I’m excited to be reviewing The Longing by Cornelia Warmenhoven as part of Tell Me Press’s “Reads for the Whole Family” Blog Tour! For more details about the Tell Me Press virtual tour hop on over to the JKSCommunications website.
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Author Cornelia Warmenhoven has led a storied life traveling the globe. As a young nurse in the Netherlands in the 1940s, Cornelia joined the Dutch Resistance against the Nazis. Soon after World War II ended, Cornelia married Henri Warmenhoven, a Dutch national who had grown up in Indonesia and who had been interned in a Japanese prison camp during the war. While Henri earned his degrees as a political scientist and lawyer, Cornelia lived with him and their son, George, in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Europe before the family settled for good in the United States.
Title: The Longing
Author: Cornelia Warmenhoven
Publisher: Tell Me Press
Released: January 2013
Synopsis:In the early 1900’s thousands of immigrants crossed under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty to find freedom and opportunity in America.
In The Longing, history and culture provide the backdrop as the Taten family makes the difficult decision to immigrate to the United States from Holland. Like immigrants the world over, the Tatens discover that the longing for the comfort, traditions, and familiarity of one’s homeland never ends.
It’s 1904, and Dora Taten wants to leave an untenable situation in the Netherlands to forge a new life in the United States. Not everyone in her newly blended and extended family—not even her husband, Paul—is convinced that this is a good idea. But enough members of this tightly knit Dutch family decide to take the risk and journey to America. They prepare as much as they can, but many surprises and challenges, good and bad, await them.
Part family saga, part-coming-of-age story—this richly textured novel is drawn from author Cornelia Warmenhoven’s life experience and is colored with language, details, and illustrations that give a snapshot of life in another country and in another time. Step back in time and enjoy a simply good story, well told. It will delight and warm the heart.
The synopsis hits the mark with the sentence: “Step back in time and enjoy a simply good story, well told.” The Longing truly is a good story.
I enjoyed the sporadic use of Dutch words (especially liefje) throughout the book. It was done in such a way that I didn’t need a translation to understand the meaning. It was interesting to watch each character adjust to life in America in his/her own way. Some adapted quickly and easily, others had trouble dealing with “the longing” for what they left behind. The characters were well developed, so even when I found the behavior of some irritating, I was able to understand the reasons behind their actions and feel sympathetic.
Warmenhoven does well portraying how heartwrenching the decision to emigrate can be. Reading about the communication between Holland and America was frustrating because it was so incredibly slow. The author helped me imagine what it was like to experience having family and friends who weren’t available instantly via email, Facebook, or Skype. “Many immigrants who have left loves ones behind never shake that feeling of longing.”
The descriptions of Dutch customs and clothing, life in the early 1900’s, and the Taten family’s travels are written with a style often reminiscent of the Little House on the Prairie books. The Longing is simply and beautifully presented; an enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.