Tracy Groot is wonderful at historical christian fiction. I've never read a WWII book from this point of view, but I really enjoyed it. It did, however, take me a few chapters to keep up with the character names.
C'est les horreurs de guerre. That's the horrors of war. I found many of the situations in this book quite convicting, and I am glad the author didn't water those situations down. When Tom asked Brigitte about the hardest part of the war and she said, "the hunger," it made emotion rise in my heart. She described it so well. We take so many things in life for granted. Many of us think having no extra money after we pay our bills is hardship...not! Anyway, I loved the heartfelt way the author penned this story and how she didn't soften the pain that the characters went through. I grew attached to a number of them and was sad when they were no longer part of the story. Even the hardest of hearts could be softened by the right situation.
The reason this book is making my favorite fiction list has to do with the fact that the novel made me think about my life and about what I would do in similar situations. Though the characters were brave because they fought for France, I could see the spiritual alignment to the many martyrs for the faith over the centuries. The love story was also quite beautiful. I loved how Brigitte was used to show Tom that there is still a person beneath one of the most offensive professions. I loved the change of perspective and thought about how hard times can bring out the best and worst in people. Ironically, the next book on my to-read list is a story of Rahab. Since this one was an "impressionistic retelling" I've been prepared for a wonderful experience, I'm sure. Again, loved this story! Very realistic and heart-wrenching. A must-read for 2012.
Cutting edge... Flame of Resistance moves fast, tears at the heart, cries for freedom, and yearns for hope.
Well-researched and accurate.
I read other books in this genre: Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, The Diary of Anne Frank, Schindler's List, The Hiding Place: The Story of Corrie ten Boom, and Bodie Thoene's Zion Coventant series, but this book made me cry as I thought of the characters in danger, tortured, and killed.
To summarize, Flame of Resistance is the story of Joshua and Rahab told during World War II. Their (Tom and Brigitte's) work together supports the secret mission/resistance and leads to D-Day June 6, 1944. Flame of Resistance is the story of survival.
Ms. Groot knits together words, dialogue, and themes seamlessly. Her writing helps the reader understand the history of the world in which one lives. On p. 123, referring to one of the characters reading Mein Kampf, Ms. Groot revels how when one sits down to read a book the reader makes a pact with author and latches onto ideas. This 'pact' explains how a civilization of people could get caught up in such evil/Nazism.
Ms. Grott's words speak to the heart. On p. 286, in a heartbreaking text, Ms. Groot writes a lovely prayer. The character is reminded Love your neighbor. Be kind. Be gentle. Help people. Be Christ as she records prisoner's testimony:
"Oh God, if I can do not more than witness the atrocities that I may testify one day, then make me strong; and if I can do more than witness, then give me a chance to help."
On p. 321, the communion imagery over Red Cross crackers stirred my heart.
"Communion, Community, Every plot of God, always about [His] people. a swell of love. felt caught in God's plot for humanity."
Flame of Resistance is not a quick read blending French and German phrases throughout. Again, it is well-written and not to be taken lightly.
The French underground is desperately preparing for the long hoped for invasion by the Allies in 1944. In the last months and weeks before D-Day, Flame - the local resistance cell - makes two new recruits: Brigitte Durand, a prostitute, and Tom Jaeger, an American pilot who looks like the Germany Hitler dreamed of. Together, this unlikely team are faced with gathering information right under the Nazi's noses, until the day when Flame begins to unravel around them and they are left running for their lives.
I loved this book. The characters are well drawn and grounded in reality. I found myself cheering for the moments when the world around them regained its stability, and grieving when their surroundings left them stumbling for the next step.
The apologetics of WWII have been studied to death, and the author does not suffer from the compulsion to re-argue them. Instead, she lets her story live in the moment. The people in this book are still living with the possible future of a Nazi run world, a world where they will forever be second class citizens and their lives are subject to caprice. They live with the numb familiarity of horror, and with horror at their own numbness. In the process of letting these characters writhe on the hook, the author quietly offers a chance for introspection at our own lethargy.
Combining the best of suspense with taut writing, Groot tells a tale of hope, courage, and forgiveness set against one of history's most crucial moments.