Daisies Are Forever

Daisies Are Forever

by Liz Tolsma


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In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family.

Prussia, 1945

The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst.

Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her.

The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye, Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Josep Cramer.

Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family.

With the world at its darkest, and the lives of two children at stake, the counterfeit couple finds in each other a source of faith, hope, and the love they need to survive.

“Tolsma isn't afraid to detail the horrors of war as she depicts how tragedies can be obstacles to one's Christian beliefs.” —Romantic Times, 4-star review

“[Daisies Are Forever] is a compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses endured by those marked forever by World War II. Recommended for fans of ­Rosamunde and Robin Pilcher, Kate Morton, and historical romances.” —Library Journal

“Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read.” —CBA Retailers + Resources

Includes Reading Group Guide

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401689124
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 603,820
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a US Marine. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

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Daisies Are Forever 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
Liz Tolsma has become one of my go to authors when I think of World War II stories. Between her novels and Bodie and Brock Thoene's novels I think we get a complete picture of that awful time in history. All these series are graphical, and should not be read by young children. While the Thoenes' write about the Jewish nation in the war, Liz writes about people in the East Prussia area. I can not call them characters, for they are so much more in my mind. They are very real, with  genuine feelings in a war none of them wanted or asked for. In this time of unrest, I had a hard time reading this at times as I thought of how it could become reality for us at a moments notice. Fear, guilt of surviving, pretenses and relationships formed in intense situations are all handled with grace and courage in the writing of this novel. It becomes so clear, that I as the reader felt like I was the one roaming in circles in an attempt to evade the enemy. It is brutally honest, and shows the effects of war, not only in a war of this magnitude, but also smaller civil wars could be included. This is the second book in the series, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next one! . I received this book free from Christen Krum at Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
MelissaF More than 1 year ago
This is a perspective of World War II I haven’t read before. When I read about WWII I usually am reading about what the Nazis did to the Jewish people. This story is coming from the perspective of Germans running from the Russians. Of course Mitch gets thrown in the mix and he is fighting against Germany yet helping Gisela and her friends and family who are German. This adds so much tension and you know something bad is going to happen. Along the journey lives are lost and new refugees join the group, refugees who seem nice at first but then stir up trouble within the group. Liz does a wonderful job of bringing this era to life and making you feel like you are part of the action. You will travel with this ragtag group as bullets whiz by, as they are crowded in the back of trucks and gymnasiums. You will feel the pain of blistered feet and the fear of losing those you hold dear. If you enjoy historicals, or stories about WWII with a bit of romance thrown in you will want to pick this book up. An ecopy of this book was given to me by the BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Liz Tolsma in her new book “Daisies Are Forever” Book Two in the Women Of Courage series published by Thomas Nelson brings us into the life of Gisela Cramer in 1945. From the back cover:   In the final days of Nazi Germany, the strength of one woman’s heart will determine the fate of a family. Prussia, 1945 The fall of the Third Reich is imminent. As the merciless Red Army advances from the East, the German people of Prussia await the worst. Among them is twenty-year-old Gisela Cramer, an American living in Heiligenbeil with her cousin Ella and their ailing grandfather. When word arrives that the Russians will invade overnight, Ella urges Gisela to escape to Berlin—and take Ella’s two small daughters with her. The journey is miserable and relentless. But when Gisela hears the British accent of a phony SS officer, she poses as his wife to keep him safe among the indignant German refugees. In the blink of an eye,  Mitch Edwards and Gisela are Herr and Frau Joseph Cramer. Through their tragic and difficult journey, the fabricated couple strives to protect Ella’s daughters, hoping against hope for a reunion. But even as Gisela and Mitch develop feelings beyond the make–believe, the reality of war terrorizes their makeshift family. With the world at its darkest, and the lives of two children at stake, the counterfeit couple finds in each other a source of faith, hope, and the love they need to survive. History, romance, family drama and suspense all bundled together into one very entertaining story.  What makes this story even more interesting is that the characters are not only based on real-life events they are also based on real-life individuals one of whom is related to the author.  Wow, what people had to endure because of the war, it is incredible.  Gisela is on the run from the Russians and is trying to take her family home.  Mitch is about to get killed but Gisela saves him.  