Cover Image: Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

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Member Reviews

It's been awhile since I've read a Lynn Austin historical novel and it did not disappoint. As per her style she did not shy away from the hard parts but wrote them with grace and style. The story will both entertain and engross the reader. 
I love when I walk away from reading an historical novel and know something I didn't know before. That is just one of the things that makes historical fiction so wonderful!
Highly recommended!
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Chasing Shadows, by Lynn Austin, is a remarkable work of historical fiction. Set in the Netherlands during WWII, this powerful novel is engrossing and thoroughly moving as it tells the story of three women linked together through love and war. With unflinching skill, Ms. Austin leads the reader on an intense journey through horrific events that test the resiliency of the human heart and the human will to fight for significance and survival. Yet, this journey through and beyond tragedy and despair is strengthened and uplifted by honest moments of grace and gentle reminders that hope, healing, and restoration are ultimately made possible through God’s love and mercy.

Under the tyranny of an evil regime, the uncertainty of daily life in the Netherlands during WWII becomes unfathomable, especially for the persecuted Jewish people and those committed to helping them. It is within this setting that the characters come alive to the reader. These well-developed characters are authentic, vulnerable, and captivating. Their questions, their insecurities, their fears, their needs, and their desires are wholly believable, gut-wrenching, and inspiring. As they face unimaginable losses and uncertainties, they struggle with their faith and God’s specific purposes for their lives. Yet through it all, they demonstrate determination, perseverance, and courage as they bravely endeavor to help each other and save others during many dangerous situations brought on by the cruelties of war, racism, and selfish ambition. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is truly surprising, enriching, and profoundly memorable.   

Ms. Austin is an incredibly gifted author with a real talent for meaningful storytelling. In Chasing Shadows, she offers the reader a heartfelt and utterly touching story of loss, love, faith, and family. This is a novel that courageously explores humanity’s capacity for love and hate, hope and despair, self-sacrifice and cruelty, perseverance and struggle, and faithfulness and uncertainty. Within this book, the well-researched details and descriptions ensure that every moment spent reading this story is a thoughtful, immersive experience. From the gripping plot, to the extraordinary characters, to the compelling themes, this novel easily held my attention page after page. Chasing Shadows is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys outstanding historical fiction.  

*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and NetGalley. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.
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I haven't read a lot on the role of the Dutch in WWII, so this book was a pleasant way to rectify that.  Through following one family and their friends, it paints a broad picture of the resistance work in the Netherlands. I liked how the author took into account many kinds of people, not just the whole, hearty, and brave: Eloise, with her PTSD-induced bipolar disorder from her experiences in WWI; Miriam, with her anxiety disorder; the residents of the home for the mentally handicapped; those who were too afraid to fight back; even a young Nazi soldier who just longs for home.

For all that it largely takes place under German occupation, with the laws an ever-tightening noose around the Jews and Dutch resistance, I didn't feel a lot of tension in the story. When Miriam was being moved, or Ans out on assignment for the underground, I never had the tightening in my gut, that worry of, "is this the time they get caught?" There were so few consequences to their activities early on that it was a surprise when things actually did happen. I didn't think it was boring, but at the same time, I found it easy to put down. There's a strong, encouraging element of faith that runs through the story. It was good, but I like a lot of the author's other works significantly more. 

Thank you Tyndale House and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
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Chasing Shadows is a moving novel about several women and what they faced during the Nazis invasion of the neutral Netherlands.  Their lives were for ever changed and this story weaves their intriguing stories together in a masterful way. They faced persecution, separation, and unspeakable hardship as their faith in God was challenged. 

This was an eye-opening work of Christian Fiction and made me more aware of what the Jewish people faced at the hands of the Nazis.  Yes, we study it in school but there is something different when you read about it in a story, a story filled with human emotion.  I was personally challenged about how I would have reacted.  Would I have had the tenacity to stay strong or would I have given up.  

I liked how the author weaved the story that brought these families together.  The characters were very appealing, and their lives draw you into the story.  These were graphic times, but she subtly alluded to the horrors, so you knew what was happening without gruesome detail. 

