Netherlands

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The Silent Heroes: A Memoir of Holland During World War II by Hans Moederzoon Van Kuilenburg 

The Silent Heroes: A Memoir of Holland During World War II by Hans Moederzoon Van Kuilenburg 

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Author Hans Moederzoon van Kuilenburg was a 10-year-old girl living in Amsterdam when German soldiers invaded Holland in the spring of 1940. The Dutch had intended to stay neutral at the outbreak of the war, as their military was no match for the Nazi hordes. Within five days, Holland had fallen and the German occupation was underway. The five ensuing years were among the darkest chapters in Dutch history, culminating in the "hunger winter" of 1944, during which 30,000 Dutch citizens died of hunger and cold. Even today, people like the author, who grew up during that time, are more prone to heart attacks as a result of the physical stress of those years. But despite having capitulated so quickly in the face of the overwhelming might of the German war machine, there were many heroes in Holland during the occupation; people like the author's father, a civilian supervisor of marine supplies, who robbed the Germans blind and gave stolen food and clothing to Dutch people in need. Eventually his activities attracted the attention of the German authorities and he was imprisoned. Thankfully Hans' mother was able to stage a dramatic escape with the help of the family doctor. The Silent Heroes is a true story of heroism, survival and resistance during a time of fear, despair, and hardship. Hans Moederzoon van Kuilenburg was born in Amsterdam and immigrated to the U.S. in 1959. She had a distinguished career as a medical assistant before retiring. In addition to writing, she also does photography and sometimes exhibits her work. The Silent Heroes is her first book. 


I am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen

I am Rembrandt's Daughter by Lynn Cullen

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With her mother dead of the plague, and her beloved brother newly married and moved away, Cornelia van Rijn finds herself without a friend or confidante—save her difficult father. Out of favor with Amsterdam's elite, and considered brash and unreasonable by his patrons, Rembrandt van Rijn, once revered, is now teetering on the brink of madness. Cornelia alone must care for him, though she herself is haunted by secrets and scandal. Her only happiness comes in chance meetings with Carel, the son of a wealthy shipping magnate whose passion for art stirs Cornelia. And then there is Neel, her father's last remaining pupil, whose steadfast devotion to Rembrandt both baffles and touches her. Based on historical fact, and filled with family dramas and a love triangle that would make Jane Austen proud, I Am Rembrandt's Daughter is a powerful account of a young woman's struggle to come of age within the shadow of one of the world's most brilliant and complicated artists.


The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

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In the part of the marketplace where flowers had been sold twice a week - tulips in the spring, roses in the summer - stood German tanks and German soldiers. Annie de Leeuw was eight years old in 1940 when the Germans attacked Holland and marched into the town of Winterswijk where she lived. Annie was ten when, because she was Jewish and in great danger of being captured by the invaders, she and her sister Sini had to leave their father, mother, and older sister Rachel to go into hiding in the upstairs room of a remote farmhouse.

Johanna de Leeuw Reiss has written a remarkably fresh and moving account of her own experiences as a young girl during World War II. Like many adults, she was innocent of the German plans for Jews, and she might have gone to a labor camp as scores of families did. "It won't be for long and the Germans have told us we'll be treated well," those families said. "What can happen?" They did not know, and they could not imagine... but millions of Jews found out. 


Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

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"Gretel looked at her mother in troubled silence, wondering whether it were very wicked to care more for one parent than for the other-and sure, yes, quite sure, that she dreaded her father, while she clung to her mother with a love that was almost idolatry." from Hans Brinker

A beloved childhood favorite for a century and a half-and a book that readers continue to enjoy and appreciate long into adulthood. Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates went through more than 100 editions during the author's lifetime alone. 


The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annexe" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short. 


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.