Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Thief of Glory- Sigmund Brouwer
Description: In the early 1940s, Jeremiah Prins was a 12-year-old living a content life as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). When Holland declared war on the Japanese in 1941, the situation changed swiftly. The Japanese army invaded, and Jeremiah and his family were placed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp-a camp Jeremiah finally escapes and returns to Holland. Yet wartime complications force him to abandon a marriage engagement with Laura Jensen. The young man flees to California, where he struggles with the lingering anger and war stress he faced as a child.
Determined to find some kind of redemption, a now-elderly Jeremiah tries to make sense of his life by journaling of all that he does not want to reveal to his children about his past, intending to leave his writings as an apology after he is gone.
An online encounter puts Jeremiah in touch with his true love from the war years, Laura, and when they meet again, it triggers the time bomb of long-buried secrets. Even seventy years later, if uncovered, these secrets can harm everyone who matters to Jeremiah.
My Thoughts: WWII was just as much a time of oppression as it was a time of war, with both sides sending people into concentration camps based on ethnicity. As I have an academic interest in Japanese Internment and the Holocaust, I was excited and a bit surprised to discover this book dealing with internment camps in the Indies. Bouwer has most definitely done his research and created a narrative that delves into the past.
Like most novels written on this time period, the characters seem larger than life. While I enjoyed this with most of the characters, it occasionally irked me with Jeremiah when ever I was reminded in the beginning that he was supposed to be ten years old. As he seemed far too able to plan ahead and grasp complex world issues, I pretended he was closer to fifteen through the first half, making his character more believable at that stage of the story.
Yet, though the story is told by Jeremiah and it is about his life, the real story is about what happened in the Indies. That was the true gem of this story. There are graphic details, as well as some innuendo, however those were all part of the real world of WWII. It was not a happy time for most anyone.
As a Christian novel, I have seen some other reviews saying that the Christian theme was not played out enough to their liking. However, I liked that it showed Jeremiah's struggle with faith as would have been realistic for the events he lived through.
I received this book from through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.