I am an avid reader of this author’s work and I think this is one of her best. I am drawn to World War II stories in Christian fiction, and I highly recommend this work.  The enduring human spirit with the power of faith will draw you in and challenge you.
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As I finish this book on Independence Day, I am reminded of the freedoms that we celebrate in this country may not have always been free. Lynn Austin paints the reader directly into the heart of WWII. The tragedy, the sacrifices and the triumph in the end all capture the attention and heart of the reader. As the gospel of Christ is interwoven into the motives of the main characters, we see Bible verses come to life. Deeper meaning into what Christ wants us to do, and how we should treat our neighbors are depicted between the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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As a long time fan of Lynn Austin’s historical fiction novels, I found this newest release, Chasing Shadows, to be yet another novel that will become one of my beloved favorites. Lynn’s novels inspire a reader not just to turn the pages, but to feel her words with their heart and soul as well. 

Chasing Shadows is simply excellent…

I love how Lynn masterfully creates a heartwarming story that doesn’t shy from the perils and reality of war, while allowing her characters to grow, deepen and blossom. She brought the Dutch Netherlands alive, creating a beautifully woven narrative of bravery, hope and faith in a time when our world experienced some of its darkest days. 

The remarkable characters Lynn expertly creates demonstrate the courage, dedication and determination of those who worked the Resistance during WWII.  In this particular story, she not only showcases their innermost feelings and desires, but also skillfully demonstrates the evil present in that time as well as human’s sin nature in looking the other way to selfishly preserve one’s self… She balances this with a message of hope, faith and obedience that is so refreshing and poignant in even today’s society. 

The rich, historical significance and details to this novel are clearly well researched and displayed. This novel is well written, the character development is inspirational and relatable. I fell in love with Lynn’s many characters and felt their heart-wrenching decisions, joys and struggles deeply. Again, this novel is one that I know will be a long time favorite of mine and one that I highly encourage other WWII fiction lovers to immerse themselves in.
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This is such a wonderful book! Lynn Austin wrote such an amazing story in this one! She didn’t shy away from the gritty parts, but wrote them with grace. This book left me evaluating my faith and if I would have been able to do what these ladies had to do. This one is definitely a keeper! I would highly recommend this book for historical fiction fans!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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What would you sacrifice to save a stranger? Is your faith big enough to accept what God sends your way? Which is bigger - your problem or your God? Lynn Austin provides readers with plenty of food for thought. 

Three ordinary women, Ans, Lena and Miriam, are confronted with a choice when the Nazis invade neutral Netherlands: accept and become complacent or unite and defy the occupying force during WW2. The Nazis were hoping that the Dutch would side with them as they let it be known that they considered the Dutch members of the Aryan race and invited them to join in building the Reich. Life would have been easier to accept and join, BUT they couldn’t have lived with their choice. Austin’s story focuses on the challenges and repercussions these women faced in choosing to stand up against the enemy. Sometimes, the choice was costly. 

I was in awe, knowing that their little country was surrounded by the enemy on all sides, yet they held to their convictions. It was easy to be lulled into thinking all would be ok as they went about their work, business as usual, during the ‘phoney war’ but for readers, knowing what lay in wait added to the tension. Risking their lives for sheltering others would mean famine and suffering. The three main characters are all in different seasons of life and have different outlooks on the world. I identified most with Lena simply because age gives me perspective; however, I do remember what it was like to have 19 year old Ans’s attitude. Like Miriam, I resort to music when I’m stressed. Regardless, each woman grew stronger as a result of her wartime experience. 

My favourite take-away is in Lena’s growth. She used to believe that the enemy of faith was doubt, but by the end she’d learned that fear was actually faith’s destroyer. 

This is an intense and emotional look at darkest days of war and the encouragement found by digging deep to rely on one’s faith and in relying on the strength of friends. 

“How can God remain silent and do nothing in the face of all this evil?”

I was gifted this copy by Lynn Austin, Tyndale House and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
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I have read several books by Lynn Austin, & I have to say this was not my favorite by her. I did like that it was set in the Netherlands as there are very few WWII novels that I am aware of that talk about that country in them.