Now they are trying to keep their little band alive as they make they way, however possible, across Europe.  This is a story about how individuals can determine the course for the many, either for the bad or the good.  Gisela and Mitch are wonderfully crafted characters that we draw very close to and root for them to succeed.   “Daisies Are Forever” is a wonderful, interesting story with power and depth that will keep you flipping pages.  I recommend this book highly and I do look forward to the next book from this highly talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Daisies are Forever is a very powerful book. I felt thrust into a terrifyingly realistic war zone. The book follows Gisela Cramer, Mitch Edwards, and a handful of other important secondary characters as they attempt to escape from Prussia and into the heart of Berlin, Germany. It is a frantic race across dangerous territory in an attempt to escape Russian forces. I found the storyline interesting and well-written. The light romance that develops between the main characters is threatened by jealousy from others in the group. The possibility that Mitch’s true identity would be discovered and that he could be turned in to the authorities had me pretty nervous in some parts of the book. I think the author did a good job of showing the effects that the trauma of war had on Gisela and Mitch, who both carried more than their fair share of guilt around. Getting these two to let go of their burdens and recognize that God was in control was no easy thing! I really felt transported back into time with this story. The atrocities that these characters witnessed on their travels and once they reached Berlin were heartbreaking, yet this is ultimately an uplifting story that showed how God works even in the midst of terrible events. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse Publicity, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Daisies are Forever, the title, shows up in subtle ways throughout the book. A book that should be a mandatory read for all who don’t think WWII really happened, or the atrocities that took place. With the help of these characters, especially American/German Gisela Cramer and English Soldier Mitch Edwards, and others as they try to survive at the end of the war, we are given the opportunity to walk in their shoes. Can you imagine being on a train trying to travel to Berlin, being attacked by the Russians, yes they were the Allies, but the train is full of invalids, woman and children, and watching in horror as the pilot gets his jollies mowing them down with bullets? Happens more than once, and I remember reading articles about the survivors in Germany who were praying for the American’s to be the first to get to them and not the Russians, and we do remember how that turned out. Yes, in America we have now received an attack on our shores, but we have never had to hide in shelters and hope that the building above us doesn’t collapse on top of us. No food, no sanitary conditions, the feeling of hopelessness, and our Government have done all of this to us. The situation becomes so clear as we read this awesome book, that I never wanted to end, and thank goodness there is an epilogue at the end. Come along and become absorbed in the atrocities of war, but see the hand of God on those who love and believe. There is, if can believe in all this hopelessness a bit of romance, and compassion, that will bring you to tears. Don’t miss this amazing read, a real page-turner. I received this book through Litefuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
What a tough novel! In no way was this an easy read! It was intense really from beginning to end with some intrigue, fear, and romance mixed in all together! There were many times I had to put the book down because it was so heart wrenching as well as having me fearful in the journey Gisela and Mitch took! I could not even begin to imagine what they went through and the constant inner battle of guilt they both had! However what a beautiful story of redemption! They both experienced many hardships, but it was through those many hardships that they both came to understand that never could their actions be enough to make up for past wrongs! It would only be through the forgiveness of Christ that their wrongs could be forgiven and forgotten! I am again at amazed at Liz's writing! She has way of drawing you into the lives of the characters, but also wanting to close the book because its so much to handle even though your not even IN the book itself! As hard as Daises are Forever was to read it was another amazing real life kind of story! I strongly recommend in having a few tissues near by though as well as preparing your heart for a brutal journey with these characters! It is a story of heart break, but also one of redemption and new beginnings! I give Daises are Forever a 5 out of 5 stars! *(I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse publicity and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review)*
PatGMoore More than 1 year ago
