Cover Image: Chasing Shadows

Chasing Shadows

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Lynn Austin's obvious  passion for the Netherlands (and cycling) and her resplendent ease at the research and excavation of the all-too-human stories set against the backdrop of WWII make her the perfect voice to wrap around the similar yet very different experiences of three dimensional, humane, compassionate and romantic women who must rise to challenges of love and sacrifice they never could have imagined.  

This is Austin in her comfort zone:  focusing on the  triumphs and travails of generations eager to pass on their wisdom and relinquish the mistakes of the past but finding redemption in the promise of stepping into the unknown.

This is vintage Lynn Austin and a wonderful addition to the canon of WWII fiction that compels and lures the reader with vignettes of everyday heroism.

At times romantic and heart-twisting, it is a treatise on friendship, music, faith and longing.

No one in the world excels at Inspirational Fiction like Austin does . It makes me downright GIDDY that this book exists. 

(also shared on twitter and insta)
Was this review helpful?
I love the way this author brings history alive in this WWII novel about the Netherlands. Ordinary people did extraordinary things to survive the Nazi occupation of their country. Based on true events and lives, the author wove a story that is hard to read at times but well worth it. The faith and determination to help others was amazing. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
The cover of this Chasing Shadows totally caught my eye and is perfectly Dutch! Lynn Austin's newest novel does not shy away from depicting the atrocities of war, not only committed on Jewish citizens but also the non-Jewish people of the nation of the Netherlands. The bravery and faith of that generation is both remarkable and inspiring. The story is centered around three women, whose lives are intimately and dramatically interwoven, and their fight to survive persecution, protect their families and resist the occupation.  

While reading, I was reminded of John 1:5 which reads, "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Loving your enemies and letting God's light shine throughout the darkest of times, letting go of the illusion of control and fulling trusting God were themes prevalent throughout the pages. Lynn Austin touched on something that I have not encountered in much of the WWII fiction that I've read...her characters struggled with how God would feel about the lying, stealing, sabotage and law-breaking they engaged in during the fight against the evil slowly permeating every acre of their country.  I feel like this would have been a very real dilemma, fighting back vs. keeping the 10 Commandments and added dimension as well as a thought provoking element to the story. 

While I could not help but root for these characters in their fight against the Nazi occupation, I never felt totally immersed in the story.  I think that wass a bit of a defense mechanism on my part.  I remained oddly detached to the story...but many readers have said the opposite. Despite my detachment, the story was engaging, the characters were loveable and the sacrifices great.  I would read it again.

If you are a fan of WWII fiction, Lynn Austin or Melanie Dobson I think you would enjoy this book.

Thank you, Tyndale House and Net Galley for the free DRC of this book.  The opinions expressed here are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book didn’t engage me much until about halfway through, but then I didn’t want to put it down! I’m a big fan of Lynn Austin’s writing.

Chasing Shadows dealt with WWII and its effect on the people in Holland or the Netherlands. Some of the main characters began working for the resistance sometime during the war, and the trials they and other civilians suffered were difficult to read about. It really opened my eyes to the sufferings these people went through in order to resist the evil of the Nazi regime. 

I received this book from the publisher via net galley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Classic Lynn Austin.  Beautifully written, excellent character development and a very satisfying story line that will capture your attention from the first chapter.  Savor this novel.  You will not be disappointed.  Five stars.
Was this review helpful?
I have always been a Lynn Austin fan, I was excited to see she had a new book available to read thanks to net galley and Tyndale house publishers, I was given the opportunity to read this wonderful novel early.
Based during World War II in the Netherlands, when the Nazis occupied the country. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, it was hard to read at times, as I  think would be understandable considering how truly Cruel and evil the Nazis were to the Jewish people. There were many times I stayed up late or couldn’t wait to get back to the book to find out what happens, The characters stories and lives pulled me in.  I truly appreciate the different views we got, from a Jewish family perspective, from a Dutch family perspective, the resistance perspective and we even get a perspective of a Dutch policeman who joined the Nazi party.  I had many conversations with my husband about the Dutch policeman, because even in today’s world you can say what choice was I given I had no choice, and you hear stories of people who collaborated with the Nazi party in order to save their own lives by saying they had no choice, but the reality is we all have a choice whether that’s to be selfish or not, good over evil, or are others lives less valuable than ours.
There are so many angles to the war that we get to witness in the story. This novel was well written, and it was very informative because even though it was a work of fiction it was based off of real events and from the authors note in the back real accounts and even some of the people were based off of real people.  Lynn Austin says in the back of her book she hopes that she hopes her novel grows our faith and that we can see Jesus in everything even in the hard stuff, and I definitely had to put the book down many times to reflect on our Lord and why things happen, and sometimes we don’t always get the answers we want but Jesus is still there.
Again thank you to net galley and Tyndale house publishers for this advance copy, and to Lynn Austin for writing this novel!
Was this review helpful?
I have always read Lynn Austin’s books. She has definitely shown how awful life was during the war. Also how faith in God was the only way that some people made it through alive.
Was this review helpful?
An inspiring, compelling read about the brave people who were involved in the Dutch Resistance during WWII. These everyday, ordinary type men and women--farmers, teachers, housewives, students--do extraordinary things, risking their lives to help save others, many motivated by their faith. The focus is on three women--including one Jewish refugee--and their difficult journey through the war.

