Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.
Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”
Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.
“New York Times” best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of “Daisies are Forever,” “Snow on the Tulips,” and the contributing author of “A Log Cabin Christmas.” When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.
MY REACTION: First, I am always excited to read a book by a Wisconsin author. It adds an extra specialness to the whole reading experience. Somehow I am more connected just knowing that the creativity was birthed here in our state. Liz Tolsma's second book did not disappoint. Like her first book, SNOW ON TULIPS, she turns to actual people and their World War II experiences for inspiration. For DAISIES ARE FOREVER, she combined the tales she heard from her Aunt Lillian and another into Gisela's heroic flight from the approaching Russians. These are not the stories of powerful people making historic decisions in battle, nor are they the stories of individuals called to assume leadership roles that will change the war's path. Instead Liz's writings show how the women, elderly, wounded, and children left in the war's path must make difficult daily decisions just to survive. They are forced to leave behind loved ones and cherished possessions. Despite having no professed political affiliation or loyalty, they face constant bombings and air raids. Food rations are dwindling and starvation threatens as surely as the Russians advance. This is truly a book of "darkest circumstances" yet Liz tells the truthful and powerful story of faith, hope, love, and survival. She did a superb job of filling the book with informative details which all supported the realism and believability. Even the most minor of characters were well drawn, often underlining how the actions of a single stranger can change the outcome of a desperate situation. I highly recommend Gisela and Mitch's story in DAISIES ARE FOREVER. I also hope that Liz Tolsma is at her Wisconsin writing desk, already planning another novel because I've become a fan of her work. I received a copy of this book from LITFUSE and the publishers for my honest review.