Cover Image: Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

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Each book I read of Lynn's I think will be my favorite, but I think this one is really it! Set during World War II from the time just before the Nazis invaded The Netherlands until the the country was freed of Nazi tyranny, this novel described the time period from the vantage points of 3 different women, with 3 different sets of needs and ambitions. One woman, Lena, is fortyish, a wife and mother who only wants to keep her family safe and close to her. The next is her daughter, Ans, who is barely 20 when we first meet her, but who has plans to move beyond the small farming village to make her way in the city. The third woman, Miriam, is a talented, wealthy German of Jewish descent who has already escaped Nazi restrictions in Cologne for greater freedoms in The Netherlands only to find those restrictions find her there, too.

So many of the stories in the novel ring true because they are based on first person accounts told to the author. I also have relatives who have told similar stories. The Dutch people resisted the Nazis in many ways, large and small, but suffered for it. Some of those stories of resistance as well as stories of suffering are told in this novel. But it is the stories of faith and hope that tie all the stories together. Frank discussions of what a person should do when their convictions are tested. This novel not only tells a great story of history, but gives the reader much to think about in regard to what each of us would do when similarly tested.

I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley and was not required to leave a favorable review.
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First sentence: Every sound in the coal-black night seemed magnified as Lena lay awake in bed, waiting. She heard the quiet rustlings of the shadow people as they crept through the darkness downstairs in her farmhouse.

Chasing Shadows is historical fiction set in the Netherlands during the Second World War. It features multiple narrators whose stories alternate throughout. Lena de Vries is a wife and mother (and daughter). Ans de Vries is a young woman who CANNOT wait to leave the rural farm life far, far, far behind. She's off to the 'big' city. But will it hold all the thrills that she feels she's been missing out?

Both narrators are tested by the experiences of the war--not only the initial Nazi invasion but the continued occupation of their country. Each faces a choice--as all residents did--do I comply with the Nazis? Do I play it safe and just wait and hope that it will all work itself out OR do I risk it all to follow my conscience? Does doing nothing mean that you support the Nazis and what they are doing? Can you oppose the Nazis AND sit idle? 

There IS a third narrator--a Jewish one--that also enters into the story, a young woman named Miriam. 

Chasing Shadows is an engaging, character-driven historical novel with substance. It is beautiful and haunting. There are a few scenes that stand out as being truly wonderful. I do think it would make a good film.

Quotes: 
“Jesus said the most important commandments are to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor. And so, whenever we face a dilemma, we can ask, What is the best way to show our love for God and for our neighbor?”

Then, unbidden, the words Ans had been made to memorize in catechism class swirled softly through her mind: “I am not my own, but I belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. . . .”
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There are not enough adequate words to describe what a wonderful book this was to read.  While I normally tend to write rather long reviews, I will leave you to discover and experience this book for yourself.  I assure you - it will be well worth your time.  I have been surprisingly obsessed with WWII fiction this year, and each book I read seems to surpass the quality of the last.  Lynn Austin has written a real treasure of a book against a haunting backdrop of war.  There were moments of deep grief, pain, and tears, and times when I needed to put it down for a few moments before continuing.  I hope and pray this type of history never repeats itself, but yet thankful for the brave men and women who fought against tyranny and evil when faced with it.  5 stars were never more well deserved than for a book such as this one.