“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God...the God who would ask me to risk my life is the same God who gave His own life for us. Because He loves us.”

The author does a great job drawing the reader into the lives of the main characters and walking through the valley of shadows with them.  I grew to care deeply for them, and had to stop reading a few times dreading what might happen next. I was challenged to think about my own faith and what I would do if put in the same circumstances.

This story wasn't an easy read, but it was well done from a Christian perspective, with truth and hope shining in the darkness. The story is told in retrospect, then finishes with a heart tugging, satisfying wrap up. Have the tissues ready.
Fans of Corrie ten Boom, Kristy Cambron, Melanie Dobson and Liz Tolsma's WWII stories will love this one.
Was this review helpful?
Netherlands, WW2. This book follows the Ver Beek family and their involvement in the Resistance against the Nazi's. Lena, the mother is a farm wife, content with her life. She learns to let go and let her faith lead her in what is right. Ans, the daughter, feels stifled by life on the farm and moves to Leiden, a nearby city. Here Ans has to learn what her own moral compass is. Does she listen to her policeman boyfriend, her nervous employer who lived through WW1 or her new Jewish friends whose rights are slowly being stripped away? The women of this story are forced to rely on their inner faith.

"It would be much more dangerous for me to face God at the end of my days and explain why I did nothing." (ch 19)

"But I am starting to see that they didn't lose their lives-they gave them away." (ch 37)
Was this review helpful?
This is the second Lynn Austin book I have read and she is now on my list of must read authors!  I love the way she writes about everyday people in extraordinary historical circumstances, and how their faith sustains them during heartbreaking, difficult times.  Watching the main characters grow as humans, withstanding all the horrors of Nazi occupation while still building relationships and finding beauty in life, was a truly uplifting and inspirational story.
Was this review helpful?
A story that is both heartbreaking and beautiful, Chasing Shadows tells the story of the Netherlands during WWII.  It is told from the perspective of three women:  Lena, a Dutch housewife who takes pride in her family and in working alongside her husband on their farm; her oldest daughter, Ans who chaffs at living on a farm and dreams of life in a busy city, and Miriam, a young Jewish refugee who escapes Germany with her father, seeking safety in the Netherlands.  The Nazi invasion of the Netherlands and the long years of war will test each of them in ways that they could not imagine.  But in spite of their sufferings, Lena, Ans and Miriam each finds her relationship with God becoming the strength to survive the unsurvivable.  

Lynn Austin has once again spun a story that will leave the reader feeling the joys, sorrow, suffering and triumph her characters.  The characters are so well created that you feel as if you have known them all of your life.  This is a story which I absolutely loved.  I thank the author, NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to ready this advance copy.
Was this review helpful?
Chasing Shadows is a remarkable book. It’s tracing of historical events are very intriguing as well as heart wrenching. I appreciated the delicate way that Lynn Austin dealt with issues that are so somber, yet revealed the atrocities of the historical events. It was hard to read at times due to the horrendous events that took place but the author did a great job with character development, and the reader really connects with all the characters as they were very believable. I love this author, highly recommend her books, and will definitely read more!

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read this prior to release!!
Was this review helpful?
So many books are set elsewhere in Europe during WW2, so I appreciated the Dutch setting. It brought to life what my grandparents might have experienced during the war. They never talked about it much, but I wish they were still alive so I could ask them more about it.
Was this review helpful?
What a moving gripping story. Such a reminder of God's love and grace  to continue passing on His forgiveness and seek His face in people around us. As we face disruption to make sure we ask God questions and follow the things He's placed in our hearts.
Was this review helpful?
Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin is a World War II delight to ponder and think about. This plot stuck with me long after I was reading and while I was reading, I kept thinking of what America is slowly walking into. With practically every World War II novel that I read, I can't stop flipping through the pages to see how the story would end. I have read so many stories in this era that I know the Nazi's were defeated in April 1945, so when the story starts with a countdown, I now that the characters are coming to the end of their story. This story stuck a little closer to home because of the political lies and propaganda that is floating through America's culture. Overall, I adored this novel. I can't wait to purchase a copy and place it on my shelf with all my other World War II novels. I highly recommend this story for anyone who is marveled about the heroics of this generation OR to anyone who is frightened by the path that America is taking. 