I could tell also that the author had done a lot of research about what went on with the safe houses for the Jewish people, & I liked that even though this was fiction she made it seem very realistic. It was definitely a difficult novel to read, & I had a very hard time finishing it because of all of the horrible scenarios.
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Chasing Shadows is a haunting  beautiful story set during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Lynn Austin beautifully weaves a tale of countrymen  and women risking their very lives to fight against evil and save the innocent men, women, and children from being massacred by the German Nazis. God's love shines throughout the story. Lynn Austin is able to bring this setting to life with her vivid descriptions and characters. She has become one of my favorite authors of historical fiction!
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"Chasing Shadows" is a Christian historical set in June 1939 to Fall 1945 in Netherlands. This story had three point view characters and occurred over six years. Usually I have problems with many POV characters or years lapsing, but this was extremely well written. The author kept me completely engaged with all of the characters. Though I've read "The Hiding Place," I had no idea just how courageous the Dutch people were when faced with the Nazi invasion. This was both an interesting story and very educational as well.

Historical details were woven into the story without slowing the pacing, and things happen naturally (not forced so that the author could include some detail). The setting details brought the story alive in my imagination and immersed me in the story. All of the characters came across as real, complex people, and I understood why they acted the way they did. I cared about what happened to the main characters, so the ending became very suspenseful as their lives became increasingly endangered.

One couple was Jewish, but the other main characters were Christian. Their faith was why they risked their lives for others, and it was how they could reach out to help others even when faced with depressing and discouraging circumstances. The reader also sees how God is at work in and through His people. There was no bad language or sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this interesting, immersive historical novel.
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Bestselling and Christy Award-winning author Lynn Austin is back with a new historical fiction book about three women facing the dangers of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands during World War II. It’s a page-turning novel I couldn’t put down as I had to know what happened to each of the characters. Would their stories end up happy or tragic?

Austin skillfully depicts what it might have been like in the Netherlands, and it made me interested in learning more outside the novel!  

While there is romance in the book, it’s more about the women and their relationships and personal growth. But the love stories are interesting and sweet. I especially loved Miriam’s love story.

Overall, if you enjoy inspirational books, well-researched historical fiction, or even the recent PBS drama, Atlantic Crossing, you’ll likely enjoy this excellent read.

Adaptation Recommendation: This would make a magnificent period drama miniseries on PBS, or even a good TV movie for Hallmark – you know, if they ever return to making those heartwarming historical Hallmark Hall of Fame movies again like The Magic of Ordinary Days and The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.

Content Note: It’s a wholesome read, but it is PG-like due to intense themes. 

Overall Rating: 4.5
Romance Rating: 4
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I haven’t read a Lynn Austin book in quite some time. This is a very good one. I loved the peek into life as the war was beginning and how different people reacted.

It’s also a cruel reminder of how ruthless Hitler was, even to those that wanted to remain neutral during the war.

If you enjoy historical reads, I am sure you will enjoy this one.

A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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#Chasing  Shadows# by  Lynn Austin is an historical fiction book .Lynn has  written 27 novels  since 1992. She has won the Christy  award for 8 of her books! She  was inducted in the Christy  Hall of fame in 2013. Her novel Hidden Placed  was  made into a movie by the Hallmark channel. Before  she  started writing she worked as a teacher. She got her BA  from  Hope  College and Southern Connecticut State University.  She has  had  a long time interest in history and archeology.  She  used  this back round to write her  books.   The  book stays  place in the Netherlands during  World  War 11.  The characters are beautifully described.   The  characters are  faced  with such  evil  and  have to  overcome  their challenges in front of them.  World War 11 is a  very tough period in history.   There were  people who were in the resistance  group  trying to  fight for the safety  of  those  whose lives were at risk.  The author moves   the reader from one  shadow to another  of  conflict.   The reader will feel like they have entered into World War 11.   The themes are  good vs evil, forgiveness, self sacrifice,  unconditional love.  The book is well researched with good back round.    I  walked away  remembering the   struggles the characters lived  and  endured. The   story gives the reader some wonderful insight  in what life  was like during World War 11.  Thank you to the publisher, the author  and netgalley for allowing me to read this excellent and well written book.
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No one can weave a wonderful story around historical events like Lynn Austin. She brings life, understanding and reality to her stories so well that you can literally feel what it was like to have lived through things most of us have only heard or read about. This story just may be her best work yet. Loved it!!!
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Every time I open a Lynn Austin book I think to myself she couldn't possibly top her last book . Somehow she does it every single time!
Meticulously researched, I know the author put a lot of time into this book. Like pouring her heart and soul into it. It's just that outstanding!
This book features a lot of characters and they are part of the Dutch Resistance. The book takes place in the Netherlands during WW11.
We see the Nazi's invading neutral Netherlands and the choices the people there must make in their daily lives for their safety and the consequences they face for these choices.
Heartbreaking and realistic but we feel a sense of rebound as the human spirit can endure with faith,hope and love.

