One of our sons turns ten in a few days, so that’s about how old our copy of Journey Through The Night by Anne De Vries is.
My husband bought it shortly after our first boy was born; he had such fond memories of reading it himself as a kid, and wanted to pass along this piece of our heritage when the time was right.
This work of historical fiction, commissioned by the Queen of Holland after World War 2, is now dog-eared and worn out in some places, but has proven to be a timeless classic that transcends age, gender, and time.
Originally published as a 4-volume bestseller, Journey Through The Night has been condensed into one book that is roughly 375 pages long, and has been reprinted more than thirty times.
Anne De Vries (male author, Dutch name) records the five years the Netherlands spent under Nazi occupation through the experience of a fictitious Christian family, the De Boers. The events and places in the story are real, and are not sugar-coated for younger readers, so I’d recommend Journey Through The Night for ages 9 and up, even older if they’re particularly sensitive to violence and suffering.
My favorite thing about this book is how Anne emphasized the preciousness of family and freedom, and though not overtly Christian, the reader is given many opportunities to ponder God’s sovereignty over the affairs of wicked men, and His fatherly love and care for His people.
Journey Through The Night is incredibly suspenseful, dotted with humor, and fraught with deep emotions. You are made to feel as if you are a member of the De Boer family, experiencing every day life tainted by the ugliness of war, and forced to make horrendous decisions in pursuit of what is right.
My late Opa and Oma were children growing up in the Netherlands during the war. It was too painful for my Oma to talk about, so this book has helped me gain a better understanding of what her life may have been like as a little girl.
I’d recommend Journey Through The Night to any World War 2 history buff, as a family read aloud to children ages 9 or older, or as a gift to young men. I would love to see this book turned into a movie one day.
You can find a copy of the book, here.