Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own lifeand powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Nancy Peterson loves to weave a great story with her words. With over twenty-five years of experience in theater, television, film, commercial voiceover, and audiobook narration, she brings depth, passion, and nuance to every project, capturing the heart of each of them.
Read an Excerpt
Flower petals clung like scraps of wet silk on Josie's toes as she ducked alongside the village canal. Klaas Schoght could search all afternoon if he wanted. As long as she and her brother stuck to their plan, he would never find them or the red, white, and blue flag they'd sworn to protect.
Klaas's hair, shimmering like golden frost, bobbed above his family's neatly trimmed hedge across the canal from her. She watched the sprig of sunlit hair as Klaas combed through the shrubs, then between two punts tied up to a piling, before he turned toward the wooden bridge.
There were no roads in Giethoorn — only narrow footpaths and canals that connected the checkered plots. Most of the village children spent their time swimming, boating, and skating the waterways, but her brother preferred playing this game of resistance on land.
"Jozefien?" Klaas called as he crossed over to the small island her family shared with a neighbor.
She ducked between the waxy leaves of her mother's prized hydrangea bushes, the blossoms spilling pale-purple and magenta petals into a slootje — one of the many threads of water that stitched together the islands. Her brother had taught her how to hide well in the village gardens and trees and wooden slips. Even on the rooftops. She could disappear for hours, if necessary, into one of her secret spaces.
"Samuel?" Klaas was shouting now, but Josie's brother didn't respond either.
All the children learned about the Geuzen — Dutch Resistance — at school, their people fighting for freedom from Spain during the Eighty Years' War. Her brother was a master of hide-and-seek, like he was one of the covert Geuzen members fighting for freedom centuries ago.
In their game with Klaas, neither she nor Samuel could be tagged before her brother pinned the Dutch flag onto the Schoght family's front door. Klaas didn't really care whose team he was on, as long as he won.
Between the flowers and leaves, Josie saw the hem of Samuel's breeches disappear up into a fortress of horse- chestnut leaves. They had a plan, the two of them. Now all she had to do was hide until her brother signaled her to dive.
It wasn't the doing, Samuel liked to tell her, that was key to resisting their enemy. It was the waiting.
And Klaas hated to wait.
The boy wore a black cape over his Boy Scout uniform, but she could see the white rings around the top of his kneesocks as he searched one of her family's boats.
This afternoon he wasn't Klaas Schoght, proud scout, tenacious son of their village doctor. This afternoon he was the pompous Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, the Spanish governor over Holland, trying to capture the Dutch resisters and their flag made from the fabric of one of Mama's old dresses that was, thankfully, too threadbare to remake into a shift for her only daughter.
Josie much preferred wearing the long shorts and blouses that her mother reluctantly allowed during the summer so she wouldn't keep ruining her dresses. And even more, the Brownie uniform she wore today — a light-brown dress that hung inches below her knee. Her knit beret and brown shoes and long socks were tucked away in the house behind her.
The three of them had developed the rules for this game, but she and her brother kept their own names — Josie and Samuel van Rees, the children of a teacher and a housewife who sometimes helped at the kinderschool.
Klaas didn't know that the Dutch flag had climbed the tree with Samuel this afternoon. When her brother gave the signal, Josie would distract Klaas so Samuel could hang the stripes of red, white, and blue on the door.
Water lapped against the bank, and she glanced again between a web of white blossoms and waxy leaves to see if Klaas had jumped into the water. Instead of Klaas, she saw a neighbor pushing his punt down the canal with a pole.
Her knee scraped on one of the branches, and she pulled it back, wiping the glaze of blood on a leaf before it stained the hem of her uniform.
The injuries from their battles were frequent, but now that she was nine, she tended to them on her own. Once, a year or so back, she'd run inside with a battle wound. Mama took one look and fainted onto the kitchen floor.
Ever since, Josie visited Klaas's father if she had a serious wound.
When the punt was gone, she listened for the thud of Klaas's boots along the bank, but all she heard was the cackling of a greylag, irritated at Josie for venturing too close to the seven goslings paddling behind her in a neat row. They looked like Dutch soldiers following their orange-billed colonel, each one uniformed in a fuzzy yellow coat and decorated with brown stripes earned perhaps for braving the canals all the way to the nearby lake called Belterwijde.
If only she could reach out and snatch one of the goslings, snuggle with it while she waited in her hiding spot, but the mother colonel would honk, giving away her location to the governor of Spain. And Fernando Álvarez de Toledo would brag for days about his triumph. Again.
