About the Book
Book: A Picture of Hope
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: October, 2021
A Photojournalist Risks Her Life to Save Children
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
Journalist Nellie Wilkerson has spent the bulk of the war in London, photographing pilots taking off and landing—and she’s bored. She jumps at the chance to go to France, where the Allied forces recently landed. She enlists Jean-Paul Breslau of the French underground to take her to the frontlines. On the journey, they come upon an orphanage where nuns shelter children with disabilities. Can they help save them before the Nazis come to liquidate it?
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About the Author
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.
More from Liz
Why Another WWII Novel Set in France
You may well read the back cover of my latest release, A Picture of Hope, and wonder why on earth we need another WWII novel set in France. After all, Kristy Cambron just had one. Melanie Dobson and Sarah Sundin will be coming out with theirs in 2022. So why did I feel the need to write my novel with the same setting?
First of all, I’m a Francophile. I love all things French. It started when I took French in high school. Everyone else was learning Spanish, but I wasn’t into being part of the crowd. There were only a few of us in the class, and it was great fun. We had a wonderful teacher. Being able to pull out some of that French, refine it a bit, and use it in the book was a blast. But I also love French food (who doesn’t?) and everything else.
Secondly, I hadn’t written about France before. When I wrote this proposal at least five or six years ago, I didn’t know France would be so hot. God did, and the book came about in His perfect timing. I’d explored the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Philippines. Such a shame that I was leaving out France, so I set about to write a novel located in that country.
Thirdly, there was so much good material to pull from. The French resistance, while small, did good work and sacrificed a great deal to get Jews out of the country and into Switzerland or Spain. The books that Kristy, Melanie, Sarah, and I write are all so different. Only the setting is the same. And when I found out that the famous mime Marcel Marceau was part of the resistance, I couldn’t help but giving him a cameo. Be on the lookout!
Along the way, I discovered some truly heartrending incidents that took place in France. They also compelled me to write this book. I long for the world to remember what happened so that we will never forget. And so that the atrocities committed there will never be repeated.
Fourthly, this was originally the third book in a series. Don’t worry – it’s a stand-alone. Maybe someday I’ll get to publish the other two. The women in the series are all American journalists in Europe. One is a reporter, the other is a broadcaster, and so I decided to make Nellie, the heroine in A Picture of Hope, a photojournalist. And where better to take pictures than on Omaha Beach soon after D-day. How she gets there is based on a very interesting true story, so be sure to read to the end for that one.
There are so many stories about WWII to be told and so many countries that participated in the conflict in one way or the other. The ground is so rich that we aren’t plowing the same parcel. You’ll find all of these books to be very different from each other, each with its own message, its own voice, and its own plot.
The focus in my book is on children with Down syndrome. I have a background in special education, and my husband and I adopted a child from the Philippines with an intellectual disability, so I’ve always had a heart for people with special needs. My daughter brings us so much joy that I wanted to share a glimpse into what these remarkable people are truly capable of.
So that is why I wrote a WWII novel set in France. Make yourself a cup of café au lait, butter up a croissant, and enjoy A Picture of Hope!
I love stories about WWII and this one is especially good. The way the author describes the hardships that people went through is very detailed and easy to feel like you are there with them. I’m sure we may never know the full picture of what took place but this story gives readers a glimpse of how important hope is.
Nellie was very hard to like . She took her job so serious that at times it seemed to overtake her every thought. She has a problem with taking direction and has a tendency to want to be in control. Nellie will learn a few lessons along the way such as learning to trust. She is determined to get pictures that will be seen by many in the news. I liked how she wanted the world to see the war in a clear way without being censored. The world had no idea what horrible things were being done by Hitler. It you weren’t perfect in his eyes, he wanted you gone. Such power this man had and Nellie wanted to expose him to the world. It amazed me how many risks she took and at times it bothered me. I kept thinking she wanted to prove something.
Jean -Paul is an incredible character with a heart so full of compassion. First he helps Nellie get to a safe place. Next we see him at a convent where children are hidden because they are considered “not perfect.” I have to say that the mention of children with disabilities really opened my eyes. I never thought about how they were seen through the eyes of Hitler. Jean -Paul wants to protect them as well as the nuns and Nellie. I was a little unsure if he would succeed. He has taken a great risk to do this and I worried that it would be too much for him. The author wrote this character so well that I actually began to worry for his safety. He seemed so real and his sacrifice to stay away from the convent put his life in danger. Would the Germans discover who he was?
The author gives us lots of action and intrigue as a plan is in place to get everyone to safety. I loved the twists in the story and tried to read as quickly as I could. I could feel tension rise as it became clear that escaping was going to be a treacherous chore. Would the children be quiet when they needed to be? The big question was who could be trusted? With faith centered in the story hope became a word they each held on to.
The author has captured an account of history that was hard to read but important for the world to know the truth. I loved how Nellie and Jean -Paul never gave up hope that they would be able to overcome obstacles that tried to take their freedom away. It is important to read the author’s notes at the end of the book. She has included details of the time period as well as people who were instrumental in helping children and others escape from the Germans. The title of the book is perfect because it reminds me of the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That one picture is a symbol of hope and freedom for thousands.
“This suffering is meant to make our souls long for heaven.”
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit and Barbour Publishing. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of A Picture of Hope!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.