Synopsis: In the early 1940s, Jeremiah Prins was a 12-year-old living a content life as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). When Holland declared war on the Japanese in 1941, the situation changed swiftly. The Japanese army invaded, and Jeremiah and his family were placed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp-a camp Jeremiah finally escapes and returns to Holland. Yet wartime complications force him to abandon a marriage engagement with Laura Jensen. The young man flees to California, where he struggles with the lingering anger and war stress he faced as a child.
Determined to find some kind of redemption, a now-elderly Jeremiah tries to make sense of his life by journaling of all that he does not want to reveal to his children about his past, intending to leave his writings as an apology after he is gone.
An online encounter puts Jeremiah in touch with his true love from the war years, Laura, and when they meet again, it triggers the time bomb of long-buried secrets. Even seventy years later, if uncovered, these secrets can harm everyone who matters to Jeremiah.
“A Dutchman can be stubborn, but even he knows he will not prevail against a female of his nation.”
I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything about the Dutch East Indies or the Japanese Imperialist invasion before, so this is different from my usual reads. I liked Jeremiah’s attitude and bravery and his affection for Laura. Their childhood interactions were cute. Even the rivalry with Georgie was kind of cute in another way, even though he was pesky and mean.
As for the story overall, it was just okay. With the subject manner, of course, it’s not a very light read. Some of the events were pretty shocking and sad.
-I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.