For the last two weeks, I’ve been flitting around, reading 80 pages of one book here and 60 pages of another book here. At one point, I was in the middle of reading three books, but none of them gripped me.
And then, thanks to a recommendation, I picked up Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. I read it in four days and would have read it even faster if I hadn’t had so many work responsibilities for the end of the month. This book is good.
In 1939, Corrie Ten Boom is a 40 something year old single woman living with her elderly father and older sister who is also unmarried. The sisters also have another sister who is married with six kids and a brother who is married with four kids. Their lives are peaceful, serene, and comfortable. They convince themselves that Germany will leave their country, Holland, alone. They are wrong.
Soon, German takes over the country, and everything changes. Their former, idyllic life is just a distant memory.
The Ten Boom family is deeply religious. The morning and evening end around the dinner table with their father reading and discussing Bible passages. They decide if the chances presents itself, they will help their Jewish neighbors if they are able. Shortly thereafter, they help their Jewish neighbor, whose store has been vandalized by Nazis, escape and hide in the countryside.
Soon, their efforts grow. In and out of the house they shuffle desperate Jewish people to safe hiding spots. Though Corrie doesn’t realize it at first, she’s slowly become the center of the Dutch Resistance.
This story is fascinating on two levels. Reading of the Ten Boom’s efforts and disregard for their own safety to help their Jewish friends and neighbors and even people they don’t know is a fascinating enough, suspense-filled story on its own.
The second level of this story is the deep religious beliefs of the family. When the family is arrested, as the reader knows they will be eventually, one officer offers to let the patriarch of the Ten Boom family go if he promises not to help anyone else. Mr. Ten Boom says in reply, he’d help anyone who came to his door asking for help. He earlier had told a friend that he could think of no greater way to die than protecting another human being. Corrie and her sister, too, grow in faith during their years helping Jewish citizens and facing the consequences of their actions.
While this book can be difficult to read at times, it is, at it’s heart, an inspirational story.
5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.