aisies Are Forever is set in World War II in Berlin. Gisela was born in California to an American mother & German father. They move to Germany before the war starts. She is sent to relatives to live when the Russians invade Germany. She has to leave due to her cousins being killed She once again has to leave her grandfather and cousin behind. Her cousin sends her two little girls with Gisela to Berlin for safety. One the way she becomes part of a group trying to survive the Allies bombing Germany. Mitch Edwards is an escaped POW. An American who had moved to England and was captured. His German accent definitely won't pass with him wearing a SS uniform. Their travel that should have taken only a few hours takes a lot longer. The train is bombed, crossing a lake the ice breaks and you will have to read to see what else happens. I read this book in one sitting and loved it. There is danger, lost supplies, a toddler found on the side of the road, air raids, bombings, being shot at and all the hardships of trying to survive worn torn Germany. When they think they are finally safe more danger is found. I bought this book at a local bookstore and on the recommendation of another customer. I'm so glad I took her recommendation. The book is well written and even better than Snow on the Daisies. That was the first book I read by Liz Tolsma. You could see the growth in the writing from her previous novel. Her characters had more depth, the plot and storyline was better and I love this book. Highly recommend this book. No one asked me to write this review and all opinions are my own. I definitely will be buying more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book. Happy Ending. Nice characters.
MarilynReicks More than 1 year ago
The book Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma opens in February, 1945, when the Russian Army was moving into East Prussia. Gisela planned to escape ahead of the Soviets but had to leave some family behind. Cousin Ella convinced Gisela to take her two little girls, Annelies and Renate, a way from danger as Ella needed to stay behind to take care of elderly Opa, Gisela’s grandfather. Gisela could only take with her bare necessities as she planned to travel with a cart. Others traveling by carts, wagons and on foot clogged the roadways. Two senile sisters were among the group and their brother Herr. Throngs of people wearily trudged through snow in freezing weather. Along the way they tried to find shelter in homes or barns for the night. Food was scarce and the young and feeble had priority when sharing. Mitch an escaped British soldier from a German prison was saved from recapture when Gisela claimed him as her husband. Mitch’s British accent could give him away anytime, but he became a great help to Gisela and the two little girls in their escape to safety. The book details the terror of war, anxiety, unhealthy living conditions and the stench of living without sanitary conditions. Relentless bombs falling day after day and shelling left everyone never knowing if they would be spared another day. The author takes the reader to the realistic depths of hellish war and makes one realize the horror of such turmoil. An acquaintance and an aunt who experienced the war inspired Tolsma to write the book. I recommend Daisies are Forever, a WWII story to understand more about that terrible war. Tolima’s writings cause a person to appreciate life.
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
1945, Prussia "In here is where your memories are. In your heart. Those, no one can take away." ~Dietrich Holtzmann Daisies are Forever is a follow up story to Liz Tolsma's Snow on the Tulips. It's a story about WWII and the devastation it wrought on millions of innocent lives. Gisela Cramer made a promise to keep her cousin Ella's two daughters safe even as she left Ella and her opa (grandpa) behind to face their fate with the Russians invading their city. Gisela is a strong character who is full of determination. She is a fierce protector of those she cares about and refuses to leave anyone behind. When she meets Mitch Edwards she immediately knows that, even though he is wearing a German uniform, he is no German. He is a British soldier that recently escaped a POW camp and he is fighting to stay alive. To save him from being executed she claims him as her husband. Mitch only wanted to find his way back to his fellow soldiers so he could continue to fight and make his estranged father understand why he signed up to be a soldier to begin with. He never intended to be a part of the rag tag group he now felt responsible for. Mitch was a man of strength and integrity, a very strong hero that risked his life daily. He had grown up trying to keep his best friend, Xavier, out of trouble but rarely succeeding. He was brave but not altogether fearless. His character is as real as humanly possible and I loved him in this story. Gisela and Mitch embark on a journey of terror, love, compassion and faith. They fight to survive in a world that is crumbling around them. They are accompanied by a diverse group of people that only enrich the story. Renate and Annelies, Gisela's three and five year-old cousins, are adorable and a great addition to the story. I think I loved Bettina and Katya the most. They were Gisela's elderly neighbors and both ladies managed to bring a little humor into the war torn world of Prussia. I loved the little flights of fancy that their senility brought to the story. When the story brought me to tears, which it often did, I only had to think of these two ladies for a smile to break through. This book brought to life the devastation and atrocities of a war never forgotten and it was done so expertly that I never wanted it to end. It was so rich in detail that I felt as if I was the one fleeing across a frozen lagoon when a tiefflieger (a low-flying German plane) opened fire, taking the lives of young and old alike. Mrs. Tolsma blends fact and fiction into one amazing, spellbinding story that left me in awe of its life-like quality. She is a natural at weaving a tale that will grip your heart and leave you breathless. I leave this story with scenes of destruction seared into my mind and I am more than ok with that. If you haven't yet read Snow on the Tulips I suggest you do so. Although both books can be read separately and exclusively I believe it enriches the experience when read in sequence. This book is among my favorite books of all time. So, yes, I very highly recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and I received no monetary compensation.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
