STRONG CURRENTS by Delores Topliff
SERIES: Columbia River Undercurrents #2
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Scrivenings Press
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2023
Is any price too great to pay for love and freedom?
When German Christian, Erika Hofer, opposes Hitler, church leader Dietrich Bonhoeffer helps her flee to her uncle John Hofer along the Columbia River in America’s Pacific Northwest. Erika finds acceptance and support but also suspicion, hatred, and an attempt on her life.
American pastor’s son, Josh Vengeance, joins the US Navy to serve his country, but is injured at Midway Island and invalided home. While healing in body and spirit, he joins a network of colorful individuals, including John Hofer and his niece, Erika, who defend their homeland as volunteers.
Can two wounded young people move past betrayal and disillusionment to find love and freedom during a world at war?
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When reading fiction set during World War 2, it’s tempting to assume that America was the safe haven amid the storms of international conflict. However, as Delores Topliff’s Columbia River Undercurrent series reveals, not all was quiet on the North American front. I found the history in Strong Currents (and its predecessor) to be fascinating on its own merit, and when you add the swoon factor of a romance too? Well, I’m here for it all!
Erika Hofer is a sweet young woman with great courage, fleeing Germany with the help of Bonhoeffer after her opposition of Hitler puts her in grave danger. I loved the addition of Bonhoeffer to this story and seeing him in hiding, even as he speaks wisdom over Erika’s life and asserts his resolve to follow the Lord and trust Him with his life. It gave me a new perspective on his life, made him feel like more of a real person than just an admired historical figure. Erika’s adventures don’t cease when she reaches America, though, and in fact are only just beginning. Between nursing a sulking soldier back to healing, her uncle John Hofer’s clandestine missions, and the anti-German sentiment she encounters, she has more on her plate than she bargained for.
Not the least of which is Josh Vengeance – the sulking soldier i mentioned above – a hero in his own right (though he doesn’t feel like one) and a young man that quickly becomes the hero of Erika’s heart. I enjoyed their back-and-forth dialogue as well as the tender affection and romantic passion that grows between them. Josh has a lot of healing to do, and not just the severe injuries he received at Midway Island. Erika is a part of that spiritual healing process, to be sure, but so are his own parents as well as Erika’s uncle John & his band of civilian heroes. By the way, John Hofer is a hoot. Such a quirky character, and his network of volunteers who defend America throughout the Pacific Northwest are also quite eclectic – but the importance of their missions are deadly serious. And we’re back to that intriguing history I talked about at the beginning of this review.
Bottom Line: In Strong Currents, Delores Topliff has once again brought to life a fascinating slice of little-known history. Compelling characters walk hand-in-hand with a plot that captures your imagination and makes you want to know all you can about what was going on in the Pacific Northwest during World War 2. I love books that entertain me as well as educate me, and this series fits the bill nicely!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Delores Topliff is from Washington State near the Columbia River where she wanted to operate a houseboat library for residents without books. That and entry of a Japanese submarine into the Columbia during WWII inspired Books Afloat. She divides her year between Twin Cities, Minnesota and Northeast Mississippi writing, speaking, and teaching online. She loves her grandchildren and travel. Find blogs, books, and more at delorestopliff.com and on Facebook at Delores Topliff Books.
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