Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Snow on the Tulips


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 heavily occupy the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. Her main objective is protecting her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

But 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. The thought of opening her heart, however, is almost more terrifying than the thought of losing her life.

But 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 landscape slowly thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story might end before it has even begun.

My thoughts

Liz Tolsma makes a solid publishing debut with Snow on the Tulips (Thomas Nelson), 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."
"God's fingerprints are over everything that is happening."
- Gerrit

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 readers of inspirational fiction will like, especially those who enjoy World War II settings.

Liz Tolsma

The story behind the story . . .

       "On April 11, 1945, in the town of Dronrijp, Friesland, Netherlands, the Nazis marched fourteen men along the streets to the edge of the Van Harinxma Canal. Twelve of these men were Resistance workers. The other two were collaborators. . . . They were shot in retaliation for the Dutch Resistance sabotaging railroad lines farther north near Leeuwarden, causing a Wehrmacht train to derail cars.
       "The Germans were very nervous because Allied planes were in the air when they arrived in Dronrijp. Gerard de Jong, though wounded, survived by playing dead. Later, my dad's cousin Johan Feitsma came in his rowboat and found Gerard and took him to my Aunt Hiltje's house where she nursed him. Dronrijp was liberated only days later.
       "Every year while my aunt lived, Gerard visited her on her birthday. Even after she passed away, he brought flowers to her grave.
       "I wrote this book to preserve the stories of people like Gerard, Hiltje, Johan, and the many, many others who labored and gave their lives without fanfare to this generation could enjoy freedom. May we treasure it."

To learn more about Liz Tolsma and her writing, visit her website at

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful review, Carole. You always bring out such depth and insights into characters and story that are refreshing and revealing and more. I've long loved this cover as it's so striking yet so subtle and beautiful. The title is so intriguing, too!

    Can't wait to see what's next up for you reading and review wise!
    In Him,