By Kelly Bridgewater
Description (From Amazon):
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy―that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
I have lately been on a binge reading historical romances set during World War II. I love everything by Sarah Sundin, Cara Putnam, Liz Tolsma, and others. When I saw the beautiful cover for Johnnie Alexander’s new book, Where Treasure Hides, I knew I had to get a copy and read it. Alexander’s novel fits right into the genre with the budding romance, the historical timeframe, and the conflict ripped from the pages of history.
The first thing that stands out to me is the setting and Alexander’s research into World War II era. Alexander did a good job at inviting the readers into the story right at the cusp of war, then trails the story through the entire process, and ending a year after the war. Even though she covers a lot of time, the story does move quite rapidly along, not fully allowing me to grasp the horror of the situation. Alexander mentions a couple of times that Jews were being taken away, but she never strays enough to cover what was going on. The story is written with dueling plotlines: first, Alison, then Ian. As the plot is told from a variety of narrators, when a certain character speaks, the dialogue fits their behavior, and the prose mimics their movements.
As for the main characters of Alison Schuyler and Ian Devlin, Alexander breathes life into them, making them memorable. Alison inherited the love of art and drawing from her father. Alexander does a great job at showing how all encompassing the viewpoint of an artist’s perspective of the world is. We view the world through different lenses and ideas for new projects appear all the time. Alison is a determined and brave woman who misses her father and mother terribly and eludes capture a number of times. As for Ian, he is a strong and heroic man who seeks out the preyed on weak and helps take them to safety without any concern of what would happen to him.
Right from the first page, Alexander introduces the romance tension and the conflict. For my taste, Ian and Alison claiming to have given their heart away at the first encounter was way too rushed. I would have liked to see it take longer to advance. I shook my head in disbelief a number of times in the early chapters. Like I mentioned early, the story doesn’t really focus on the horrible incidents occurring during World War II, so the tension revolved around Alison’s and Ian’s struggle to be together and save Alison’s family legacy with the paintings. There was really no questionable content with the violence that occurred during World War II. A pretty tame novel.
This completely original and predictable story, Where Treasure Hides, will definitely appeal to fans of Liz Tolsma and Cathy Gohlke’s book, Saving Amelie. It has the similar feel, even though Tolsma and Gohlke are more visual in their display of the horror taking place around the characters. The book was a quick read that I enjoyed, but not going to be listed as one of my favorite World War II novels. Where Treasure Hides really did not touch on the topic of God, so non-fans of CBA books could enjoy the fast moving plot.
In short, Johnnie Alexander’s unique story Where Treasure Hides features likeable characters even though the romance was much too unbelievable for me and all of the tension occurred between Ian and Alison. Not too much focus on the World War II events happening in the subplot.
I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.