Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.
However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch's identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her "marriage."
Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella's daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.
In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.
My thoughts: No matter how one tells the story of war or the people involved in war, the pen can not describe the horror of it adequately. No matter which side of the conflict is being chronicled, war and its horrors are unspeakable. The stories of World War II usually tell of the brutality of Germany against those deemed unworthy to live. The plan of Hitler to cleanse Germany and produce a pure nation resulted in horrific acts toward those condemned.
In Daisies Are Forever, the focus is on the peoples of Germany as the war turns in favor of the Allies and against the German war machine. The men, women, and children not involved in the atrocities that made up the war effort of Germany. Their fears. The dangers they faced. The ones who could not flee. The stumbles and falls along the way to flee the sweep of soldiers into their own cities and villages. The hours and days in bomb shelters. The destroyed buildings and lives at the hands of the Allies.
This story milks one of our compassion for a people caught in the throes of war – a people for whom we normally would not feel compassion. A people who would have rejoiced in victory had the Allies not defeated them. A people who still, even in the face of invading Allies, believed in their Fuhrer and all that his purification of Germany held.
This story is well written and it does show how the ordinary people are caught in the conflict of war.
But you can not paint the story of war – especially so brutal, intense, and hugh a war as WWII was – with a gentle, loving brush. War is brutal. The conquering armies of Germany were not gentle as they swept through Europe. So it is difficult to hold compassion for the people of Germany when the tide of war turn in their disfavor.
It is difficult but it is not impossible. For forgiveness is of God and from His heart we are able to forgive.
I found Daisies Are Forever an interest read but not one that I enjoyed. I could not enjoy a story of such intense emotions, but I could think well of the author and her writing abilities and handling of an intensely conflicting story. I felt she showed a pretty true side of history, but one that none-the-less can be difficult to read.
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About the author: New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, all adopted internationally.
Connect with Liz: website
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Daisies Are Forever in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.