The second book in the Women of Courage series, Daisies Are Forever, released May 6, 2014. Set in East Prussia and Berlin at the end of the war, American born Gisela Cramer must stay one step ahead of the Russian troops. Her task is complicated by an escaped British POW, two old women, two little girls, a wounded German soldier and a young woman with big dreams. When they reach Berlin, will they really be safe? And ... what about her heart?
Trusting their mutti and opa will follow, young Annelies and Renate Reinhardt join cousin Gisela Cramer "on an adventure" as they flee to safety. Would they see each other again? Two years earlier, in 1943, Gisela had left her parents to travel to East Prussia from Berlin. The war had caught up with her again.
Gisela: Opa has handed me a daisy pressed in his Bible from Oma's and tells me to put it in my Bible at Isaiah chapter 43. "A reminder of God's pureness and holiness when the road gets hard," he tells me.
"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee."
Taking her precious memories of her mother's parents with her, Gisela with cousin Ella's young kinder enter the cold air, in the bursts of light cast by the exploding bombs coming closer to them. By morning the Russians would be there. No escape. Cousin Ella staying with the Red Cross and many refugees, and Opa too ill to travel, they must trudge on ~ to whatever safety they could find far from them.
British soldiers, Mitch Edwards and Xavier McDonald, have escaped their German captors in the stalag a few days earlier, walking against the tide of refugees going the opposite direction. Are they walking in circles? Seeking shelter for the night, they bring lice with them. With hopes of blending in with the German refugees, they could make it to the Allies. Stopping at a farmyard for the night for encampment, Mitch, in his stolen German greatcoat, seeks something to go with Spam over their campfire. Finding two small frozen potatoes, they will have a meal. Approached by a woman inquiring why they are not fighting for the Fatherland, Xavier answers in response in German learned in their five-year captivity ~ with their British accents. Followed! Sprinting, they rush to cover amid the pines and oaks at the edge of the field as Wehrmacht officers are approached by the woman.
Exhausted, Gisela continued to pedal the bicycle as the girls slept on in the cart. Her thoughts staying to the little house in Heiligenbeil and Ella and her Opa. Waiting for neighbors, Herr Dietrich Holtzman and his elder, addled, sisters to catch up, they stop at the side of the road. Not far off, is the farmhouse of Frau Becker and husband, Heinz, as she opens their door in recognition of their friend Dietrich. With many refugees already sheltered, they spend the night in rest, thankful rest.
Returning, Mitch and Xavier are rescued at dawn. They are saved from the same woman's wrath by Gisela who hears and approaches, claiming them as kin ~ her "husband," Mitch ~ now "Josep Cramer," and "brother-in-law," Xavier ~ now "Siegfried Munchen." With their bicycles stolen, these two men will be helpful pulling their carts.
Now begins the story of their companionship.
It's the real story of two very courageous women. I've taken the true accounts and fictionalized them, but much of what happens in the book did happen. I cannot imagine living during that time, either on the run for my life or hiding for my life. Wondering if each breath would be my last. Praying that the bombs would stop falling while praying at the same time that they would keep falling. I hope the story touches you the way it touched me.
--author Liz Tolsma
God provides trucks on the road to Danzig as they arrive at just the right time to advance to a westbound train. He will not leave them. There are added burdens as they mesh with others. This is a story of courage that happened. It also portrays who you listen to ~ a divisive rattling in your ear from another, or the Truth spoken in your heart of hearts. So important not to assume, but to ask the One to whom your heart beats.
Recreating memoirs of two women living through the atrocities of war, Daisies are Forever portrays the continued reliance and realization of the sheltering of God in their lives. Keeping on reassures dependence and trust, putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next thing. Beginning the next leg of their journey, nothing seemed the same with shifting landmarks.
The trek worrisome and uncertain, air-raid sirens blaring a warning to get to shelters as the bombings began again, keeping them cloistered in tight enclosed space until the all-clear signal sounded.
Book 1 in the Women of Courage series ~ also written modeling a true story ~ is Snow on the Tulips. I can just see this story as a movie! Excellent. I am looking forward to continued writings by this author. The third book in the series, Remember the Lilies, releases this winter and is set in the Philippines during the war and focuses on an American woman detained by the Japanese at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp.
|author Liz Tolsma|
***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for Liz Tolsma's novel ~ Daisies are Forever. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
DAISIES ARE FOREVER | Enter to win a Kindle HDX from Liz Tolsma!
Liz Tolsma's latest WWII historical fiction novel, Daisies are Forever, is getting rave reviews.
". . . compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses. . . ." —Library Journal
"Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read." —CBA Retailers + Resources
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