Snow on the Tulips | Liz Tolsma

So some of the grad research I did was about the Nazi resistance in Germany during World War II. So, as you can imagine, I was quite willing to read a book about Nazi resistance. And as it would turn out, Snow on the Tulips by New York Times bestseller Liz Tolsma is a fantastic read!

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.

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I first need to let y’all know, this is based on true events. The book just bumped up a few more points of awesome. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was Tolsma didn’t shy away from including all aspects of the war. Innocent people died at the hands of a wicked regime and families were torn apart. People who risked their lives to do good were killed. She even dealt with the different Christian responses (i.e. some refusing to resist authorities). It’s an honest look at a dark time in the world’s history.

But there’s a beautiful story among the chaos and I enjoyed both Cornelia and Gerrit’s stories. There were some incredibly brave men and women who resisted and I love to see a well-written story showing that.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced and great story, I recommend grabbing a copy of this one (and if you check out below, you can win one!). So what’s one of your favorite time periods?

(Thank you Litfuse and Thomas Nelson for the Advanced Reader Copy! I was provided a copy in exchange for my honest opinion).

Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulips, by giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what other readers are saying about the book here.

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One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

Giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz’s blog. Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz’s blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)





…not deeper still…

“We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

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If you haven’t heard of Corrie ten Boom, the short version is she and her family hid Jewish families in Amsterdam during WWII until the Nazis found out and they were sent to concentration camps. She was also a believer and her story is incredible. If you haven’t read The Hiding Place, I can’t say enough how much you should read that book.

Anyway, through some of the most horrid, cruel and horrendous conditions, sights and treatment, Boom was able to be a light to people in their darkest times and still see God’s hand at work. This quote was actually first said by her sister (to Corrie), Betsie, before she died in the Ravensbrück death camp in Germany. To have such faith…wow.

Her life impacted so many and does even today. What a life story! Have you heard of Corrie? Have you had a chance to read any of her books?

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Tangled Ashes | Michèle Phoenix

I can tell you this: This book was not what I expected. So let’s start with the description:

After invading Lamorlaye, France, Nazi officials don’t hesitate to take over the beautiful Meunier manor as their headquarters, hiring two young Frenchwomen, Marie and Elise, who clean and launder to help supplement their families’ meager incomes. But the girls begin to grow suspicious when medical equipment arrives, followed by an influx of pregnant women. As the Nazis’ plans for the manor become clear, the girls must decide where their loyalties truly lie.

More than fifty years later . . .

Architect Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

Becker explores the castle’s shadowy history as he seeks to cope with the demons from his own past. Only Jade, the feisty nanny of the owner’s children, is willing to stand up to him. But Becker soon discovers that every one of the château’s inhabitants seems to have something to hide and something to protect—and something worth fighting for.

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Anything World War II will instantly hits my radar and I’m especially intrigued by the history of German occupied countries. As I mentioned, it just isn’t what I expected.

In Tangled Ashes, Michèle Phoenix weaves together a story of secrets, mystery and family. It kept me going because the mystery was far too intriguing to stop reading. What’s Beck hiding? What happened from the prologue? And who is the mysterious person roaming the land?

As the story unfolded, not only did you see how it affected the characters lives, you gained insight into some different stories of WWII.

***Below is only one spoiler (if you can call it that, but it felt right to tell you guys)***

Now that part I didn’t expect? Becker. It took me awhile to like Becker, and I still don’t know if I like him. Every time he did something jerkish I wanted to yell “BRO, QUIT BEING A BUTT FACE!” Yes, Internet I just wrote that.

I would have liked the story to continue as well. Becker was slowly changing and I wish I could have seen more of that. It left a lot open (which I think was the intent), and since I usually prefer more closure, it was unexpected. But even with some of the story left untold, it’s an intriguing tale of the present and the mysterious past colliding.

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I am so sure…

“Please don’t ever get anxious or worry about me, but don’t forget to pray for me – I’m sure you don’t. I am so sure of God’s guiding hand that I hope I shall always be kept in that certainty. You must never doubt that I’m traveling with gratitude and cheerfulness along the road where I’m being led. My past life is brim-full of God’s goodness and my sins are covered by the forgiving love of Christ crucified.”
Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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One of my favorite research papers to write was one on Christian German resistance during World War II. While I could go on for days discussing it (which I’m sure you find shocking), I’ll just stick to one of the main players from that: Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was arrested and later executed (23 days before Berlin was captured by the allies) for the discovery of his connection to anti-Hitler conspiracies (think the movie Valkyrie). Prior to being moved to a concentration camp, he was in prison where he wrote numerous letters.

Above is from one of them. Incredible. Knowing there was a high possibility he would die at the hands of people who lived by hate, he was about honoring God and forgiveness. As Timothy Keller concluded: “Bonhoeffer uses divine forgiveness to help him understand human forgiveness… As Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other’s sins.” So much to take from both of those quotes!

Have you read any of Bonhoeffer? What are your thoughts?

A Noble Groom | Jody Hedlund

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund was simply fantastic. Not that I expected anything different. Jody’s books are always awesome and this one was no different. I was hooked from the beginning.

Focusing on the German immigrants who made their way to Michigan in the 1880s, Hedlund paints a fascinating picture of what it was like to adjust to a different culture, life and what it was like for women in those families. Which was, spoiler alert, LAME. It’s hard for me to understand the mentality that valued sons more than daughters, but that was the way things were back then and A Noble Groom does such a great job portraying that reality.

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Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can’t prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichart, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He’s been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn’t commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he’ll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa’s farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Carl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He’s gentle, kind, and romantic–unlike any of the men she’s ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love–but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

This was also a great story about family. I wished everything turned out great for each one of the characters, but just like real life, it didn’t. I loved Annalisa’s character, especially the love she has for her daughter. She’ll do whatever it takes for her little girl. And her little girl kinda reminded me of my Gabs, so I was smitten :) . And Carl, sweet Carl. You’ll love him too.

Another reason Hedlund is quickly become one of my favorites, is her heart behind her writing. Here’s a tidbit she shared after the novel:

“As you close the pages of this book, I pray you will find the story of the immigrants inspiring as you persevere through the challenges in your life. May their courage give you fresh determination and help.

And most of all may you know God does indeed care for you. Even when He seems busy with more important matters, I hope you’ll have a new awakening of His nearness, Especially during your darkest moments of pain.”

I love that!

(I was given a copy for my honest review by Bethany House Publishing)

For those who have read this one, what did you think? I have so much more to say, but don’t want to spoil it in the post, so maybe I will in the comments!

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