4 out of 4 stars
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It is the 1940s and World War II is finally over. The fear, frustration, poverty and desperation that were a consequence of the atrocious war activities still linger on. Gloria is determined to search for her husband. Everything seems so uncertain. The “enemy” could still be lurking somewhere in wait. As Gloria travels from Canada to Holland, she does not know what to expect. Will her parents-in-law accept her even though they do not know that she even exists? Will she be able to find Willem and finally settle down to the life she had initially envisioned? Into the Netherlands by Valerie Koning-Keelan is a passionate love story that is set in one of the most turbulent times in history.
The backdrop of the story definitely makes the plot one of a kind. Keelan catches the desperation of the time, presenting the pointless nature of war. From Canada to Europe and the world as a whole, the book reminds the reader of the suffering that many people had to endure in the years that followed the war. Keelan also points to many people’s ability to hope even after seeing their loved ones die and their nations in ruins. Holland particularly is the focus of the story and part of the region’s history and the people’s culture also appear in the book.
The characters make the story even more captivating. Gloria is observant, tenacious and high-spirited which makes her a great main character. Without knowing much about Holland, she is driven by love and decides to board a ship eager to find her lover. Even though the uncertainties and the danger involved is unnerving, she stills persists. With every obstacle, she finds a new solution, even when this calls for flexibility from what she is used to back in Canada. The supporting characters also play their role in the plot well. Their behavior is realistic given the period in which the story is set.
There are many points of suspense in the book. Many times I was unable to guess the outcome as the plot was quite unpredictable. From the beginning, the author arouses questions in the reader’s mind and captures their attention. The anticipation of what will happen to Gloria and Willem’s marriage and what Gloria’s experiences will be in the new environment makes the story a fascinating one.
Into the Netherlands is an engaging story that is well-written and that is bound to appeal to romance book readers as well as anyone interested in stories set within and after World War II. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
Into the Netherlands
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