I received a complimentary copy of Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin, but the opinions stated are all my own.
Was this review helpful?
The occupation of the Netherlands by German troops during World War II led to very dark days for the Dutch. Miriam Jacobs and her father fled Germany, seeking refuge in the Netherlands, but suddenly they’re in danger again. Ans de Dries wanted to get off her family’s farm for city life, and away from the boring church. Frightful days are ahead for them. Ans’ mother Lena hates the Germans for destroying her country, taking everything she had and everyone she loved. You can feel the despair and uncertainty of living under cruel enemies.
I love the scene where the young German soldier comes to the de Dries’ farm to smell the fields in springtime after his mother has died. Lena remembers that we are to love our enemies and she is able to extend that love to the unhappy soldier. She learned to trust the sovereignty and goodness of God even when tragedy and hardship overwhelmed her. May we as well.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I still remember the first Lynn Austin book I ever read, primarily because I reread it recently and it still resonated with me.  So when a Lynn Austin book becomes available I have to read it, well, most of the time.  There are a few of her books I still haven't delved into, but that's a story for another day.  Today's review is on Chasing Shadows, a World War II era book that takes place in the Netherlands. While there are some books about World War II that deal with the battles and their aftermath, this one deals with the lives of people who are subject to the whims and impulses of a conquering government.  

Imperialism and domination were the keystones of the two major Axis players of the war.  The German National Socialists were also seeking racial purity and elimination of a race of people they deemed evil and corrupting.  While many people did not hold with the government's ideologies and did what they could to protect the Jews, they were still subject to the rules and laws of those people in power.  Some people put on their courageousness and did what they could to help these marginalized citizens. 

Chasing Shadows is a book about the bravery of ordinary people who disagreed with those in power, especially those who let their power go to their heads. The plot is dark with the clouds of evil hovering over the daily lives of the characters, and it deals with not only the history of the era, but also the fallout of the war on individual lives.  There are two intersecting stories that were common to the times.   On the one hand, there are the lives of farmers--ordinary citizens, as it were--and their families who have their food confiscated by the soldiers, but they also provide a safe haven and what little food they can for the Jews who would otherwise be sent to the camps.  On the other hand, there are the families of the Jews themselves who live in great fear every moment of the day.  Lynn has focused on one farmer's family and one Jewish family in this book and these narratives are based on real people and real events. 

I've never read a book of the World War II era that showcased the daily life of people and their hardships. I do enjoy reading WWII era books because my father served, two of his brothers served, and several of my uncles on my mother's side of the family also served. It is not as though I was unaware of the events, but to read it in a novelization where the emotions and the thoughts of the characters are displayed, the true meaning of the events drives home.  This is a five star book that will last in the reader's mind for a long time after the last pages are read. 

Tyndale House and provided the copy I read for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
After finishing this lovely and crushing book last night it is impossible not to reflect on what people (especially Jews) went through during WWII.  Lynn Austin has a beautiful way of stringing words and stories together and here she drew inspiration from true accounts.  Though painful and heartbreaking, this book offers so much hope, no matter what the circumstances, even the very, very worst.  For me this book was impossible to put down and I read late into the night to finish.

Even Neutral Netherlands was not exempt from the brutalities and cruelties of WWII.  Lena and her family live in the countryside, grow vegetables and raise livestock and create a safe haven.  But their lives change, over and over as their country is occupied by the Germans.  Lena's teenaged daughter, Ans, moves to the city to work but she is closely touched by the war, too.  And not just as part of the Resistance.  Miriam, a young Jewish violinist, manages to escape Germany to the Netherlands but to what?  The plot and subplots detail these and other characters' stories as they experience the very depths of horrors, humiliations and tragedies.  But their faith in God remains unshakeable and they cling to Him more than ever.  

The title is absolute perfection and laden with meaning.  Music is a theme here, too.  I really like that the awful realities of war aren't glossed over as they did happen.  This is a very realistic emotional and physical account and should be on every reader's list.  It brought tears of sorrow and rejoicing to my eyes.  

My sincere thank you to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reading this poignant and moving book!  In my view it is a must read.
Was this review helpful?
CHASING SHADOWS by LYNN AUSTIN is a beautifully told WW11 story which takes place in Holland and shows us the incredible courage and faith of three women who fight against the Nazi occupation in spite of their fear. As is always the case with this author, Christ's teachings lie at the foundation of the novel. We see Miriam Jacobs, a Jewess who escaped from Germany, Lena de Vries, a farmer's wife and her daughter Ans, who moves to Leiden, living lives of sacrifice in order to feed the hungry and hide Jews and other "undesirables" from the enemy. We see sacrificial love at its best throughout the story as opposed to the blind hatred of the enemy. We see people making difficult choices and not knowing who to trust in a world that has gone mad. We also see the healing power of music and how fear can drive a person towards faith in God.
I have only mentioned three of the wonderful characters, but there are many more who choose to resist rather than embrace the enemy, no matter the cost. It is really a most inspirational and thought provoking read.
I cannot recommend Chasing Shadows strongly enough. In fact I would say that it is now one of my most favourite books and It is one I will definitely read more than once.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Tyndale House Publishers. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?