Posted to Goodreads on 6/7/21, and will post to my blog (blissbooksandjewels.com), Amazon, and all other major retail sites on 6/8.
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I really like WWII historical fiction and I love Lynn Austin books so I wasn’t surprised how much I enjoyed Chasing Shadows. This tale based in detailed historical research takes place in the Netherlands. I knew little about the Dutch Resistance other than what I learned from Corrie Ten Booms remarkable, much loved  The Hiding Place. Like all of Lynn Austin’s books these characters are historically accurate and so well written you become engaged with them right away. This wonderful story is as full of hope as it is heart wrenching. I cannot help but be moved by stories of ordinary people faced with desperately difficult circumstances who learn and live out the fact that we are only truly safe in God’s hands wherever that may be. I am challenged to be more faith-filled in the everyday things that feel difficult to me but actually pale in comparison to what others, like the characters in this story, faithfully lived out. Chasing Shadows is a beautiful, painful, hopeful, heartbreaking story you really don’t want to miss.
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To be honest, I reluctantly started to read this book. I was born and raised in The Netherlands and know the stories of the gripping anger and fear all too well. But Lynn wrote it, so I read it. As always, she develops characters so well. they all have something you can relate to.

The research she puts in is extensive and on pointe. So well written that you can feel the emotions of the characters and can picture the surroundings as if you were watching a movie.

The book nudges you to test your own faith. Could you trust God under these circumstances?

Do you trust God in your own circumstances and unknown future? Does it go beyond your personal faith and reach to others? How can you shine His light in whatever highs and lows come your way?

I highly recommend this book for more reasons than a good story. Challenge yourself and explore the lives of three women that intertwine in a setting that will not leave you untouched.

