Reviewer: Mary Lignor
Title: The Gathering Storm - 1st in the Zion Diaries trilogy
Author: Bodie and Brock Thoene
Publisher: Summerside Press
Release Date: August 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Historical Fiction
Year/Setting: 1940 England/World War II
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Extreme
The Thoene's Website/Blog: www.thoenebooks.com
An intense novel of love, hate, passion and danger. This story is first in a three part series covering World War II and Hitler's rise to power. Believe me, this book will break your heart.
The story begins in Brussels, Belgium in May of 1940. Loralei Bittick, her sister Jessica, niece Gina and her father are preparing to leave Brussels on their way to England before Hitler's forces invade Belgium. Lora's father Robert is a minister and teacher at Alderman Seminary in Belgium and her mother, Janet was an American citizen, born in Texas. This made the two daughters American citizens, which might save them in England but, Belgium is another story. If the Nazis attack Belgium and Belgium falls, Jews will be the first to be eliminated. Robert Bittick is a prominent Jew and has been trying to arrange passage for hundreds of Jews to travel to England, South America and the United States.
Loralei celebrated her birthday on May 9th and it was her first birthday without her mother, Janet, who had died a few months previously of a burst appendix. The daughters were married. Jessica to William and Loralei to Varrick both of whom were fighting for Belgium. The family was forced to leave Brussels because the Nazi blitzkreig was beginning and they were on their way to France. But, nowhere is safe from Hitler's evil. The family's flight leads them into helping child refugees and others who have sacrificed their lives and all their belongings to escape the Nazi hoards. Along the way they are hobbled by so many obstacles and finally end up on the beaches of Dunkirk and are taken to England. Loralei and Jessica, who has given birth to a son in the worst possible conditions, arrived in England with Gina and start a new life. Robert had to stay behind and also the two women had to wait to find out what had happened to their husbands. The soldiers were both killed in action and the father was killed in the blitzkreig. Lora also meets a very mysterious man who carries a very old secret which Lora is bound to discover. And, this is really the crux of the story. It's not exactly an edge of your seat mystery but, really interesting and informative.
As stated before, this is the first in a series of three concerning Hitler's rise to power. All these books will be about the lives of fascinating and stimulating characters who lived and loved strongly and stood up for themselves and others. They all fought fearlessly during the dark days of the war. I was mesmerized by this book, mostly because I am a fan of stories set in the years of World War II and I really felt for all these brave people. I'm really looking forward to books two and three. Have a good read and I'll talk to you soon.
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