Book Review: Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin

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About the Book

Title: Chasing Shadows
Author: Lynn Austin
Publisher: Tyndale House
Genre: Historical Fiction | World War II
Release Date: June 8, 2021

Three women’s lives are instantly changed when the Nazis invade the neutral Netherlands, forcing each into a complicated dance of choice and consequence.

Lena is a wife and mother who farms alongside her husband in the tranquil countryside. Her faith has always been her compass, but can she remain steadfast when the questions grow increasingly complex and the answers could mean the difference between life and death?

Lena’s daughter Ans has recently moved to the bustling city of Leiden, filled with romantic notions of a new job and a young Dutch police officer. But when she is drawn into Resistance work, her idealism collides with the dangerous reality that comes with fighting the enemy.

Miriam is a young Jewish violinist who immigrated for the safety she thought Holland would offer. She finds love in her new country, but as her family settles in Leiden, the events that follow will test them in ways she could never have imagined.

The Nazi invasion propels these women onto paths that cross in unexpected, sometimes-heartbreaking ways. Yet the story that unfolds illuminates the surprising endurance of the human spirit and the power of faith and love to carry us through.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | BookBub


About the Author

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan. Visit her online at lynnaustin.org.

Connect with Lynn Austin: Facebook | Instagram | Bookbub | Goodreads | Twitter


My Review

Chasing Shadows
by Lynn Austin
Rating: 5/5+
Genre: World War II Fiction

Pardon me while I wipe the snot from my nose and the tears from my eyes. The last 25% of this book had me in tears every other page. The author graciously gave me an ARC and asked her readers to take their time reading the story she’d spent a year writing. I can usually read a book in a day or two but I did try to take my time. I got to reflect on what was happening in the story. This story needs to be read and is so timely as Memorial Day is this weekend. (edit: this review was written right before Memorial Day)

“God created Ans the way He did for a reason. He can use her strong will and independent spirit. Maybe this isn’t rebellion as much as it is the need to become herself.”

I love when stories intertwine – when an author masterfully weaves together different stories to produce a masterpiece. This story is a masterpiece about God’s faithfulness in the hardest circumstances. 

Ans is a young lady who dreams of life outside her small town family farm and her strict religious parents. She goes to the city of Leidan to find her destiny. When war breaks out, she must decide if she wants to be involved with the Resistance. She must find a way to face her fears and encourage those who have lost all hope.

Ans’ mother, Lena, can’t help questioning God about her eldest daughter’s need to leave. Her desire for control grates against her desire to trust her family to God. When Germany invades her neutral Netherlands, Lena can’t help but wonder how their lives could be so different from before the war? Building hiding places to store food and hide it from the Germans leads to hiding people. As their small farm becomes a refuge for those who need it, Lena must learn to trust God with her family and even the ability to put food on the table.

I loved how vulnerable Lena was. She’s such an authentic character with doubts and the desire to control but learns to trust in a way she’s never had to before.

“Music had the power to heal. Miriam had felt dead inside for so long, but music provided the bridge back to living.”

As a musician, I fully understand the power of music. I loved Miriam’s character. She had to live in fear for so long, but she still carved out a life for herself leaving room to fall in love and have a family. I cannot imagine the heartache she felt having to separate herself from her baby and her husband. She had to give up so much, but she did it because she wanted a future for her daughter. I cried when she wrote that note to her daughter and the woman who would be caring for her daughter.

“Don’t hate them,” Mama said as if reading Ans’s mind. “They’ll win if we hate them.”

One of my absolute favorite scenes is between Lena and a soldier. That one will stay with me for awhile. You’ll know it when you get to it.

I don’t think I’ve described how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. God’s presence and anointing is all over this story, so be prepared to be wrecked. I’m so grateful for this story (especially since I was unfamiliar with what happened in the Netherlands during WWII) and look forward to more heartfelt, well-researched stories from Lynn Austin.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction during World War II that hits you in the feels.

My thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.


Author Extras


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