Do you trust God and is your faith founded on the rock?
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Chasing shadows Lynn Austin
 I have been a fan of Lynn Austin for years. This is one of her best, a powerful story based on the accounts of people who lived a complex dance of choice and consequence through the years 1940- 1945. 
Lena is one of three women in the story. She is a wife and mother who farms and works alongside her husband. Faith has always been her compass but the invasion of Nazi troops brings new life and death challenges.  Her “imagination partnered with fear, squeezing her heart dry.” “She learned to face death, gripping her Savior’s hand.” Perfect description. 
 I appreciated how Lynn Austin wrote of hiding the “shadow people.”  The consequences of choosing to help, if caught could mean death.
 This is a wonderful historical story, but it is also inspirational. Nothing I face today compares to what so many in Europe faced during WWII. I had read little about those living in the Netherlands during this tragic time. 
 Ans is Lena’s daughter who left the farm to move into the city of Leiden. She has ideas about romance and becomes involved in resistance work. Neither mother or daughter share the dangers they each take hold of willingly.
 There is a third courageous woman, Miriam, a young Jewish violinist. Hollard seems an escape and there Miriam discovers both love and tragedy. 
The endurance of the shadow people is awesome and filled with tragedy.  The courage of those who come alongside those people is inspiring. Love and faith carry the characters through the turbulent years. Well done. I will reread! 
#netgalley
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Lynn Austin's newest book, Chasing Shadows, is historical/Christian fiction at its finest! Set in the Netherlands during World war II when the Nazis invade the (neutral) Netherlands. It is the story of 3 women who must make the most difficult (unthinkable!) decisions and know they must live with those choices. A wife and mother, a daughter, and a young Jewish violinist who had sought the safety in Holland. As the war escalates and the Nazis invade Holland, these 3 women find their paths crossing and their lives forever intertwined. The passage about a young Nazi soldier standing on Lena's property touched me deeply! Two enemies coming together and finding common ground. Each having empathy for the other, putting aside their hate and their fear. Sharing a story, a moment, a hug, and a prayer. This brought me to tears. This passage and the quote ~"Don't hate them" Mama said as if reading Ans mind. "They'll win if we hate them"~ This is the story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things! I was brought to tears and cheers more than once. I gasped, I held my breath, I learned things I never knew, and I was touched beyond words. Lynn is a fabulous researcher and the details she uncovers during her research really makes her books come alive! I loved this book, this story! This book is one you'll not want to miss!
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Chasing Shadows
by Lynn Austin
Back of the Book: “For fans of bestselling WWII fiction comes a powerful novel from Lynn Austin about three women whose lives are instantly changed when the Nazis invade the neutral Netherlands, forcing each into a complicated dance of choice and consequence.
Lena is a wife and mother who farms alongside her husband in the tranquil countryside. Her faith has always been her compass, but can she remain steadfast when the questions grow increasingly complex and the answers could mean the difference between life and death?
Lena’s daughter Ans has recently moved to the bustling city of Leiden, filled with romantic notions of a new job and a young Dutch police officer. But when she is drawn into Resistance work, her idealism collides with the dangerous reality that comes with fighting the enemy.
Miriam is a young Jewish violinist who immigrated for the safety she thought Holland would offer. She finds love in her new country, but as her family settles in Leiden, the events that follow will test them in ways she could never have imagined.
The Nazi invasion propels these women onto paths that cross in unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking ways. Yet the story that unfolds illuminates the surprising endurance of the human spirit and the power of faith and love to carry us through.”
Impressions: WOW! What a phenomenal book! Lynn Austin does it again!  
Rated: Kissing, murder, discrimination
Liked: So, I liked this book… a lot. My love started with the stunning cover and goes all the way to the end of the book. War is so ugly and this was not sugar-coated in this novel however beauty prevailed as the characters leaned into their faith and each other. I enjoyed the multiple perspectives of each character’s involvement and response to the war. It made the story more thought-provoking and interesting. Ultimately, I enjoyed watching love bloom amidst the hate during this time. If you look through the quotes below, you will see how gifted Lynn is at bringing Biblical truths with grace and love to her characters.  I feel like I am learning about my faith just as much as I’m enjoying a good story while reading any of her books.
Quotes: “Let your fear drive you into the arms of God.”
“Ans’s faith has to become her own, Lena. She can’t inherit yours or mine, no matter how much we may wish it.”
“Adam and Eve had a perfect parent, yet they rebelled.”
“It isn’t your task to keep her happy but to walk beside her in the darkness…”
“You’re wound so tightly worrying about every little thing, trying so hard to hang on to control, but you never were in control, to begin with. It’s an illusion. The sooner you realize that the sooner you’ll put everything into God’s hands and find some peace and maybe even get some sleep at night.”
“Do you want your way or God’s way?”
“’ I don’t have enough faith for this papa.’ ‘None of us do. All we can do is ask Him each day what He wants us to do.’”
“’ It’s natural to wonder where God is in times like these,’ Papa said as he broke the bread for the sacrament of Communion. ‘He is here, in Christ’s broken body and spilled blood. He understands our suffering and confusion. He is here, with us.’”
“Engelena, it would be much more dangerous for me to face God at the end of my days and explain why I did nothing…I must learn to fear God more than I fear men. He is the One I must answer to.”
“’ How can God remain silent and do nothing in the face of all this evil?’ she asked. ‘He isn’t silent as long as we’re His voice and His hands.’”
“I realize now that when we were in hiding, we were never hidden from God.”
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.
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WOW...Another absolute triumph for Lynn Austin! I'm SO grateful to have been invited to be part of the prerelease reading team, this book was SO meritorious. Again, very well-researched historically, and brilliant character development. War stories are usually sad and painful, but being able to truly personally feel the pain each person went through was masterfully done. It was a bit unexpected to have the ending of a WWII book have all the loose ends tied together so neatly, as that was NOT common for the war, but it was still nice. An example of the character development: I loved how we experienced with Lena, the mom,  every emotion, from fear, anger at the Nazis & even God, hatred, and finally love and acceptance, and faith. Faith is not faith if it is not tested, and God allows us to be tested to help us develop that faith in Him. That doesn't easily make sense until you have been through it, and this story takes us through that development process and does so through the eyes of several women. I love also how each of the women was connected in some way, not obviously at first, but beautifully so by the end!! What a story, what a hauntingly beautiful metamorphosis to be witness to, what a masterpiece!
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Please note I did receive a complimentary copy for review.  As I experienced many emotions thru this reading, I kept receiving ' hope ' and ' hope restored '.  Lynn's writing always produces more than a story; each book of hers is an escape for the reader.  During that journey, the reader is sure to experience personal change.  ' Chasing Shadows ' is no exception.  A fine book for the summer reading list or anytime of the year.
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Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin
This novel is the latest by Lynn Austin and takes place in the Netherlands during the time of World War 2.  It centers around a family and their friends, including some Jews.  Ans, the oldest daughter leaves the farm that her parents, Lena and Pieter run in order to find her life in the city.  Suddenly the neutral Netherlands are plunged into the war and everyone’s life is turned upside down.  Both Ans and her parents must decide how to respond to the Nazi occupation.  Their decisions are the ripples in the pond which carry the book’s plot forward.
This book has some dark, despair-filled sections, which must have mirrored the real events on which it is based.  There are, however, also some times where the light breaks through and hope shines brightly.  Sacrificial love, forgiveness, belief in the providence of God and standing up for the right make this a novel to remember.
Reading this book causes the reader to remember that others have suffered and that the suffering is never in vain but produces fruit in the lives of those suffering.  Readers who enjoy historical fiction laced with the reality of darkness and hope will enjoy this book.  I am grateful to the publisher for the copy to read and review for this,  my honest opinion.
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Chasing Shadows
by Lynn Austin
Rating: 5/5+
Genre: World War II Fiction

