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(And I mean, when it comes down to it, how could I not love a story that has my name in it?)
Reluctant to marry because of the tragic von Schuyler fate, Alison Schuyler determines that her chance meeting with Ian Devlin must be her last. Besides, she has other problems. Hitler's advance across Europe is putting priceless historical paintings in danger of falling into Nazi hands. They must be hidden and kept safe.
But Ian is persistent, Hitler continues to advance, and Alison has to confront two of her deepest-held beliefs: will she reject love in response to previous family tragedy? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to preserve art? Is it worth her life and the lives of others? This gripping WW2 story brings historical fiction to the next level.
Where Treasure Hides deals with the art treasures of WW2, and a fictional family of artists who lived in Holland. With character participating in secret intelligence, and Alison put in conflict with Hitler's assistant Goering, there was a lot of satisfying historical flavor. I liked the relationship with Alison and her father and grandfather. Their tensions, love for, and relationships with one another shy away from cookie cutter rebellion and power-mongering and presents each of them as a sympathetic character with a lot of love for each other.
This is a war story, so definitely be forewarned. There are dark and sad sections of crime committed throughout as a sobering response to desperation. Content includes violence, the death of the innocent, and one brief mention of attempted rape, which was inferred and would be missed by some readers. While those things were really hard, this book felt like unique and honest storytelling, and as a reader, I really respected the authenticity of its pages.
I wasn't sure what was going to happen with the insta love at the beginning, and that wasn't my favorite section, but the romance between Alison and Ian that followed was well-crafted, and I understood the insta love was a necessary set-up. The author even pulled off a love triangle super well.
Towards the latter quarter of the book, I felt less connected to Alison's emotions, but there was a lot of story to cover. This book would give a lot of deep questions for a book club to discuss together. What is a biblical response to fear--fear of death, of war, of evil men in power, and of the frailty of humanity? And how can we overcome the fear of pain, like Alison, when facing future decisions? (The last of which resonates with me right now.)
Johnnie Alexander mentioned a possible book 2 on Goodreads, which I for one would heartily second and eagerly anticipate. I'm looking forward to its release, whenever that happy day arrives. Where Treasure Hides would be a book you might want to add to the summer if you're looking for a historical fiction with lots to think about.
PS. Love historical fiction and war stories? Looking for Dickens-style storytelling with Irish spies and family conflict? Check out the War of Loyalties Kickstarter campaign to help bring this book to print in 2017! (Not endorsed or connected to today's book review.)