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Book Notes

Written by F. Pronk
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It Began with a Parachute
by William R. Rang; 93 pp.

Suitable for children ages 8 to 12, the story is about the exciting experiences of a young boy during the Second World War under the German occupation of the Netherlands. The main character is twelve year-old Bert who rescues an American pilot and becomes involved with the Dutch Resistance movement. Written by a retired Christian school teacher, the story is exciting, written for a Christian perspective and acquaints children with Dutch history.

A Mighty Fortress in the Storm
by Paulina M. Rustenburg Bootsma; 174 pp.

The Foreword states that Òall the main characters and the names in this story are real and the events truly occurred.Ó To make the story more interesting, the author states, ÒI used my own imagination to fill out these facts, knitting an appealing wholesome story.Ó Like the above book, the characters are drawn from Dutch, Christian family members who are involved in the Resistance movement during World War II. It is interesting that reference is made to ÒJohannes PostÓ (p.50), a young Christian man whose courage and death made him well-known in the Dutch Christian community and whose name probably still is recognized by some of our older people.

This book gives our younger people an inside view of the Dutch Resistance movement and the courage and conviction of Christians. This year, 1995, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Holland and the rest of Europe from German occupation. Most of our parents and grandparents lived there at that time and some of them were also actively involved in the struggle to liberate themselves from HitlerÕs evil system, which not only included the Jewish holocaust, but also had a plan to move whole people groups (including the Dutch) to other parts of Europe. A book like this ought to stimulate our young people to talk to their parents and grandparents who are still living to hear first- or second-hand stories from their immediate past. They may be surprised to learn new things about GodÕs providential care in their family history and maybe even write their own story or book about it.

I Will Maintain
by Marjorie Bowen; 383 pp.

If you like historical novels you will like this one, especially because it so believably depicts the intense suspicion and rivalry between two great Dutch national figures, John DeWitt (called the Grand Pensionary who lived from 1625-1672), a respected statesman of great integrity and Christian piety, and his young protŽgŽ, William III, Prince of Orange, the only surviving heir of Dutch royalty, who later became King William III of England due to his marriage to Mary of the England royal house. You will be spell-bound as the drama unfolds which pits an aging statesman who loses touch with the people against the intrigue and plots of powerful political figures of French, Spanish and English royalty, who seek to influence the Prince. This book is the first of a trilogy and ends with a dramatic confrontation between John DeWittÕs childless widow and the Prince, who she blames for the torture and death of her husband. This suspenseful ending makes one look forward to the second book in this series, which the publishers promise to have ready soon.

Perhaps the next book could have a foreword explaining the history surrounding this story, since readers who are not familiar with the historical events may have some trouble understanding why at this time Holland was a republic. For more information on the historical significance of King William III the reader is referred to another publication by Inheritance Publications, entitled William III and the Revolution of 1688 and Gustavus Adolphus II, also written by Marjorie Bowen, which was reviewed in the Messenger of February 1989.

As a teenager I remember reading other historical novels by Marjorie Bowen. In checking with the local public library I found out that she is listed in the Contemporary Authors Index and was British, living from 1866 to 1952. She wrote over 150 novels and childrenÕs books and used pseudonyms such as Campbell, Gabriel, Vere and Shearing. Her books are out of print. Although apparently not sharing the faith of some of her subjects, she nevertheless presented many historical figures accurately, thereby showing GodÕs providence and grace in history.

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