This time, she and Samuel were determined to be the victors.
Long live the resistance!
The battalion of geese swam around the punt below her and disappeared.
"Jozefien!" Klaas was much closer now, though she didn't dare look out again to see where he was.
Did he know Samuel was up in the tree behind her? Klaas didn't like climbing trees, but his fear of heights would be overpowered by his resolve to win.
A stone splashed into the canal, rocking the boat, and her heart felt as if it might crash through her chest. Operation van Rees was about to begin. While Klaas was searching for whoever threw the stone, she would hide on the other side of the bridge.
She shed her dress and slipped into the cool water in her shift like her brother had instructed, holding her breath as she kicked under the surface like a marsh frog escaping from a heron. Six long kicks and she emerged under the wood bridge, her long knickers and undershirt sticking to her skin, the water cold in the shadow. From the canal she could see Klaas rummaging through Mama's flowers, and above him, Samuel descending from the tree, ready to race across the bridge.
Beside her, carved into the wood, were three sets of initials.
S.v.R. J.v.R. K.S.
The boys didn't know that she'd carved their initials here, but this recording of their names made it feel permanent. As if nothing could ever change between them. Often she, Samuel, and Klaas were the worst of enemies in their play, but in reality, they were the best of friends.
Josie inched away from the bridge, toward the narrow pilings behind her that kept the bank from sliding into the canal. Something moved on her left, and she turned toward the house of Mr. and Mrs. Pon. The Pons didn't have any children, but an older girl was watching Klaas from the porch.
A German Jewish man and his daughter — refugees, Mama had said — were moving in with the Pon family. Josie had learned German, along with English, at school. Tomorrow, perhaps, she would ask the German girl to play. They could resist Spain together.
Samuel's bare feet padded across the bridge; Klaas would be close behind. She dove back under the surface and emerged once again, this time in her secret hiding space between the moss-covered pilings, tucked back far enough under the quay so Klaas couldn't see her chestnut-colored hair.
She couldn't touch the bottom in the middle of the canal, but it was shallow under the wood awning. Her toes sank into the mud as her chin rested an inch or two above the surface, and she waited patiently between the pilings, like Samuel had instructed, until he hung the flag on Klaas's door.
One of the goslings, a renegade like her, paddled by with- out his fleet. Then he turned around to study her.
"Ga weg," she whispered, rippling the water with her hands. The gosling rode the tiny waves, but he didn't leave.
She pressed through the water again, the ripples stronger this time, but the gosling moved closer to her as if she were his mother. As if she could rescue him. She reached out a few inches, just far enough to pet the creature but not so far that anyone could see.
The moment her hand slipped out from under the plat- form, a face leaned over the ledge, lips widening into a smile when he saw her. Then his fingers sliced across his throat.
"Klaas!" she screamed, her heart pounding.
He laughed. "You have to find another hiding place."
She huffed. "Samuel told me to hide here."
Klaas jumped off the bank in a giant flip, knees clutched to his chest, and when he landed, water flooded over her nose and mouth. She swam out into the center, splashing him back as he circled her. He might be four years older, but neither he nor his impersonation of Fernando fright- ened her.
"You don't always have to listen to Samuel," he said.
"Yes, I do." Klaas didn't know anything about having a brother, or a sister for that matter. Nor did he listen to much of what anyone told him, including his father. Sometimes it seemed that he believed he was governor of Giethoorn instead of the make-believe Spanish general.
"The Dutch have won!" Samuel exclaimed triumphantly from the opposite bank.
Klaas shook his head. "I found Jozefien before you pinned the flag."
"I pinned it five minutes ago."
Klaas lifted himself up onto the bank, facing Samuel. They were the same age, but her brother was an inch taller.
"It's been at least six minutes since I found her," Klaas said, hands on his hips, the black cape showering a puddle around him.
"You did not!" She whirled her arms through the water, attempting to splash him again, but the canal water rained back down on her instead.
The two boys faced off, and for a moment, she thought Klaas might throw a punch. Maybe then Samuel would fight for what was right instead of letting Klaas win again.
"I suppose you won," Samuel said, surrendering once more.
She groaned. Her brother always let Klaas win whenever his friend claimed victory. Why wouldn't he stand up for himself and for her? For Holland?
Klaas raised both fists in the air. "To Spain!"
"To the resistance," she yelled as the boys turned toward Klaas's house.
Fuming, she swam back toward the bridge, to the under- water steps built for those who didn't want to hop up on the planks as Klaas had done. When she passed by the cropping of initials, she rapped them with her knuckles.
