Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking up with her wealthy suitor. She has many questions that cannot seem to be answered by her mother or father, and instead seeks answers by contemplating her life and asking questions about faith with Derk Vander Veen. Derk is studying to be a minister and is excited to discuss faith with Anna while he works his summer job at the hotel. As Anna shares her story, Derk realizes she has similar probing questions that his neighbor, Geesje de Jonge, struggled with in her youth, questions he has gleaned from reading Geesje’s story that she is currently writing down for her town’s settlement anniversary. As both Anna and Geesje tell their stories, the similarities in their lives demonstrate that both ladies have had deep struggles with family and faith.
Lynn Austin usually writes novels that explore deep spiritual truths and considers hard questions and this novel is no exception. In her typical writing pattern, the story is told through the lens of two different women, both of who have similar struggles but are in very different situations and time periods. I thought the storyline was interesting and I appreciated the depth of the characters as well as the fascinating Dutch history. The romance is a little different than your typical boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love storyline, and I personally thought the ending left too much unfinished. Perhaps there will be a sequel to tie up lose ends! I recommend this novel to all lovers of historical fiction.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.