Book Review — Memories of Glass

29 Sep

Melanie Dobson is a must-read author for me. I don’t even have to read the blurb to know that I will be reading her book. 😉 My book club chose Memories of Glass, and I now have a new favorite by this talented author. A split-time novel, this book explores how people react in the face of evil — acquiescence or rebellion, apathy or heroism. This one is very highly recommended.

Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.

1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.

Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.

Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.

Writing fiction is Melanie Dobson‘s excuse to explore abandoned houses, travel to unique places, and spend hours reading old books and journals. The award-winning author of almost thirty books, Melanie enjoys stitching together both time-slip and historical stories including The Curator’s DaughterMemories of Glass, and the Legacy of Love novels (legacyofloveseries.com). Five of her novels have received a Carol Award for historical fiction, Catching the Wind‘s audiobook won the 2018 Audie for Inspirational Novel, and The Black Cloister was ForeWord’s Book of the Year for Religious Fiction. Her next time-slip novel, The Winter Rose, comes out in January 2022. 

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon’s work, the Dobson family has finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn’t writing, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, dancing, and reading stories with her girls. 

More information about Melanie and her books is available at her website (melaniedobson.com) or at the following social media platforms: 

Facebook.com/MelanieDobsonFiction
Instagram/MelBDobson
Twitter.com/MelBDobson

My Impressions:

Memories of Glass was inspired by the heroics of the Dutch resistance in WWII. Because of their sacrifice, many Jewish children were saved from the Nazi death camps. The story is told from three points of view — Eliese, a young, privileged Jewish woman put in an impossible situation, Josie, a young Dutch woman who could not stand by and let children perish, and Ava, a young American woman who wants desperately to find her place in a family, but won’t compromise the faith shared by her mother. All three must make choices that will impact not just their own futures. I found each of their stories compelling. Ordinary women who have to face extraordinary circumstances. Each of their stories are intertwined and develop a complete whole.

The rich historical detail of Memories of Glass shows diligent research on the part of Dobson. She injects historical figures into the narrative, while also using inspiration of real figures to create her fictional characters. The contrast between those who are working for good and those who are working for evil is chilling. There really is no fence-sitting in the stories — all make their choices. The complex construction of the story and the vividly-drawn characters make this an unputdownable book. There were many anonymous heroes during WWII, and Memories of Glass pays homage to them. While we may never know their names, their actions count towards eternity.

My book club chose Memories of Glass, and I cannot wait to discuss it with them. I anticipate a great conversation about the historical detail, the choices characters made, and the implications in our own lives. If you can, I recommend you read it with a friend or two — you are going to want to talk about this book!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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