Title: A Picture of Hope
Author: Liz Tolsma
Series: Heroines of WWII
Major Themes: France, Down Syndrome, World War II
Synopsis: Nellie was determined to photograph the war at the front lines, but when she stumbled upon a special-needs child, she found herself in much deeper than she imagined she could be.
I have enjoyed every book I have read by Liz Tolsma. I think A Picture of Hope might be the fourth book of hers that I’ve read, and each one has been captivating. The others were historical fiction mysteries; this one is just historical fiction—but so good.
Nellie had been in London for most of World War II, photographing milk lines and other mundane things, and she desperately wanted to photograph the real action. General Eisenhower wouldn’t hear of women journalists being near the front lines, though. How could she get to where the action was happening?
Once she reached France, Nellie found herself involved in more than she ever imagined possible. After being rescued by resistance worker Jean-Paul, they stumbled upon a special-needs child hiding in the bushes. Very soon, Nellie knew she had to protect the girl, no matter what happened—and the Nazis were getting desperate, destroying everything possible before the Allies arrived. Underground tunnels, a mad dash across France; this story is full of exciting but plausible scenes as a group of people try desperately to stay one step ahead of the Nazis.
I could hardly put this exciting story down. As with most books about World War II, there are some horrific scenes in A Picture of Hope, but there is also, as the title suggests, hope, hope that love can prevail in the end. I loved seeing Down Syndrome children loved and cared for, and watching love grow between Nellie and Jean-Paul. The twisted minds of the Nazis, however, were something I am always horrified with in a story. This book is well-balanced between harsh reality and the hope that love brings. I liked that this book was set in Nazi-occupied France; there aren’t very many set there. This book is good enough and clean enough that I allowed my teenage son to read it.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: Chapter 2: description of dead soldiers floating in the water. Chapter 3: the stench of rotting flesh, a dead soldier in a vehicle, the word golly. Chapter 5: Nazis massacring a village of people. Chapter 13: golly. Chapter 33: description of a kiss. Chapter 34: two more kisses. Throughout book: more references to Nazi atrocities, as well as to a horrific memory from Nellie’s childhood.