Saturday, February 2, 2013
Where Treasure Hides is one incredible book. Let me start out by saying it's worth ten stars, but I can only give it five stars, two thumbs up and one Rembrandt.
Alison Schuyler is on a mission for her grandfather, Hendrick Van Schuyler, that has taken her to Paris and London and now she's on her way back to Rotterdam. While waiting for her train at the Waterloo Station, she observes Ian Devlin intervening on behalf of a child carrying a violin. The child is a refugee from Germany who is being sent to live with relatives in northern England. Alison takes out her sketch pad and draws the scene before her and gives it to the young boy. Ian is intrigued with Alison from the very beginning. He does everything he can to get her to stay a bit longer with him, including taking her to Minivers for scones, a favorite treat of hers.
Alison makes her way back to Rotterdam while Ian can't get her out of his mind. Alison won't answer any of his correspondence because while she does feel a pull for Ian, she feels that she is under the "Van Schuyler Curse." She won't subject him to that. In the meantime Theodor wants Alison's attentions for himself. In pursuing Alison, he brings Goring to the family art gallery. Goring insults the painting Alison loves most and because of Alison's remarks, tries to shoot it. She jumps in the way to protect the painting and gets grazed by the bullet in the process. After this incident Alison's grandfather hides the valuable artwork from the gallery and substitutes it with lesser artwork.
An opportunity comes up for Ian to travel to The Hague in Holland and he makes a side trip to see Alison. He finds Alison still recovering from the gunshot. His visit brings a much needed "shot in the arm" to Alison's spirits and speeds her recovery.
I love World War II novels because of my father's service--it's a tie to him. Alison's and Ian's love story is one fraught with many hills and battles, Ian is captured at Dunkirk, Alison is evacuated to London with a friend's twins, Ian is moved from one prison camp to another because of his escape attempts. He does escape Colditz and slowly makes his way back to London, finding that Alison got there one day ahead of him. The surprise is that while hiding at a farm, he becomes guardian for a young girl, Leiba, also called Libby, who thinks Ian is her Papi. He brings her back to England with him and after he and Alison are married, begin to raise her as their own.
Alison is tricked into going back to Germany through Theodor's treachery and his own desire to have her as his wife. And there, I will leave the rest of the story untold.
There is enough love to keep any true romantic involved in the story. There is enough suspense to keep the reader fully engaged, and there is enough history to learn something in the process. The one thing that sings out in this book more than anything else is the grace and mercy God pours into each of our lives. We have history to learn from, and we have God's grace and mercy pouring into our lives. Even in fiction, we can still find God through the pens of talented authors like Johnnie Alexander Donley. I'll be excitedly awaiting more to read from her.