Pardon me while I wipe the snot from my nose and the tears from my eyes. The last 25% of this book had me in tears every other page. The author graciously gave me an ARC and asked her readers to take their time reading the story she'd spent a year writing. I can usually read a book in a day or two but I did try to take my time. I got to reflect on what was happening in the story. This story needs to be read and is so timely as Memorial Day is this weekend.

"God created Ans the way He did for a reason. He can use her strong will and independent spirit. Maybe this isn't rebellion as much as it is the need to become herself."

I love when stories intertwine - when an author masterfully weaves together different stories to produce a masterpiece. This story is a masterpiece about God's faithfulness in the hardest circumstances. 

Ans is a young lady who dreams of life outside her small town family farm and her strict religious parents. She goes to the city of Leidan to find her destiny. When war breaks out, she must decide if she wants to be involved with the Resistance. She must find a way to face her fears and encourage those who have lost all hope.

Ans' mother, Lena, can't help questioning God about her eldest daughter's need to leave. Her desire for control grates against her desire to trust her family to God. When Germany invades her neutral Netherlands, Lena can't help but wonder how their lives could be so different from before the war? Building hiding places to store food and hide it from the Germans leads to hiding people. As their small farm becomes a refuge for those who need it, Lena must learn to trust God with her family and even the ability to put food on the table.

I loved how vulnerable Lena was. She's such an authentic character with doubts and the desire to control but learns to trust in a way she's never had to before.

"Music had the power to heal. Miriam had felt dead inside for so long, but music provided the bridge back to living."

As a musician, I fully understand the power of music. I loved Miriam's character. She had to live in fear for so long, but she still carved out a life for herself leaving room to fall in love and have a family. I cannot imagine the heartache she felt having to separate herself from her baby and her husband. She had to give up so much, but she did it because she wanted a future for her daughter. I cried when she wrote that note to her daughter and the woman who would be caring for her daughter.

"Don't hate them," Mama said as if reading Ans's mind. "They'll win if we hate them."

One of my absolute favorite scenes is between Lena and a soldier. That one will stay with me for awhile. You'll know it when you get to it.

I don't think I've described how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. God's presence and anointing is all over this story, so be prepared to be wrecked. I'm so grateful for this story (especially since I was unfamiliar with what happened in the Netherlands during WWII) and look forward to more heartfelt, well-researched stories from Lynn Austin.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction during World War II that hits you in the feels.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.
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What a beautiful story of resilience, shining one's light in the darkest places, and forgiveness. Taking place in the Netherlands during WWII, this book highlights 3 different women who had different experiences, but all chose to "be the good". I loved the varying viewpoints and seeing the ravages of war and the goodness  of people through the eyes of the characters. There was a lot of gray area for one character, whose love chose "the other side", feeling as though he didn't have a choice other than to follow the Nazis. I appreciated the detailed scenes and full depth of emotions that ran throughout this time.

