I have read Liz Tolsma’s books, “Snow on the Tulips” and “Remember the Lilies”. I enjoyed both very much and this led me to read “Daisies are Forever”, another truly wonderful book set in World War II.
For this novel, Ms. Tolsma’s inspiration for the first part of the book comes from a quote by Ruth Savine Hildegard Lippert, seventeen years old in February of 1945. She led a group of ten people on a four week flight from East Prussia to Berlin to avoid the advancing Russian army. The second part of the book draws on the experiences of Ms. Tolsma’s Aunt Lillian. Lillian was born in the United States to parents of German descent. They returned to Germany in the 1930’s where they spent most of the war in Berlin.
This book follows Gisela Cramer, her two nieces, three elderly neighbors, and eventually a downed British flyer, as they make their way south to Berlin and supposed safety. I could not imagine the trials they went through as they slogged through snow and ice in 20 below temperatures. Fellow Germans were ready to turn in deserters and anyone else opposed to the Reich accosted the frequently, and Russian planes strafed the poor women, children, and elderly as they fled to safety. This novel portrayed the German people at the end of the war as they tried to survive starvation, Allied attacks and the Russian army as it entered Berlin and savaged the survivors. We get a glimpse of the other side of the war.
This was an excellent book and I enjoyed reading it as much as I did the other novels by Liz Tolsma. The fact that this book was based on real survivors’ stories made it all the more fascinating. I downloaded a free Kindle copy from NetGalley.com in return for my honest review.