Pub Date 08 Jun 2021
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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Lynn Austin: Read slowly and prayerfully. 

Me: Dives right in and misses the rich details of the prologue. 

After finishing this beautifully written book, I read the prologue again and realized how much I’d missed the first time and how seamlessly Austin introduces the stories of Lena, Ans, and Miriam (although only hinting at Miriam). Maybe it’s just that the meaning came more alive after knowing the whole story and investing so much time in the characters’ lives, whose thoughts and emotions are so raw and human, it’s hard to believe they aren’t real people. I related to Lena the most as she struggles to surrender her control, worry, fear, and even hate to God. Austin’s books always challenge my faith, but this one really had me digging deep! Chasing Shadows begins on a moonless night, thick with fear, but the prevailing message of God’s love and sovereignty throughout the book casts light on how faith carries believers through the darkest of times. "'But watch the sky, darling Ans. The moon isn’t gone at all. It shines eternally, like our life in Christ.' ...Ans wiped her tears as a deep peace flooded through her, like the moonlight that filled the room, chasing the shadows."
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In 1975 a movie was made of the popular biography The Hiding Place. Covering the horrific events of the Nazi’s occupation of the Netherlands, the narrative tells what happened to Corrie ten Boom and her family as members of the Dutch resistance. Chasing Shadows is a fictionalized account based on other stories of WWII resistance fighters in the Netherlands and the people they helped during the long years of the occupation.

The book begins with a prologue in which Lena de Vries learns the war has ended – but the knowledge is bittersweet. Half her family is missing, possibly killed by the Nazis. While the “shadow people” living in a small cupboard behind a hidden compartment in her home can come out and the men hiding out in her barn no longer have to fade into the woods every time a truck passes the farm, the nation is so destitute they might all starve in spite of finally being free.

Then we go back several years and meet young Ans de Vries. As Lena’s oldest daughter, she knows what is expected of her – to marry some young man from her small village, attend her grandfather’s church every Sunday and sit through his boring (to her) sermons and never experience life beyond her tiny farming community. She mutinously rejects it all and heads to the city of Leiden, where she becomes a companion to Eloise Huizenga. During the last war Eloise lost her entire family when the Germans invaded Belgium, and she has suffered from severe depression ever since. Her husband Herman fears that the news that Germany is once more invading neighboring countries will cause Eloise to suffer a breakdown and wants Ans to watch over her and make sure Eloise doesn’t hurt herself.

Ans loves the city, and being companion to Eloise means she visits exciting places like museums and coffee shops, as well as meeting interesting people such as Miriam Jacobs and her father, Jewish- German refugees who are staying with the Huizengas while they get settled in their new community. Miriam has a young man, Avraham Leopold, and watching her joy at being in love makes Ans long for that as well. And it may just happen for her – a blind date with handsome police officer Erik Brouwer has her believing that marriage and a comfortable life in the big city are all within her grasp.

The Dutch are expecting this second war with Germany will be similar to the first.  The Netherlands will make a brief show of force, proving they can defend themselves, but they will stay neutral and watch from the sidelines as the rest of Europe does battle. Only it doesn’t work out that way and the Nazi occupation is worse than Lena, Ans or Miriam could ever have imagined.