MY REACTION:  First, I am always excited to read a book by a Wisconsin author.  It adds an extra specialness to the whole reading experience.  Somehow I am more connected just knowing that the creativity was birthed here in our state.  Liz Tolsma's second book did not disappoint.  Like her first book, SNOW ON TULIPS, she turns to actual people and their World War II experiences for inspiration.  For DAISIES ARE FOREVER, she combined the tales she heard from her Aunt Lillian and another into Gisela's heroic flight from the approaching Russians.  These are not the stories of powerful people making historic decisions in battle, nor are they the stories of individuals called to assume leadership roles that will change the war's path.  Instead Liz's writings show how the women, elderly, wounded, and children left in the war's path must make difficult daily decisions just to survive.  They are forced to leave behind loved ones and cherished possessions.  Despite having no professed political affiliation or loyalty, they face constant bombings and air raids.  Food rations are dwindling and starvation threatens as surely as the Russians advance.  This is truly a book of "darkest circumstances" yet Liz tells the truthful and powerful story of faith, hope, love, and survival.  She did a superb job of filling the book with informative details which all supported the realism and believability.  Even the most minor of characters were well drawn, often underlining how the actions of a single stranger can change the outcome of a desperate situation.  I highly recommend Gisela and Mitch's story in DAISIES ARE FOREVER.  I also hope that Liz Tolsma is at her Wisconsin writing desk, already planning another novel because I've become a fan of her work.  I received a copy of this book from LITFUSE and the publishers for my honest review.
Adam412 More than 1 year ago
I’ve never liked war stories much but I identified with Grisela Cramer from the opening page of Daisies are Forever in this suspenseful novel about World War II. I ran with her as she led an entourage trying to escape the coming Russians. She knew they were brutal killers, as well soldiers who would ravage the women when they arrived. Their mortars already dropped nearby. I grieved with her as she left loved ones behind: Opa, her beloved grandfather who was too ill to leave home, and Grisela’s cousin, Ella, who stays care for Opa and be there when her husband comes home from war. Yet, Ella sends her two little daughters to seek safety with Grisela. Neighbor Herr Holtzmann and his two elderly sisters whose minds are failing also join the fleeing group on bicycles pulling carts containing necessities, exiting with thousands of others seeking refuge. They had not gone far when they meet Mitch, an escaped British prisoner of war, and a friend who masquerade as German SS officers. They also are running for their lives.   A woman sees the young men and screams. “These are the Brits the SS is hunting for.” The crowd keeps murmuring about them when Grisela steps forward. “See the dark haired one? He is my husband.” Her declaration saves his life. This is the first of many twists and complications in the story. The tale is a gripping read, splashed with humor from the contented elderly sisters whose confused minds dream up all sorts of  exotic locations every time they stop, and when they eat imagine delicacies that make your mouth water. Almost every day bombs drop near them and bullets whistle by, and not everyone is delivered from death and destruction. Of special interest is the “story behind the story.” Liz Tolsma’s grandmother escaped in the night as the Russians marched into their city, saving 10 other people from certain death. She took a route similar to the one portrayed in this book, and also attributes their survival to God’s grace. Daisies are Forever is a book I’ll read again. It’s so well written writers would do well to read it. I recommend it. Note: I was provided a review copy, but that in no way influenced my review.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
I’ll start out my review by saying - this is the best book I’ve read in quite some time. I’m not overly familiar with stories with a WWII setting, but after reading…no, experiencing this story—I’ll eagerly seek them out. Liz Tolsma is a superb writer with a strong ability to set a scene with such clarity that I could hear, smell, taste, touch, feel and see the battle-raged cities and battered victims of WWII. I felt a sense of community with Gisela and her family and friends. I sympathized with each character’s plight, their yearnings and fears. I reached the limits of my emotions—crying, laughing, aching and sighing—within the pages of this book. Daisies Are Forever, inspired by true events, is much more than a romance. It deals with history, emotion, loyalty, family dynamics, realities of war, violence, loss, pain, fear, forgiveness, spirituality and redemption. Simply said, I couldn’t put this book down. I didn’t want the story to end. I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters, for they are now my friends.  Cover: Love it Title: Love it Publisher: Thomas Nelson Pages: 342 Pace: Steady First Lines: Bright red and orange explosions lit the dark, deep-winter evening. Gisela Cramer hugged herself to ward off the bitter chill. Her warm breath frosted the windowpane and with her fingernail she shaved a peephole. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy from BookLook. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
