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.
In February 1945, Nazi soldiers lined up ten Dutch resistance fighters and executed them. It was common practice in occupied Europe, and this is the opening scene of Snow on the Tulips. Miraculously, Gerrit survives and he is later rescued by idealist Johan. For the next two months, Gerrit, Johan and Cornelia are involved in a deadly game of cat and mouse as they attempt to avoid capture or assassination by the Nazis. Johan and Cornelia’s sister, Anki, is also brought into their secret, which puts her at odds with her husband, Piet. As Canadian and other Allied troops advance through the country, the Germans grow more desperate and the situation for the Dutch becomes more precarious.
This book has several great attributes. The characters are individuals with their own opinions, hopes, dreams and fears. Gerrit and Piet are counterpoints to each other; both have a strong Christian faith but live it out in different ways. There are characters who get involved with the resistance, regardless of the cost, and those who want to live quietly and remained unnoticed by the Germans. I became fond of Cornelia’s employer, feisty old Frou de Bruin.
Historical accuracy in a novel is always important to me. Obviously, I wasn’t in 1940s Europe. From what I’ve read, however, this book incorporates many historical facts. Suspected members of the Dutch resistance were rounded up and summarily executed without due process. Dutch homes were raided, and able-bodied men were rounded up and sent to Germany to work for the Nazi regime. Snow on the Tulips doesn’t hide these disturbing facts, but they’re not written in horrific detail either.
Finally, this novel asks a couple of important questions for us to consider. Is it ever okay to lie to someone, especially if it saves a life? Gerrit posits that it is, and brings up the Biblical story of Rahab. Secondly, what is the cost of complete obedience to God and are we willing and ready to pay that price?
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for my free copy of Snow on the Tulips, which I received from the publisher’s Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 06 August 2013
Page Count: 336