The author does an absolutely fantastic job of capturing what life during war time must have been like. We watch as at first Lena, Ans, Eloise and Miriam listen to the news with concern but primarily focus on their present. For Eloise that means working the farm with her husband Pieter and taking care of her two younger children while worrying (and praying) over Ans. For Eloise, it means entertaining and watching over Miriam and Ans. She delights in having two beautiful young women around and gets caught up in making sure they have all they need to be successful adults. As for Ans and Miriam, they are busy enjoying the delights of Leiden and falling in love, although for Miriam it is all a bit disconcerting. Having lived through the early portion of the Germans’ persecution of the Jews, she is aware of how badly things will go for her, her father and Avraham if the Nazis declare war on the Netherlands, but she takes comfort in her friends’ confidence that it won’t happen. Ms. Austin does a nice job of juxtaposing their ordinary, happy days with the subtle tension the reader feels from knowing what’s coming.

Ans, Eloise and Miriam show themselves to be resilient, strong women once the invasion occurs. Eloise, despite her mental fragility, determines to fight. She and Ans join the resistance effort, starting with an illegal protest and continuing on through working with/for the underground newspaper, hiding Jewish families and couriering dangerous messages. I loved them both, especially Ans, who is on the cusp of seeing her dreams come true but who is ready to sacrifice everything, including Erik, to do what is right.

Miriam knows her days of happiness are numbered once the Nazis take over, but she determines to live however long she has with joy and courage. She and Avraham get married and start building a life together, knowing they may be pulled apart at any moment. They try to emigrate, but no one is accepting Jewish refugees, and this is another area in which the author’s skill shines. The heartache of being hated and unwanted and in peril where they are and yet not being welcomed anywhere else is communicated so beautifully through Avraham’s and Miriam’s struggles, and I was so pleased that Ms. Austin showed how America’s turning away boats filled with German-Jewish refugees added so drastically to their struggle for survival.

Lena was the only character I struggled to relate to. I could understand her not wanting to get involved with fighting the Germans – she had young children to protect – but I disliked the way she had no interest in the world beyond her front porch. She was the epitome of the person who thinks her simple, provincial life is perfect and is suspicious of those who don’t. Fortunately, she changed a lot during the narrative.

The author covers all the atrocities committed by the Nazis and the extreme hardship that led to for the Dutch people with clarity, if not graphic detail. I finished the book slightly exhausted, feeling she had done such a good job of capturing the anxiety and danger and difficulty of that time that I had in some small way lived through it just by reading this book.

The religiosity level of this novel is very high. God’s will for the believer in difficult times, how we are to love our enemy while still fighting against what they stand for, self-sacrifice and trusting God through hard times are themes that run heavily throughout the book.  Prayers, sermons and bible reading are important to all three women and are engaged in frequently on page. Avraham and Pieter are also deeply devout.

The author does do a good job of showing non-believers as part of the resistance movement as well, though and Avraham and Miriam remain true to their Jewish faith with no effort whatsoever made to convert them.

My only complaint is that the book had a slightly slow start but once the story got going it was riveting.

Chasing Shadows is a lovely, intense, emotional look at the horrors of war and the joy and comfort that can be found in faith and friends even during the worst of times. Readers of Inspirational romance looking for a poignant and meaningful read should absolutely pick this up.
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Austin put a lot of research into this story, and it shows.  She features a host of characters, and they are all part of the Dutch Resistance during WW2.  These are everyday people who exhibit great strength of character as they risk their lives to help the people around them.  The main theme of the story is that God's love is always with you, even in the difficult times.
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WOW!  This book is completely Wow!  

I will readily admit that I was hesitant to read this book at this time.  I was very much in the mood for a light, summery beach read, but I decided to begin and see how it went.  The story drew me in from page one!  I didn't want to put it down.  Each page, each chapter held me captive and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.  The chapters are short and flow from one to the next.  Although this book is about WWII and the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, the pages are filled with the hope of clinging to the rock of our salvation, God Almighty.  Lynn Austin has this incredible way of weaving hope within the pages of tragedy and helps us to see God's hand in all things.  In this story we are reminded how God is in control, even in the worst of circumstances. He can guide us, use us, and direct us...if we let Him. One of my other favorite parts of this book is that it reminds us that, although so many had tragic ends to their stories...some survived.  They lived to tell their tale.  And chose to tell their stories so we can all see how God's hand was at work in such a horrible time in our history! This story is beautiful from beginning to end!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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