"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daisies Are Forever, by Liz Tolsma

Daisies are Forever is a story of an American in Germany during World War II.  It is a story of survival, of a group of innocents trying to flee the Soviet occupation of Berlin in the final days of the war.  It is based on the lives of two women - Ruth Lippert, who led a group of ten people to safety; and Lillian Tolsma, who lived in Berlin during the Soviet occupation.

The book really does read like two different stories.  The first half lacks passion, particularly in the dialogue.  The author does an excellent job of description, and the landscape that she paints leaps off the page into the reader's mind.  However, the character development in the beginning is weak, most particularly with Kurt and Audra.  Kurt's motives are not explained enough to make his story plausible, and his story's end seems rushed and too good to be true.  I wasn't able to connect with Gisela and Mitch, the two main characters, as they tried to flee the German countryside to the safety of Berlin.

The second half of the book is a joy to read.  Small wonder, since it is based on the life of the author's grandmother.  The stories she must have told the author heavily influence this last half.  Here, we see characters finally spring to life with the zeal that was missing in the beginning.  We feel their fears, their determination, and their joy.  The love story becomes more believable.  And we get a very real sense of what it was like to live in Berlin just before and during the Soviet occupation in 1945.

The second half of the book is worth the first half.  I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in civilian life during World War II.

Three of Five Stars

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.