This Is The Emotionally Stirring Story Of Unlikely Lovers Who Brave The Bigotry Of Their Era, Only To Be Victims Of The Even Larger Forces Of History At Work In World War II The Plight Of Anna A Lively And Charismatic Woman And Her Much Younger Second Husband Waldemar An Immigrant From The Dutch Colony Of Suriname , And The Fate Of Their Only Child, Waldy, After His Parents Are Murdered In The Nazi Concentration Camp For The Crime Of Harboring Jews In Their Boarding House Is Unforgettable.Waldemar Is Unique As A Biracial Young Man In Post WWII Netherlands And His Search For His Own Path In Life Is Sure To Engage Even The Hardest Hearts. I love reading books from this era However, this one reads like a history book than a traditional non fiction book It took me several attempts to get into the style of writing this author has I found the background of the characters at the beginning of the book and several pages into it convoluted and quite difficult to follow as there were so many of them Really long paragraphs, no dialog, just quoting letters, comments from other people, and diaries Having said that, I am over 1 2 finished and finally warming up to the book. Amazing WII storyThis is a great story about an amazing couple from the Netherlands pre and during WWII.This story of a mixed race couple, her a married, white woman many years older than her Suriname born, black lover who meet in the Netherlands several years prior to Hitler s devastating march and takeover of the country brings nothing short of respect and admiration Not only do they appear to have nothing but absolute positive things remembered about them, they were an active part of the Dutch Resistance hiding Jewish and non jews during the war in their home.I had never heard of this couple before choosing this book as my free Prime book of the month although it s already been made into a movie and won many awards overseas.Repeating what I read in the Author s Notes at the end of this well written book, with all of the things this couple must have endured in their relationship given her marital status, their racial differences and age difference, what made them choose to expose themselves to such dangers by assisting others in need by being members of the Dutch Resistance It s absolutely an awesome human story that I m so grateful has finally been translated into English for our consumption.A truly brave, heartwarming, heart wrenching and incredible story Absolutely recommend to readers of history I plan to download the movie from Prime next. Amazing human story about a white Dutch woman and her much younger black Suriname lover turned husband from before World War II and leading into the midst of the conflict The book delves into individuals backgrounds before the couples eventual meeting, the ensuing relationship, and finally their struggles during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.I m very pleased with this First Reads pickup and while the book is new , apparently it s been around and beloved for many years over in the Netherlands The tale of Rika and Waldemar is even a 2011 Dutch film called Sonny Boy While I m ignorant on the amount of writing that can be attributed to the original author vs the translator, the literary nonfiction style was excellent and suited the story perfectly There are many different timelines and people involved, yet it was told succinctly High quality, engrossing, and just an all around great read. An important WWII story from the Netherlands that is hard to put down and difficult to forget. I chose this book as a freebie from Prime As I love historical fiction and non fiction, it was a great selection for me In a time when it was tabu for the races to mix, Rika from the Netherlands and Waldemar from Suriname were an unlikely couple She was, in fact, a married woman Her husband had her four children from their union and he made life miserable for her And until she became pregnant by her younger lover, he thought she would come back to him.Then, in the midst of the Great Depression, they prospered because of Rika s ingenious idea of running a guest house, because everyone needed a place to get away By the time the Germans took over her home, it was basically a hotel on the North Sea Then later, because she had five children, she was allowed a larger home And they took full advantage of this by hiding Jews and SS deserters But because such a large operation as the Dutch Resistance cannot stay secret long, both adults were arrested along with many others Rika still diligently corresponded with her family, for as long as it was possible But she never saw her two Waldies again. DiffcultThis novel was very well written, however it was difficult to read past a certain point The first part of the book regarding family life was extremely good until the part that graphically explained the horrors of war and what the Germans did to their enemies and the Jews in the concentration camps The last half of the book was terribly brutal and sad. An unforgettable true storyA powerful true story about love and the sacrifices people made during the darkest of times Heartbreaking and unforgettable A must read. I read this whole book in one sitting The beginning, The River, 1923, intrigued me because of the descriptions of nature around Paramaribo which I have never heard of before The hero, Waldemar s connection with the river, which was almost human, the river played just as mysterious a game with the wind a stealthy killer that s what she was and which was his playground the water was his friend and affected his life so proundly made me read I recognised the name of Surinam, but knew little about it This seemed to be fiction rather than non fiction and yet it is Waldemar, the quiet coloured boy s biography However, things changed when the scene moved away from Holland s tropical possessions to Holland itself and we meet November in Holland, a sodden and desolate place where the girl, Rika Hagenhaar van der Lans lived in the autumn of 1928 A tired place for a tired wife who bickered with her husband incessantly The reader then begins to hear her history and Waldemar is forgotten Then we are given the history of her husband Willem and what happened so that his wife had become so alienated from him, her isolation from friends and family and her feelings of hopelessness They part inevitably Back to Waldemar, his education and his eventual move to Holland to better himself, although he longs for Paramaribo all his life Finally, the intertwining of two lives and the bringing togther of a black man and a white woman, living an ordinary life in a time so dangerous for all, Hitler s ascendancy Historical facts and explanations continue and we move far away from the sweetness of the realm of the The River episode in the beginning, which we finally understand at the end of the book It is now pure non fiction Wartime becomes even dangerous for Rika and Waldemar Their Sonny Boy is born and begins his life in the beginning of war I shall not spoil this book for you, but can tell you that Hitler s concentration camps are well documented Throughout their lives, these two people maintain their dignity and face their fates as did millions of others who were innocent This is a sad book, but a true story If you read it, expect to be elevated by a sense of pride in human nature and its capacity for survival The book deserves its success and is fully explained by the author at the end I enjoyed it in one sense, but was horrified by some of its content A 5 book. How have I missed this book until now This book is extremely well written and translatedoften reads like poetry He gave his life so as not to lose his humanity There is a lot of background information given in the beginning about Suriname and it s colonial relationship with Holland This becomes key to understanding the two main characters a thirty seven year old Dutch mother and her eighteen year old boarder from Suriname who fall in love, and birth a biracial son Turbulent family consequences ensue, and then blend with the hostilities and tensions of pre war Holland Their love, however, is strong, and not only weather s the crises but is able to reach out and rescue others as the Nazi occupation overwhelms Holland One can learn so much about history by reading about the lives of individuals than simply reading about events, and this is especially true here The story is tragic, and the son of this amazing couple suffers greatly It is only by the author writing this book that he eventually finds peace This book is definitely a classic. I wasn t quite sure what this book was when I opened it, and it started slowly But it picked up quickly The true and well documented story is a complex family history covering the joining through marriage of Protestant and Catholic families in the Netherlands in the early 20th century and the eventual failure of that marriage Following that separation, the wife meets and falls in love with a young man from Suriname Dutch Guiana at the time who comes to the Netherlands for an education He s of mixed race Gets complicated, but an amazing if improbable story, but truth is stranger than fiction The family which is completed with a son is torn apart by the Nazi conquest of the Netherlands after assisting in the hiding and rescue of Dutch Jews reminiscent of the Diary of Anne Frank This book was a bestseller in the Netherlands and the translation is quite good The story is better.