"Remember The Lilies" by Liz Tolsma is a story set in Santo Tomas, a prison camp in the Philippines during World War II. Many Americans find themselves in this Japanese prison camp, including Irene Reynolds, a woman who grew up with her missionary aunt int he jungle after her parents abandoned her, and Rand Sterling, a nightclub owner who dreams about returning to his easy pre-war life. Irene and Rand meet when Irene tries to deliver a confidential message to Rand just as he is attempting a dangerous escape from the camp. Plans foiled, Rand and Irene find themselves thrown together more and more, and an unlikely romance blooms.
I thought the characters in this story were sweet, and I liked their simple romance, which was a little complicated but not so complicated that it makes you cringe. I felt like I would have liked some of the characters to have a little more depth, particularly a couple of the secondary characters, but I thought they were all likable.
I thought the author did a fantastic job of weaving spiritual lessons into this story without it seeming unnatural. Maybe part of it was the setting of the book, because when put through such hard experiences, I think it is common for people to think more about spiritual things. I especially liked how she wove the gospel into this story. I think it takes skill to make a fictional conversion seem natural, and she did it well.
This story was a sweet romance, amidst conditions that were not ideal - sickness, starvation, and poor treatment by the Japanese in the prison camp. I have not researched prison camps during World War II, but the author seemed to have done her research thoroughly, and I thought this book gave a glimpse into what life must have been life for those who found themselves in one of these camps. Conditions continued to worsen throughout the story, and I thought the author ended the story very well.
Note: I received a copy of this book for free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
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