If history books were written like Liz Tolsma's stories, I'd have changed my major in college. Okay, that's probably not true because I was born to be a writer, but I want you to know just how amazing Tolsma's tales of World War II are. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author and an e-copy from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my review.) Daisies are Forever is the second of Tolsma's novels that tell the lesser known stories of World War II. The first, Snow on the Tulips, was set in The Netherlands. This one focuses on an American woman living in East Prussia who is forced to flee to Berlin, and a British soldier escaped from enemy captivity who pretends to be her husband. History, especially war history, is not something I'm generally eager to read about, but Tolsma takes readers to the depths of the characters' emotions. I felt the weight of the burdens Gisela carried as she fought for survival in a near-hopeless environment, and I gained a new appreciation for the immense suffering people all over the world felt during the long years of war. These are not necessarily feel-good stories, but they do offer hope in the darkest of circumstances. And a unique aspect of Tolsma's work is that her stories are based on ones that happened in her family. Through stories and pictures she's heard throughout her life, she is able to take us along on the kind of journey most of us will never have to face. This is World War II fiction at its finest.
CassWesselCW More than 1 year ago
Daisies are Forever -- An Unforgettable Tale from World War II by Liz Tolsma Thomas Nelson & Zondervan ©2014 Christine Cain “Daisies are Forever,” by Liz Tolsma weaves an unforgettable tale of love, faith, and loyalty against the backdrop of the final days of the Third Reich. From the first pages, she captures the reader with vivid writing that lodges pictures in the mind long after finishing the book. Leaving the goriest details to the imagination, Ms. Tolsma plunges us into the icy pathos of refugees fleeing the violence of war in mid-winter. Packed with plot twists and turns that keep ones fingers flipping pages to see how things will turn out, Gisela Cramer, Mitch Edwards and Gisela’s two small nieces win the reader’s heart while other characters pluck at the reader’s sympathy. In “Daisies are Forever”, Ms. Tolsma doubles the classic love triangle to build suspense, and in so doing, she maintains tension throughout, only punctuating it with the occasional comic relief that two doddery sisters provide. “Daisies are Forever,” is an unforgettable read through and through. Well researched and well written, I give it five stars and a thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
  A few years ago I had the distinct pleasure of reading Margot Benary Isbert's The Ark. This book, written in the 1950's, let me into the daily life of a German family post WWII. I fell in love with each character this, and wanted to go live on Rowan farm.  This engaging tale forced me to consider the lives of ordinary Germans when their country was torn up and their nationality marked them as the enemy.  Liz Tolsma's Daisies are Forever has a similar premise, drawing us into the lives of ordinary German citizens who must deal with the ravages of war in the nation and the resulting violence in the cities.  Gisela Cramer already fled once, leaving Berlin for East Prussia. Now she must leave her home with Opa and Cousin Ella, and bring her nieces Renate and Annalies to safety. In Gisela's mind, Berlin is safety. It's where she left Mutti and Vater, and it's where she wants to seek shelter. She doesn't know what's waiting for her- on the journey or in Berlin.  And it's beyond devastating.  The ever-growing band of refugees will travel by bicycle, truck and train and on foot across frozen bogs. There will be danger on all sides- death from exposure, difficulty from food shortages, and attacks by the Russians.  This story grows appropriately dark, as it contains images of the horror that history unfortunately records.  And this novel is inspired by history.  The personal accounts of Ruth Sabine Hildegard Lippert inspire the first half. The real-life counterpart of Gisela, this woman led a band of people away from the incoming Russians. Part two comes from the recollections of the author's own aunt, who really did experience the bombing and destruction unleashed on Berlin.  So be prepared to splice the two in your mind as you read: there is Gisela and her collection of desperate escapees, and there was real women who inspired her tale.  Thank you Litfuse for my review copy. I'll be adding this my shelf next to Snow on the Tulips. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daises are Forever is a suspenseful, fast-paced book set in Germany toward the end of World War II and tells the story of a small, eclectic group of refugees--an American woman of German descent, her two nieces, two senile elderly sisters, an escaped British POW, a one-armed German war hero, and a German woman who dreams of Hollywood--as they flee from the merciless, fast approaching Red Army. Despite the horror of what is happening around and to the main characters, Tolsma interjects hope, a little humor, and a sweet romance between Gisella (the American living in Germany with her grandfather) and Mitch (the British POW who must pretend to be Gisella’s husband) to make the book an enjoyable read. Highly recommended to fans of World War II stories. I received a free copy of this book from Harper Collins, but all of the opinions expressed here are my own.
FarFromCamelot More than 1 year ago
