[Review] Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian Publishing May 6, 2014
Genre: Fiction, World War II, Berlin Bombings, Germany
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for a review.
Link for Kindle copy $9.99
Early February 1945.
Gisela Cramer is a young woman, living with her cousin Ella and her daughters, and their grandfather in Heiligenbeil, East Prussia. Gisela is American born, but moved to Germany as a young girl with her German born parents. Gisela left her parents and relocated to Heilgenbeil, when the bombings began in Berlin. When the Russians close in on the town of Heiligenbeil, a difficult decision is made. Ella insists Gisela take her daughters and escape back to Berlin. Ella plans to stay with their grandfather because he is too weak to travel. Early in the journey, Gisela encounters a British soldier named Mitch, who is posing as a German soldier. His German accent creates suspicion. Gisela pretends to be his wife in order to help them both survive the bitter cold temperatures, the Russian advancement, and his certain death by Nazi Germany.
Gisela is the hero, she outshines her pseudo British army husband Mitch. She is the tough and resilient character. Mitch comes across as a played-down character. He is army trained, and has been a POW for five years. He is not what I'd expect considering his knowledge and experience. After five years as a POW, he would be haggard, possibly sick, weak; and with bitter animosity against the Nazi German war machine, which would make it impossible for him to hide his feelings. I believe in a real situation, his training would have led him to take-out a German soldier that posed a risk, and not allow a German woman (no matter how beautiful) to make decisions. Further, during a time of war, a soldier might have sex (with a golden opportunity) but there is no time for romance.
A combat soldier wants:
1. To always have his firearm with him.
2. Dry socks.
3. Eat (preferably warm food).
4. Sleep (hopefully under a dry roof).
5. Return home.
The strength of the story is the graphic Allied bombings in Prussia and Germany. The scenes are real, frightening; and as they continue, it is understandable how they wore at the people like a dog gnawing on a brittle bone. The story explains how the civilians survived, carnage and destruction, fear of death or rape, and worry over missing family.
The themes of Daisies are Forever is: escape from Russian soldiers, preventing Mitch from becoming a prisoner again or death, survival of all of them (including the two precious little girls), romance. The author succeeds at pulling together a entertaining romantic story, but not believable.
"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.