Thursday, October 10, 2013

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

During the last days of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Gerald de Jong, along with some other Dutch resistance workers were hastily lined up to be executed.  Miraculously, Gerald was only wounded and survived by playing dead.  Within hours, he was rescued by a couple town's people, including a relative of our author Liz Tolsma.  Liz grew up hearing this story, as well as another of her father's cousin whose husband left on their wedding night when the Germans invaded the Netherlands; he never returned.   

Tolsma grew up hearing these stories within her family and also learned about area known as Friesland in the Netherlands.  Her fictional story Snow on Tulips blends these two tales in the courageous story of the young widow Cornelia who hides her teenage brother from the Nazi work details and then nurses the wounded Resistance worker Gerrit back to health.  Each day that he remains hidden in the little house in Friesland is a danger not only to Cornelia and her brother, but also to the entire village. Slowly Cornelia learns who she can trust; at the same time, the heart she thought was forever frozen on her wedding night begins to thaw. 

There are several reasons why I was attracted to this book.  First, Liz Tolsma is a new Wisconsin author, and I love to support Wisconsin writers.  Mostly I was drawn by the Friesland setting.  See, I live about 15 minutes from the tiny Wisconsin community of Friesland, which was settled mainly by Dutch immigrants who had left the Friesland, Netherlands area.  Some of these families came after WWII, so they have stories similar to the ones Liz grew up with.  I am not Dutch, neither is my husband, but about 12 years ago he began singing in a Christian men's choir that has its origins in Friesland, WI.

So over the years, we've made more and more "Hollander" friends.  These are people who hold dearly to their heritage and remain strong in their faith -- very similar to Cornelia and Gerrit in the book. Clearly Tolsma's upbringing and family have influenced her writing. I see that Liz Tolsma has two more books being published next year, and she is also going to speak at a Christian Writers Conference in Fond du lac soon.  I am sorry to say that she was in nearby Waupun in late summer and that I missed her.  Hopefully, our paths will cross in the future.  I know I will search out her next books.

Good luck to a Wisconsin author!

Snow on the Tulips
What a captivating cover!

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