"Daisies are Forever" is a Christian historical novel which starts with action and is non stop from there.  The story of an American born woman living in Germany during WWII is one that is rarely told.  This is what intrigued me to review the book!  For anyone interested in this period of history, I recommend Liz Tolsma's series.  The "story behind the story" at the end of the book makes the wonderful anguish of the story that much better...but I will leave that up to you to find out! The book begins in Heiligenbeil in East Prussia in February 1945.  The Red Army is invading and civilians are racing to head west out of the area.  It is the dead of winter, rations are already low and the terror of the approaching Soviets is too much to bear. Gisela already once had to leave Berlin, away from her parents, to reach the safety of her grandfather's home in the country.  Now she has to leave again but with her cousin's young daughters and without her grandfather.  Overnight she becomes responsible for keeping the girls safe at her cousin's insistence. Overnight she must put herself and the girls in harm's way for over 333 miles to Berlin. We usually hear stories about the French fleeing from occupied France.  Their plight is known and reconstructed for history's sake.   Such is not the case for those Germans not willing to associate themselves with their Nazi counterparts.  Their struggle was just as difficult because the Russian's were no more a liberating army than the Nazi's were.  As Gisela states when learning of Hitler's death, "Under Stalin, nothing will change...The nightmare has only begun".  (p. 308) Along the way, Gisela meets up with people in the same situation as her and the girls.  Each has their own dream of peace and ambitions for the future.  But all want to survive.  They pitch together and take the same journey to Berlin.  Love blossoms, tough decisions are made and cruel fates are sealed.  In the end, all have their own moment with God which changes their hearts forever. The descriptions in the book are real.  Real pain and hardship of displacement.  Real terror and fear of the unknown next step to take.   Real life and death situations of a civilian during war time. I was a little disappointed with the characters of Kurt and Audra, two Germans Gisela befriends and lets continue the journey with her.  Their dialogue and reasons for their actions seemed very rushed and unrealistic.  However, a personal character tribulation was needed to divert from the overall trauma that the war brought.  The respite was needed because the action of the war never waned. I was immediately drawn into this story, having complete compassion for this woman just trying to survive with the weight of the world on her shoulders.  I suppose knowing she was born in America helped a lot!  It was difficult to listen to the other German's plights, knowing they were most likely involved with the Nazis at some point.  But an open mind can accept the "enemy" as civilians facing the same horrors as you.  Makes the world a whole lot clearer! Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for supplying a free copy of the above book.  Opinions stated in the review are my own.
britkirk More than 1 year ago
Daises are Forever Liz Tolsma Published by Thomas Nelson May 6, 2014 Back Cover Description: Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country. Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin. However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.” Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances. In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever. My Review: This novel is full of heart pounding and non-stop action from the very first page until the end. Liz Tolsma kept me guessing all the way through the novel. I never knew who would survive or who wouldn’t survive to the end of the novel. All you can do is hope and Liz Tolsma makes it very easy to hope and wish for happy endings for these characters. I also loved the background for the story at the end of the book, this was also very interesting. I really enjoyed this novel and if you history based stories you will definitely want to read this one! Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own Happy Reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daisies are Forever is a story of an American in Germany during World War II.  It is a story of survival, of a group of innocents trying to flee the Soviet occupation of Berlin in the final days of the war.  It is based on the lives of two women - Ruth Lippert, who led a group of ten people to safety; and Lillian Tolsma, who lived in Berlin during the Soviet occupation. The book really does read like two different stories.  The first half lacks passion, particularly in the dialogue.  The author does an excellent job of description, and the landscape that she paints leaps off the page into the reader's mind.  However, the character development in the beginning is weak, most particularly with Kurt and Audra.  Kurt's motives are not explained enough to make his story plausible, and his story's end seems rushed and too good to be true.  I wasn't able to connect with Gisela and Mitch, the two main characters, as they tried to flee the German countryside to the safety of Berlin. The second half of the book is a joy to read.  Small wonder, since it is based on the life of the author's grandmother.  The stories she must have told the author heavily influence this last half.  Here, we see characters finally spring to life with the zeal that was missing in the beginning.  We feel their fears, their determination, and their joy.  The love story becomes more believable.  And we get a very real sense of what it was like to live in Berlin just before and during the Soviet occupation in 1945. The second half of the book is worth the first half.  I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in civilian life during World War II. Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to put flesh and blood on history, read this book set in World War II Germany.  Horrors and longed-for comfort, courage amidst heart-wrenching cowardice, staying alive just to defy the enemy, living like animals just to survive, searching relentlessly for lost family members.  But in the midst of it all, love emerges ~ love for others who don't feel loved any more,  and love for a God they keep telling themselves has not forsaken them.  This is based on a true story as told to the author by a family member and a friend who lived through it.  And survived.  Let it all come alive for you.