Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
Irene and Rand come from very different walks of life. Will they find common ground in their fight to survive?
Irene has grown up in the jungle as a missionary with her Aunt Anita, but now she and countless others are imprisoned by Japanese soldiers at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in the Philippines. Irene and her aunt are safe there, and she keeps busy with her duty of delivering censored messages to the camp’s prisoners, but like everyone else, she prays for the war to end and for her freedom.
Rand is a wealthy, womanizing American, whose attempted escape from the internment camp has put himself and others in danger. When Rand and Irene’s Aunt Anita meet one another in the hospital, Irene learns more of his story and her heart is determined to save his family.
But the danger outside the walls of the hospital worsens every day, and life in this exotic place is anything but luxurious. Can Irene find Rand’s family before they disappear forever? And can a humble missionary woman and an arrogant man find common ground in the face of their biggest fears?
I had previously read Liz Tolsma’s WW2 books, and have been looking forward to reading this one as well. I believe I looked forward to it more after having the privilege of meeting her this last fall.
This is an unusual story, much like her other stories, it does not follow the traditional WW2 storyline. Instead, you are transported into a land far away, experiencing the cruelty and starvation that caused the USA to fear the Japanese. You will be living in an internment camp, where freedom is only an illusion. The twists and turns of the story take you down a path that you will be unsure you want to travel, but the story will keep you reading.
I was reminded of the book “Evidence not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose“. Even though, it took place in a different country, the story of an American held in a Japanese internment camp rang true to me. I love how you can trust the research that Ms. Tolsma put into her stories. They have the basis of truth, which would allow you to use these in a high school curriculum as historical reading.
The topic is in itself, not the prettiest, but it is done in a way that older high school students will benefit from it’s telling, even when it addresses parts that are not as lovely. Another great read from a wonderful and sweet author.
This book was provided for me for review by NetGalley and the publisher. The thoughts contained herein are my own.