Judging by the cover, this looked self-published (it’s not); my expectations were minimal. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing, and found the story of Everett De Boer’s family’s work with the Dutch Resistance compelling. Journey Through the Night is four volumes (written in Dutch 1951-1958, translated in 1960) published as one.
The De Boer family is likeable. The architect father has pluck, the mother is kind-hearted, oldest son John is capable but inclined to hesitate, and impetuous Fritz can’t keep out of trouble; the other siblings have cameo roles. They are Christian — the winsome kind whose faith is more acted upon than spoken of, not off-putting.
What impressed me most in a world of checkpoints, false IDs, and fascist occupation was the advantage of being relaxed and calm, casual and nonchalant. Terror is perilous.
The De Boers had recently read Isaiah 16:3 Hide the outcast, don’t betray the fugitive, when a young man knocks on their door, seeking refuge. A procession of Jewish families and resistance fighters are hidden and helped. Such a small thing, and yet it changed the course of war: simple courageous people opening their homes and risking their lives for all kinds of strangers.
What I discovered while reading this book:
DKW cars (Dampf-Kraft-Wagen = steam-driven car) photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The Dutch National Anthem —another example of music bolstering courage
“OSO!” (Orange Shall Overcome) the slogan of the Dutch Resistance (here’s a link to learn more about the Dutch Resistance)
The Dutch writer Anne de Vries is a male. (Rainer Maria Rilke comes to mind as another writer with a conventionally female name.)
and no one could stop the course of God’s justice – not even Hitler.
Don’t let impatience make life miserable for you.
I highly recommend this to readers who liked Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and Anne Frank’s Diary.
Thanks for the review. I’ve had this book on the shelf for a while but was putting off reading it to my youngest until she was a little older. What age would you recommend it?
There aren’t that many instances of high tension, from what I remember. My guess would be 11-12. I think the most difficult sections would be where the resistance workers kill a civilian spy along the road. Perhaps you could read a middle chapter to better evaluate.