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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Liz Tolsma: Remember the Lilies



By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Interred by the Japanese, missionary Irene Reynolds comes across a mysterious note while working at the censor’s office. She memorizes the parts she must black out and delivers it to wealthy nightclub owner Rand Sterling. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s drawn into a web of secrets and danger.
Rand Sterling wants nothing more than to reopen his nightclubs once the war ends. But slimy Frank Covey wants his hand in the till—and has news that could threaten Rand’s reputation if it became public. More importantly, beautiful and intriguing Irene Reynolds cannot discover this information if he expects to persuade her to become his wife.
When Irene is attacked by a sinister Japanese guard and their secrets are exposed, they must learn the true meaning of forgiveness—if they can stave off starvation until the American troops bring freedom.

My Review:

Liz Tolsma is still a new voice in Christian fiction, but she has worked her way into the World War II historical romance fiction genre pretty well. Remember the Lilies is Tolsma’s third book with Daisies are Forever and Snow on the Tulips being her first two novels. While the first two books take place in Nazi occupied lands of World War II, Remember the Lilies actually takes part in Philippines in Manila, which is the area where two of my grandfathers fought. The covers for these three books and the genre Tolsma writes in is what drew me to her writing.

The writing was right on the money. I could see the hurting of the characters and understand from their perspective what it was like to actually starve. Starve enough that their knees and joints were aching from all the malnutrition. I felt really bad for the characters of Irene, Mercedes, Tessa, and Rand. Tolsma does a good job at staying in the one character’s head without head hopping. Nothing ruins a good story like jumping around from one point of view to the next without alerting your reader that you are.

As for the historical romantic tension in the story, Tolsma grabs her readers by the first chapter and doesn’t let go. Tolsma places her characters in the middle of a Japanese shanty and allows them to roam around, wanting to leave while they obey the Japanese soldiers in order to not die or worse, be tortured for hours or days on end. Tolsma’s research into the horrors of the Japanese prisons during World War II was evident in how realistic the story felt. As for the romantic tension between Irene and Rand, it was unique. They both come from different backgrounds and wanted different things after the war ended. But as the story progressed, Rand started to see the love of God from Irene and decided to follow him. Rand pursued Irene, even after he learned the secret Irene had kept from him.

The beginning scene where Rand gets tortured and has his fingers broken could be kind of hard for younger audiences to take, but it was a quick part of the book that the mature audiences could read it and not feel grimace in pain. I think the chapter adds to the horror of the Japanese and should stay in the book.

Liz Tolsma creates a realistic portrayal of the Japanese shanties during World War II with realistic dilemmas, a harrowing hero, a meek heroine, and a shade of romance to lighten the harden subject.

I received a ebook copy of Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolsma from Thomas Nelson Publishers in the way of Netgalley and all the above opinions are my own.

Liz Tolsma
From Tolsma's About Me section on her website
How to Connect with Liz Tolsma:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Liz+Tolsma

Facebook: www.facebook.com/liztolsma

Personal Webpage: www.liztolsma.com

Where to purchase her books:
Amazon
Christianbook.com
Barnes and Nobles
Wherever books are sold

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