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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Review: Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer

Novelist Robert Elmer just found a new fan. I've always enjoyed reading history (it was my minor in college), and Holocaust history has always been an area of fascination, especially the heroic escapes. For those reasons (not to mention Robert's expert hand at plotting and characterization), I found Wildflowers of Terezin hard to put down and a must-read for anyone interested in Holocaust fiction in the same vein as Tricia Goyer.

Here we find a loyal, hardworking pastor, Steffen Petersen, getting pulled into covert, even illegal, activity as he helps Jews get across the border and away from the Nazis. Meanwhile, a love interest blossoms between him and Hanne Abrahamsen, a Jewish woman herself. Add to the mix the pastor's brother, who is part of the dangerous Danish Underground, and you find a recipe for suspense and daring escapes.

I was pleased to learn that Robert Elmer had done quite a bit of research, which was obvious due to the historical authenticity I found on each page. Though I've read quite a bit about the Holocaust, I was delighted to learn new things about this terrible period in history through the Danish lens. One fascinating detail was how Steffen and Hanne used coffins and "funerals" to whisk Jews across the river to freedom. I was also unfamiliar with Terezin and found the details about this labor camp fascinating, especially the way authorities lied and tried to hide the terrible conditions under a facade of deception.

I was impressed by the twists and turns in this plot and by the deft and tasteful handling of the romance elements. I don't get into "kissy" romance novels and was uncertain how Elmer would handle this part of the story. I was pleased with how he handled the romance with restraint and tied up everything so well at the end, providing a thoroughly satisfying read. The novel also pleased by providing spiritual depth, which seems to be lacking in so many offerings these days. Congratulations, Robert, on another novel. I enjoyed reading your novel and look forward to whatever the Lord leads you to write next.

Read more about the book at my blog.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I liked the way Elmer portrayed the conflict Steffen facec between complacency and action.