage. This book could not be better. Everything necessary for a good book is present, believable characters readers care about, interesting plot with twists and surprises, and encouraging message. Tolsma does an outstanding job introducing the multiple characters in a way that readers can identify with them and keep track of them. The plot is suspenseful with surprises and uncertainties that makes readers want to read on. The message of courage is inspiring, as well as the personal integrity of the characters. I highly recommend this book. If you love historical fiction, especially WWII fiction, you will enjoy this book. It was interesting to learn how the Nazi occupation impacted life in the village and the fact that the novel was based on a true story made it even more interesting. Give this book a try, you will like it! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Would have been good except for all the stuff witten before hand and then ten pages of story only to be told it continues in another story???? what a waste of my eight dollars. I am disapoited and angry
I thought this was historical fiction, but it reads more like a cheap romance novel.
I love to read historical fiction about WWII. Thought this would be fascinating based on the description of the book. But, the constant references to Psalm passages was distracting. I would classify this book first as a Christian book, with the WWII plot as a distant secondary focus. I am a Christian but this was definitely more of a spiritual novel, with heavy basic fundamentalist references; NOT a historical fiction novel as it was advertised to be.