Sunday, October 13, 2013

Snow On the Tulips by Liz Tolsma

A stranger’s life hangs in the balance. But to save him is to risk everything.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she’s endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia’s doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia’s faith won’t let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit’s intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love and learn to depend on the Perfect Love that drives out all fear? Or will her new love be snatched away before it has a chance to bloom?

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1

            “Schnell, schnell.” A German solider jammed the cold, hard barrel of his rifle into Gerrit Laninga’s back.
His heart throbbed against his ribs like waves against a dike. Any minute now, it would burst through his chest, splitting open as it fell on the ground.
            He scrambled to keep up with the nine other Dutch Resistance workers in front of him. If he fell behind, the Germans would shoot him on the spot. Not that it mattered one way or the other.
            Gerrit was on the way to his execution.
            Lord, I have served you, have worked these years to save your people. I know, Father, what awaits me on the other side of the bullet. But if it be your will, let this cup pass from me.          He sensed the pitying stares of the town’s people hiding behind their lace curtains, peeping out to spy on the men marching to their deaths. Behind closed doors, these people whispered, wondering what crimes the men had committed, to be executed in this way. Tomorrow morning, they would talk about it around their breakfast tables.
            He would not be here in the morning.
            Behind one of the house’s brick facades, a child shrieked in laughter. The Gestapo officer jabbed his weapon between Gerrit’s kidneys.
            God, if it has to happen, let it happen quickly. No pain, no suffering, Lord, please. But spare me, Father. You have rescued me again and again by your divine intervention.
            He’d had many close calls during the war, like the time the Nazis looked in every nook and cranny of the house where he’d been hiding. They had failed to move the rug which covered the trap door to the cellar where he’d been concealed. Or the time he’d seen some soldiers on the road when he’d been out delivering ration cards. He’d been able to jump and hide in a ditch before they ever noticed him.
You rescued me those times, Father. Just one more time. Intercede for me just one more time. I trust my life to you, Sovereign Lord.
            An unexplainable peace filled him. 
            No matter what happened, God was in control.
The nine men in front of him watched their feet as they moved forward, their backs hunched, their shoulders slumped.
            Gerrit held his head high. He refused to let the Germans think they had him conquered. Death was not defeat. Death was victory.
            His hands were tied in front of him. He clasped them together, tighter and tighter as death approached.
            His ankle turned. He stumbled on the uneven cobblestone street. The butt of the rifle slammed into his back.
             With his wrists bound, he couldn’t balance himself. He fell to his knees. His breath caught in his throat. Any second now, a bullet would pierce his skull.
            The Gestapo officer grabbed him by his upper arm, placed him on his feet, and shoved him. Gerrit spoke his thanks with a smile. If he could earn the sympathy of the soldier, maybe somehow he could find a way out.
            The man stared at Gerrit with icy blue eyes. Then he frowned and turned away.
Escape slipped out of his grasp.
A cold chill wrapped itself around him.
            The death marched continued to the canal. A squat house stood sentry at the water’s edge, its two first floor windows like eyes, watching, recording, memorizing these events. The setting sun’s rays refracted off the still water.
            The Germans forced the condemned down the icy canal bank beside the bridge. The evening frost made the grass slippery. Gerrit and the other prisoners slid and skidded down the hill. The Gestapo officers shouted at them while jabbing them with their guns. “Get up, get up. Schnell. Now line up here.”
            This was the end.
            Gerrit righted himself and faced the officer. The men who were slow to stand were kicked and dragged to their feet.
            A neat line formed.
            Silence filled the air.
            He stood tall. He couldn’t think.
“Ready? Aim.”
            He fixed his gaze on the cobalt blue eyes of his executioner.
            Into Thy hands I commit my spirit.
            A white-hot pain seared through Gerrit’s body.

            He crumpled to the ground.

About Liz
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her debut novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog at and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@LizTolsma). She is also a regular contributor to the Barn Door blog. 

To purchase her book:

To connect with Liz:
Twitter: @LizTolsma
on Pinterest as Liz Tolsma

Liz Tolsma is giving away a copy of Snow on the Tulips. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I love reading historical fiction. This sounds like a good book.
marypopmom (at) (yahoo (dot) com

Lis said...

Great excerpt, looking forward to the book.

Pam K. said...

Thanks for the excerpt. I wanted to keep reading! I'd love to win a copy of Snow on the Tulips, so thanks for the chance.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this, but now need to read the rest of the story. I can'y imagine what the people had to go through during those times. Please put my name in this drawing. Maxie


Patricia Bradley said...

Such powerful writing. Would love tow win! pat at ptbradley dot com

Merry said...

Thanks for the little peek of this awesome story!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I love this cover. Sorry I can't be in the drawing =(.

Patty said...

Sounds like a very powerful story!


Anonymous said...

Now you have me wondering.....

sm said...

Love to win this book about the war in Europe/Netherlands. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

bonton said...

Hi, Liz!

Such an exciting story - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!


Library Lady said...

I would love to win a copy of this book for my church library. Thanks for the chance to do so.
Janet E.

Amy Putney said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! I definitely look forward to reading it sometime!

Boos Mum said...

Again, I really like this cover. Thanks for the excerpt and the drawing.

sweetdarknectar at gmail dot com

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