In addition to the historical elements of a lesser-known aspect of WWII and the superb character development, there was also a spotlight on mental health, as one character was bi-polar (though there was no such diagnosis then) and one of the women in hiding ended up in an asylum. Those conditions were all treated with grace and respect. A light was shined on the caregivers of those individuals as well, as should be done. The messages of forgiveness were strong throughout and there was a very solid faith thread as all of the characters grew in their faith throughout the book. This book had all of the elements needed for an excellent inspirational historical novel.

Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.
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A beautiful tribute to those that fought against evil during WWII. Although the content was hard to read at times, the author did an amazing job weaving a story through history. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 Stars* for Lynn Austin's latest slam dunk contribution to historical Christian Fiction. I've been a fan for a long time and this book did not disappoint!

Lynn Austin's love and respect for the Dutch people comes through every page. There are a million WW2 books out there, but this one really opened my eyes to the struggle of the everyday citizen in occupied countries. The characters show a full range of experiences, from the refuge to the ordinary citizen just trying to do the right thing in a world gone wrong. "What would I do in this situation?" came to my mind more than once, and the story has stayed with me for days.

In the story, Lena calls the people she is hiding on her farm "the shadow people." They only came out at night; most of the time she didn't even see their faces. Yet she fed and sheltered them. They didn't know her or her family, but they depended on her for their very lives. The shadow metaphor grows stronger throughout the story. Over and over, the main characters learn to take refuge in God's shadow, trusting in His will and His word as they sought to survive the darkness.

An excellent choice for book clubs or anyone seeking to deepen their faith, I highly recommend this book!

*4.5 stars instead of 5 because I did feel that there could have been more language showing instead of telling the story. Some parts moved too quickly for my liking; I felt that they could have been flushed out more.
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Chasing Shadows is a very well written historical book set in The Netherlands during Nazi occupation.  Loved the plot and character dynamics. I highly recommend this book.
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Captivating, mysterious, faith filled adventure in the Netherlands during WWII. There are some very sad parts and there are some very happy parts that keep you wanting to turn page after page. Such a great book by a beloved author from Tyndale and Baker Book House. This is her best book yet! 

I was thrilled to be on the book launch team and had the privilege of reading this before it was released.
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At the beginning of this story, I had a little bit of trouble with the characters, but I think it was because their names were not names that I was used to.  Once i got past the first chapter,  I was hooked.  The characters came alive for me and I couldn't put the book down.   Ms Austin really pulls her readers in and she wove several stories together and tied them up into a neat package.   There were some moments of darkness and sadness but the story was set during a bad time in history.   I loved the stories and love how faith led the way to healing.
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Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin is a stand alone story of life in Holland during WWII. This is a fast paced story that is full of action and suspense. The writing is so clear it is easy to get caught up in the story and not want to put it down. This story focuses on the generosity families to help those in need, even at the risk of their own lives. This story also focuses on the faith that was needed to get through. There are many things to like about this story, but the one that stands out to me is the difference between people. Lena’s boyfriend did what he needed to protect himself while her grandfather offered his life to save others. This story is a great reminder of what life was like in Europe during WWII.

I received a complimentary copy of this story from Netgalley and Tyndale House Publishing. This is my honest review.
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Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin is a WW2 era novel set in the Netherlands. The story follows three different women through the Nazi occupation. Ms. Austin made this a very moving tale. The struggles, the heartache, the hunger and fear all had me in tears. But through it all God proved faithful and they came out stronger. Lena learned to trust God with her family, Ans had to grow up suddenly and learn that her faith had to be her own, and Miriam had to learn that God was always faithful no matter what. What a great story of hope, faith and forgiveness.


I received this book from the author for my honest review.
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