The best of friends, perhaps, but some days Klaas made her so mad. And Samuel, too, for not fighting back when Klaas lied to him.
The next time they played, the resistance would win.
As Josie climbed the mossy steps out of the water, the German girl inched closer to the canal. She had dark-brown hair, draped rather short around her head, and her brown eyes seemed to catch the light on the canal, reflecting back.
"I'm Anneliese," the girl said in German. "But my friends call me Eliese. I'm ten."
Josie introduced herself, speaking in the German language that her father had taught all the village children.
The girl sat on the grass, pulling the skirt of her jumper over her knees. "Would you like to be friends?"
Josie smiled — another girl, a friend, living right next door. They would be friends for life.
Josie turned to the opposite bank to see both boys standing there, Samuel with his mouth draped open as if he might swallow the light.
Josie waited for Samuel to introduce himself, but when he didn't speak, Josie waved toward him. "That's my brother standing beside Klaas. He'll come to his senses soon."
Samuel glared at Josie before introducing himself. And when he did, Eliese smiled at him.
Samuel didn't speak again, just stared at the girl. And in the stillness of that awkward moment, with her brother utterly entranced, Josie knew.
Nothing in her world would be the same again.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Memories of Glass"
Copyright © 2019 Melanie Dobson.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A compelling, complex story based on real people and events of WW2. Amid the onslaught of Nazi occupation, the brave Dutch people shine as stars as they use their resources to quietly fight the Jewish Holocaust. Digging into the past reveals a mystery that might just unravel more than one prominent family's reputation. "The truth will set us free." This book had me holding my breath sometimes, and brought me to tears more than once. It was very well done, bringing all the characters' stories together and creating a moving drama with some suspense, and a complicated mystery. The dual timeline worked well in bringing Ava's family history to light, and in telling the story of Dutch heroes who bravely worked in the resistance, saving children especially. They used their gifts for good instead of evil. It was quite inspirational! The legacy of love and faith, self-sacrifice and courage was a direct contrast to the evil and greed in both past and present. It all came together perfectly in the end, leaving a hopeful message. "The darker the evil, I think, the more brilliant are the flickers of light." If readers like stories that are well researched historicals with complex characters, they should enjoy this book. Highly recommend! 5 stars! (An ebook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.)
Melanie Dobson is a masterful storyteller. She weaves past and present, ordinary and extraordinary, love and loss, fears and faith in an intricate tapestry of experience and emotion. My words can't even begin to scratch the surface of Dobson’s exquisite art. The richness and depth of not only faith and emotion but also fascinating historical detail captivated my heart, mind, and spirit. The characters (and real people who inspired them) speak truth to us and our lives today. Despite their grave circumstances, these people made a difference in the lives of others by loving and acting sacrificially. Memories of Glass tore my heart out, engaged my mind, and challenged my spirit in such a way that I am grateful for and changed by the experience. I highly recommend this book and I will definitely be purchasing a print copy for my all-time favorites shelf. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Melanie Dobson’s latest time-slip novel, Memories of Glass, is based on a true story. This makes the historical storyline that much more fascinating, as we learn along with the characters just how much these quiet heroes did to save children during WWII. I love the theme of the book, that it’s up to us to remember the past, both the good and the bad, with the goal of offering kindness or doing good in the present and the future. The contemporary story kept me turning pages, and from the middle of the book forward Dobson blends the two stories ever more closely, like braiding the crimson cord she encourages her characters to grasp to find redemption in Christ. Beautifully written, this is a story readers won’t soon forget.
Save the Children This is a heartbreaking story of the Holland Jewish people during the Nazi occupation of Holland. It is the story of resistance and the saving of the lives of many Jewish children by hiding them. Samuel, Jose, Eliese, and Klaas were friend playing together as children. The war changed everything. Samuel worked at the bank managed by Eliese's father. During the war he took the money the bank had received from the Jewish customers and distributed it to the resistance to help hide Jewish families. Jose helped him deliver the money. Eliese left Amsterdam and went to England with William Kingston and they had a son Hein. Later when he left them and returned to New York Eliese returned to Amsterdam. She had to put her son in hiding and later at the last minute Jose saved him from the death camps, but Eliese never found out and always thought he had perished at the hands of the Nazi's. Klaas took the route of working for whomever paid the most. In the end he did the right thing and helped Jose save Hein. Their stories are told within the book. It was sad and moving. The story is also one of the Kingston family after the war, and the secrets they hid. Crimes that were committed and how ruthless some members of the Kingston family were in order to keep the secrets hidden. Eloise works for the Kingston foundation but knows nothing of her past. Her mother and brother perish in a fire and she is sent to live with her mother's adopted family. She digs into the past and finds the family secrets dating back to WWII. Someone in the Kingston family does not want her to find the truth. As events unfold so does the story of William Kingston and the WWII era for this family. Told in both modern time and the WWII occupation of Holland both stories are merged together in a way that was easy to follow. The book was definitely a story to remember. I would highly recommend it. My thanks to Tyndale House Publishing, Melanie Dobson and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book.
