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Natalie’s Pick of the Week: The Watchmaker’s Daughter by Larry Loftis

New York Times bestselling author and master of nonfiction spy thrillers Larry Loftis writes the first major biography of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker who saved the lives of hundreds of Jews during WWII—at the cost of losing her family and being sent to a concentration camp, only to survive, forgive her captors, and live the rest of her life as a Christian missionary. 

The watchmaker’s daughter : the true story of World War II heroine Corrie Ten Boom chronicles the remarkable and inspiring life story of Corrie ten Boom, whose family selflessly transformed their home into a hiding place to shelter Jews and refugees from the Nazis during Gestapo raids.

The ten Booms, who celebrated the 100-year anniversary of their Haarlem, Holland, watch shop, the Beje, lived a quiet life until 1940, when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands and Jewish citizens began to disappear. Casper ten Boom and his family were devout Christians. At the time of the invasion, Casper ten Boom lived above the watch shop with his wife Cor, daughters Betsie, Nollie and Corrie. Son Willem had entered the ministry, but youngest daughter Corrie apprenticed under her father and would step into the family business as a world-class watchmaker. However, with the Nazi occupation, the ten Boom family didn’t think twice about joining the Dutch Resistance. As devout Christians, they felt risking everything for the sake of what’s right was their only option. They built a secret room in their house to hide Jews and any refugees on the run from the Gestapo, who applied unrelenting pressure on Haarlem (10 miles west of Amsterdam), raiding homes to snatch Jews and Resistance members.

When Corrie and her family were arrested in the winter of 1944, they faced interrogation, beatings, and possible execution. Corrie and Betsie were eventually sent to the notorious Ravensbrück camp. In the face of the horrors around her, Corrie found solace in her faith, and she ministered to other prisoners, providing comfort and hope. Corrie miraculously survived her stay at Ravensbrück, though by the time she returned home, she had lost many loved ones, including her father and Betsie.

After her miraculous release, Corrie turned her loss into love by embracing forgiveness, even for those who betrayed her the most. Miraculously, she was able to eschew bitterness and embrace forgiveness as she ministered to people in need around the globe. She provided free housing for hundreds of survivors who had been wounded by war, physically or emotionally. For the rest of her life, she traveled the globe as an evangelist, sharing her story of faith, hope, and love.

A lesson in courage and forgiveness, The Watchmaker’s Daughter is destined to become a classic work of World War II nonfiction.

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