Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Watchmaker's Daughter

The Watchmaker's Daughter by Larry Loftis
3/7/23; 384 pages

The Watchmaker's Daughter: The True Story of World War II Heroine Corrie ten Boom by Larry Loftis is a very highly recommended, moving biography of WWII Dutch resistance member Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983). Many will know her from her bestselling 1971 memoir, The Hiding Place. The Watchmaker's Daughter retells her story and expands on it with many photos, dairies, and letters from people involved.

Before WWII, Corrie worked in her father's shop in Haarlem repairing watches and went on to become a watchmaker herself. From her family she learned early on to rely on her Christian faith in all things and this was put to the test in WWII during the German invasion of the Netherlands. Corrie and her family became a part of the Dutch resistance and transformed their house into a hiding place straight into shelter for Jews and other refugees. This selfless behavior resulted in her and her family being turned in and Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbrück, a concentration camp, where Betsie died.

Corrie was eventually released and, even though she loss most of her family, her faith allowed her to forgive and to move on, providing witness about the Holocaust, and ministered to people in need. Corrie set up rehabilitation centers to support survivors along with others whose lives were effected by the occupation. She was honored as one of the "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Yad Vashem Authority in 1967.

The Watchmaker's Daughter is a very well-researched, well-written, and thorough portrait of a woman who was a hero. There is included at the end of the book a section called "The Rest of the Story,” which covers the accomplishments of those central to the overall Dutch World War II story and includes picture. There is also an Appendix on refugees who stayed with the ten Booms, Bibliography, Notes, and Index.

Even though I knew the story, I cried as I read The Watchmaker's Daughter and I was glued to the pages as I read Loftis' account of Corrie's life. This is a story of faith and courage, at a great cost, that needs to be brought to the attention of people again.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins via Edelweiss.

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