When Stefan meets Adri, it is love at first sight. It does, however, take some time before he recognizes his own feelings. He’s a married man—a family man—with a strong sense of responsibility. In Dutch society of 1935, sex between men over the age of twenty-one might be legal, but acceptance is still a long way off.
As a working-class man without a steady job, he doesn’t have the means to ignore society’s rules and create his own little paradise in which both he and his lover can be together, without his family having to suffer poverty and shame. Despite all this, the lovers find a way to carve out moments of intimacy and happiness.
Then the Germans march into Holland and nothing will ever be the same again. The occupation, which will last five long years, offers both danger and chances, but choices have to be made—choices of the head and choices of the heart.
May 1, 2012
I really loved reading this book. As much as I love reading all things LGBT, I tend to have this skepticism towards historical books. The fact that from the blurb I knew Stefan was married didn’t help in the least.
The first chapter introduced Stefan as a family oriented man, devoted to his wife and kids and to be honest I was ready to judge the book without reading the rest because if he was so committed would did he cheat?
When Adri came into the picture, I could see that he was the opposite of Stefan and once again my skepticism resurfaced. I mean Adri was just 21yrs, to me he was a child who had no clue what he wanted, even worse they had very little In common.
I know that was a bit harsh and I’m ashamed to have judged him because Adri turned out to be a very complex person. On the surface, he seemed young and sort of jovial- he was more bubbly than Stefan. But despite his age, he had seen and experienced both the good and the bad, and despite that he didn’t change or conform to what would have been the better choice, he could have pretended to be straight or gone to a doctor to cure his ‘mental illness’ as was recommended by most people.
Another character who was just as complicated was Marije- Stefan’s wife. I spent the entire book trying to find out if he knew about Stefan and Adri’s relationship, but then again I knew it wouldn’t change anything even if she did. There were times her actions read as though she knew and supported their relationship, like the time she made them share a bed or the time she has Stefan bath Adri. But there were also times I was sure she had no clue, like her reasoning for the above actions.
I loved how the Author was true to the WW2 history and scenes, which is a funny thing to say as I know nothing about it and I really don’t want to know about it, I’m pretty sure if I do I’ll feel like crap afterward. The point is, despite my lack of knowledge on the subject, reading this book made everything seem authentic.
I’m definitely looking forward more books by this author.