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The Watchmaker’s Daughter

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As I travel the world, I love to visit locations that are especially noteworthy within the history of the Christian faith. These may be spots where great events unfolded or spots where great people once lived or labored. Sadly, it is rare that these locations are still in any way consecrated to the Lord and to the spread of the gospel. In many of these places, you’re more likely to hear about the sexual revolution than the Protestant Reformation and more likely to have a guide lead you toward atheism than Christianity. I once found a notable exception, though, in the Netherlands.

There are some stories that are just so good and some characters who have accomplished or endured such amazing experiences that it’s only right we learn about them. One such character is Corrie ten Boom. Her story is well known. But by way of reminder, here’s a miniature refresher:

Ten Boom was raised in a devout household by a father who had an especially great love for the Jewish people. When war came to Europe and Germany conquered the Netherlands, the ten Booms quickly began to shelter Jewish refugees and to become involved in the resistance movement. The family was eventually found out and sent first to prison and then to labor camps. Sadly, few of the family members would survive the experience. When Corrie was eventually released, she returned home without her beloved father and sister. She also returned home in a time of extreme deprivation as the nation was slowly starved. After the war finally came to a close, she lived out her life telling about her experience and serving the needy.

Ten Boom’s story has been told a number of times in a number of forms. Most recently, it has been told by Larry Loftis in The Watchmaker’s Daughter: The True Story of World War II Heroine Corrie ten Boom. Loftis is an accomplished writer whose preferred genre is nonfiction thrillers. He tells ten Boom’s story in that stylized form and it makes for an intriguing and fast-paced read. Before he set pen to paper, he did extensive research and includes information that, to my knowledge, has not been shared before and helps close out some open loops. He’s a talented writer and tells the story very well, though I might have preferred a bit more detail on her life after the war.

I mentioned earlier that in my travels I had found a notable exception to all the locations that now tell a story inconsistent with the Christian faith. But that was not the case at Corrie ten Boomhuis in Haarlem. When I visited that location and joined a public tour, the guide showed us around and told us the story of the place and its people. Then, best of all, he shared the gospel that was so important to the ten Boom family—he shared it and encouraged us to believe it. It was a sweet, encouraging, and appropriate moment.

The Watchmaker’s Daughter tells that story and tells it well. If you’re not familiar with Corrie ten Boom, you will appreciate it as an introduction to her life and influence. If you are already familiar with her, you will appreciate the book as a different telling that includes some new facts. Either way, you’ll find it well worth the read.

(As I was writing this review, I noticed that there is also a graphic novel adaption of her story that is releasing next week. It may be worth a look as well.)

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