Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review - Daisies Are Forever (a novel) - an insightful read

Today I'm reviewing Daisies Are Forever by Liz Tolsma

Back cover summary

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.
Why I would pick this book up again
This was a pretty informative read. In fact, out of all the WWII books I've read, this is the first that was from the perspective of a German fleeing the Red Army. It gave an insight on the condition of the German civilians during the period, as we follow the story of German American, Gisela and Mitch, a British.

Gisela has a huge heart and a desire to save everyone, which is extremely admirable considering the circumstances. It is unsure whether her kindness is fuelled by guilt but all the same she strives to keep all with her safe, even putting her own life at risk to do so. Mitch is quite easy to like. Protective and caring. Although also a charmer and a joker, he would do anything to keep those he cared about safe. While Kurt and Audra added something to the story, I found their motives to be a little disturbing though not especially surprising given the consequences of war. 
Isaiah 43 came up several times during the novel and served as a reminder of God's redeeming power and His promise to never leave us.
Favorite phrase/passage from the book:
"If God says not to worry about tomorrow, I would think the same applies to today"
"These were Allies. He should celebrate the sound. But these pilots shot at innocent men and women. Little children like Renate and Annelies. War no longer held appeal. The luster had worn off"

What I didn't like
I am a big softy so I found certain parts of the book hard to read (which can be expected in a WWII book). It was especially hard to read towards the end when the book speaks of the way the Red Army treated the German women and others. Nothing was graphically described though. 
Why I recommend this book
A definite page-turner. This is a moving story of how strangers become like family in the devastation of war in order to ensure their day-to-day survival. Gisele and Mitch both battle with their conscience only to be reminded of God's grace. A lovely reminder that God's grace saves us and "redeems", not our own works. 
I would recommend this book to anyone except those who are bigger softies than myself ;)

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers® (Thomas Nelson) in exchange for an honest review. 

Have you read this book? If so, what did you like/not like? If not, would you?

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