SOUL-STIRRING! Using historical facts, author Melanie Dobson’s latest novel MEMORIES OF GLASS is SOUL-STIRRING! Dobson uses the time-slip method, traveling from WWII Holland to present day Uganda. The plot is built around the lives of two intertwined families who have amassed a fortune. However, how the fortune was gained is a closely guarded secret that is known to only a select few. This is a story built built on love and choices. In the past it shows a love that turns to greed and in the present day a love that grows in word and deed. As you read this jewel of a novel, you may learn many new facts and be reminded of facts you’d rather forget. I know I am appalled to read that Americans were EVER involved in financially supporting Hitler! Even worse, as Dobson writes in this novel, they funneled money to the Holland Trade Bank that invested heavily in the research and proliferation of Zyklon, the poison that Nazi Germany used in their gas chambers! I personally have stood in “The Showers” (that’s what they told the unsuspecting prisoners) at Dachau and I can assure you I will forever be changed by the emotions I experienced. It was 40 years ago and I still remember it as though it were yesterday. Truly one of the most sobering experiences of my life! Dobson approaches subjects that are difficult for any of us to face - the Holocaust - those who were forced to wear “The STAR”, those who hid their friends, those who did everything they could to protect innocent children, those who made choices purely for survival and those who made choices based purely on greed and leave you asking yourself, “What would you do to save the life of your child?” I was provided an ARC of this novel by Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.
Memorable, Inspirational WWII Story Memories of Glass...has left me speechless. While this book covers only a small portion of WWII it does it very well. This was a very well researched book. I felt as if I was reading an actual account of those rescuing and hiding Jewish children from the Nazi's. They were truly heroes of the war. The significance of the colored glass in Oma's house and memories was very touching. In the modern part of the story, I again felt as if I was reading a real-life accounting of events. I could see the lengths that Ava was going to in her quest to find the truth about her grandfathers. I felt her frustration with her so-called family. The only thing they cared about was money, at any cost. The way some people built their wealth during and after the war was terrible. How they covered it up was worse. I liked how the author connected Ava with Landon and his grandmother. I cried near the end. *I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. The opinion expressed is entirely my own.
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. Memories of Glass alternates between the second world war in occupied Poland and modern day USA. Two families intertwined throughout the war, only to fall apart and then a few generations later come back together. At times, I had difficulty keeping track of who was who and how they related to each other. Dobson puts an interesting spin on what it was like to live during this horrendous period of history. She shows that not all Germans were Nazis and were not in favor of the war. She also,showed what some Jews had to do to survive. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a Christian themed book or not, but I did like how living a Christ following life seemed understated in words, but very apparent through deeds. The ending wrapped up many answers to questions that the reader will have throughout the book.
