Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Review: Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander Donley

I haven't felt much in the mood for reading lately, so I'm ashamed to say I put off reading this book until the last minute.  And I'm sorry I did!  I was captivated from the first page.  World War II is my favorite historical period to read about.  I've read tons of books from different viewpoints, but this one was different in a few ways.  First, it is the first fictional account I've ever read that was centered in Holland.  Second, I knew that there were people during the war who hid priceless art, but I'd honestly never given them much thought.  I felt that these two aspects brought a new level of interest to the story.
Where Treasure Hides is first and foremost a love story.  Alison Schulyer and Ian Devlin met on a train platform in London in August, 1939.  Although they fell in love immediately, circumstances continually tore them apart.  Alison's family owned a prominent art gallery in Holland, and, although Ian was heir to a title and an estate, he was serving in the English army.  War loomed ahead of them, but Alison was afraid of loving him for another reason.  She believed she was cursed by a fate that would cause any man she loved to die.  But Ian wouldn't give up, and Alison was unable to deny her feelings for him for very long.
Although Alison and Ian's love story was the basis for this novel, it wasn't all mushy.  There was a lot of history included in it.  It moved fairly quickly, covering time from 1939-1945 in it's approximately 500 pages.  Ian was captured on the beaches of Dunkirk, and sent to a POW camp in Germany.  After attempting to escape, he was moved to another camp, where escape was considered impossible.  He remained there for two years.  Alison took comfort in the fact that he was safe from the fighting there. She didn't know that he eventually escaped, and while running across Germany toward freedom, he was asked by a dying woman to take care of her young daughter. Meanwhile, Alison and her family worked in Holland, first to hide treasures from the Nazi's, then to smuggle children out of Holland.  When they were caught, Alison escaped both the Gestapo, and the unwanted advances of Theodor, a German who intended to marry her to further the Aryan race.  She fled to safety in England, where she was reunited with Ian.  But Theodor wasn't finished yet.  He conceived a plan to get her back, and nearly destroyed her and Ian's love forever.
I enjoyed this book more than any I've read for a while.  While it is historical, it wasn't bogged down with dates and names of army officials or information about military movements.  (I like reading books like that, but I know that isn't everyone's cup of tea.)  Because of this the reading does go more smoothly and much faster.  And I always love a good love story! The way the book ended there could be a sequel.  At least I hope so because I definitely want to read it. 
Happy Reading!

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