Melanie Dobson books always give me at least one shiver when something surprising is revealed, and I more often than not cry somewhere near the end. Her stories always capture me as she introduces her readers to heroes and heroines of history and modern day. You know when you pick up a Melanie Dobson book you are in for a treat. All of this was true of her latest book, Memories of Glass. Josie, Ava, and Eliese are fantastically three-dimensional characters that leap off the page and into your heart. Josie and Eliese live in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. They make it their mission to save Jewish children who are bound for the camps, even at the cost of their own lives. Eliese must also protect the child she had with an American banker. When it becomes clear that her working for the Nazi’s and the money her father paid to purchase a stamp of protection simply won’t protect her, she makes difficult choices that could end in disaster. Ava lives in the modern day and works for her grandmother’s foundation, trying to do some good in the world. But her life is darkened by the secrets surrounding the Kingston Foundation. Secrets that she is determined to uncover as she searches for family, truth, and love. Then she meets Landon West, a man who runs a coffee plantation in Uganda and coffee roasting and shops in Portland. He and his sister have a mission to provide jobs for families on both sides of the ocean, as well as a children’s home and clinic in Uganda. But when Ava’s grandmother falls ill, the truth about both the Kingston and West families comes out, threatening the Foundation, and perhaps even Ava’s life. In both of the timelines, lives are at stake, and doing the right thing could come at a high cost. I cannot recommend this book, or any of Melanie Dobson’s books, any more highly. If you enjoy timeslip novels, run to get this book today. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This time-slip novel draws from Holland's darkest period of history to create a stunning true story novel that captured my attention from start to finish. It's 1942, and Josie Van Reese and her best friend Eliese Linden partner to rescue hundreds of Jewish children who were set for deportation to Nazi death camps. In current time, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather, William Kingston, was not the wonderful philanthropist he seemed to be but instead had hidden secrets that would blow their family apart. Heartbreaking, yet uplifting, both Josie and Eliese played a critical role in saving hundreds of Jewish children from extermination. Multi-layered with its time slip threads each revealing roles that the main and secondary characters played during this atrocious time period. Choices were made that would affect not only their own lives but the lives of those who surrounded them. It also highlighted the fact that these choices have consequences that can affect further generations. Friendship and faith were what allowed the Dutch people to help one another throughout this devastating period. Written with a pace that gained momentum with each page carrying me through til the very end. This is a book that will long stay in any reader's mind. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review
I was able to finish this book. I had to put this book down several times because I could feel true hate coming out of this book. I could also feel the very real fear from the Jewish people too. Such a sad and dark time for them! I love Melody Dobson. I have followed her for a very long time. Her work is so wonderful and she does her research so well that this book leaves u thinking about it long after it's done. I have read few books that can leave my soul feeling full long after it's done. I also love reading the authors note at the end because that will tell you everything about the story and how it came about. Be ready for secrets and glass bottles to come popping out at you since there is a little mystery mixed in. Actually, just be ready for anything! It's what makes a good story! Melody I can't wait to see what you come out with next. You have done an excellent job in writing this novel and bringing the characters to life. This is why I like historical novels because authors like you bring us readers great joy in learning about the past. My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book. NO compensations were received and all opinions are my own.
Breathtaking, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. Memories of Glass shows the beauty when people do anything to help others, the ugliness when people do anything to help only themselves, and the destructive power of secrets through the generations. Melanie Dobson’s memorable characters and fine eye for detail bring the danger of the Netherlands under Nazi occupation to life. This novel will stay with you.
“The past often has a way of creeping into our present.” With a powerful and compelling style, award-winning author Melanie Dobson creates an extraordinary time-slip novel that demonstrates the strength and determination of the human spirit. In Memories of Glass, Melanie Dobson shares the courageous story of the heroic men and women who risked their lives during World War II to rescue countless Jewish children from the Nazis. During this time of extreme evil in the world, countless lives were lost as the Nazis began to carry out Hitler’s Final Solution, while many brave Dutch citizens joined together in the resistance.Memories of Glass weaves the historical and contemporary storylines together as Ava Drake’s present-day work as director of the Kingston Family Foundation leads her to a coffee plantation in Uganda and, ultimately, the dangerous search for answers about her family’s history during World War II in Holland. The stunning conclusion to this novel leaves the readers filled with compassion and hope for the future. Memories of Glass is a story of forgiveness, resilience, and the silent heroes who fought against the Nazis. The author shares the message of God’s forgiveness and grace and the “reminder of God’s love no matter the wickedness of man.” Melanie Dobson is a favorite author of many World War II historical fiction readers because of the incredible way she ties her contemporary and historical storylines together, her strong and courageous heroes and heroines, and her ability to weave the characters’ faith seamlessly into her novels. Memories of Glass is highly recommended for fans of World War II fiction, and readers who enjoy time-slip novels by authors such as Heidi Chiavaroli, Rachel Hauck, and Sarah Monzon. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are mine. Additional Quotes: “Books, she once said, are the best legacy. They outlast one’s life and shed light on the past when truth is hard to find.” “God is going to use you to bring people together instead of tear them apart.” “He desires redemption, not pain, for His children.”
'Hatred stops at nothing to destroy, but love can break through the root of evil.' Melanie Dobson is a master at this type of story: dual time line, one period set in a very dark period of history during the Nazi invasion of Holland, and another in the present day when a young woman stumbles upon her family history and has a great deal to learn about those dark days. This one reminds me some of The Zookeeper's Wife, with characters determined to do their part in the middle of all the atrocities and hatred spreading through their beloved country. Dobson knows her way around this. Her research is impeccable and it's a story that needed to be told, based on fact. *My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for a preview copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.