“There’s nothing new under the sun,” King Solomon wisely wrote in Ecclesiastes. Yet we’re shocked when unpredicted events occur that rattle our world. Who would have thought a year ago that colorful masks would cover half of our faces? Who could have predicted that the first twenty minutes of the nightly news would feature snaking lines of cars carrying people waiting to get the coveted vaccines? Things happen. We have just been very lucky, and we became complacent.
In A Song for Her Enemies, that same complacency rang true for the people of Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1943. Sure, Nazi soldiers stood on corners, but they didn’t cause any trouble as long as the townsfolks minded their own business and didn’t incite trouble. Indeed, Tamar Kaplan’s father always mentioned that Germany had protected its smaller neighbor during the Great War, so it would do the same for this one. Furthermore, the Nazis certainly wouldn’t be interested in the tiny town of Haarlem.
Wrong. Just as quickly as America’s normal February with its Academy Awards, NCAA basketball tournaments, and plethora of political ads turned to chaos in the next month, putting a new spin on the phrase, “March Madness,” so Tamar Kaplan’s Haarlem turned upside down in a moment.
It started with the closing of the opera. Just as Margot, the head soprano, was threatening to quit because the dust in the theatre was wreaking havoc with her voice, Nazi soldiers marched in, proclaiming that the opera was considered a ‘group’ and could no longer continue to operate. Tamar, as Margot’s understudy, went from finally getting her chance to sing Violetta that night to a packed house, to being unemployed and unemployable, since she was a Jew.
Like dominoes, one freedom after another was ripped away, and Tamar’s neighborhood became a ghetto. In the same way, in a matter of weeks American children could no longer go to school, get together with their friends, or plays sports. Theaters, malls, churches, arenas, and restaurants closed. People lost jobs and couldn’t pay their bills, and worst of all, lives were lost.
When unpredicted events occur that rock our world, people react differently. Heroes were born as a result of the pandemic, as well as villains. Tamar went from being a naïve young woman, with a single ambition of becoming Haarlem’s head soprano to joining the Dutch Resistance and using her voice to bless refugees. Yet her voice became a curse.
In the same way, the pandemic has borne heroes in our own country—people who provide food for the hungry, medical personnel who put their lives on the line every time they go to work, teachers who have to teach online and face-to-face at the same time. I can’t imagine how they keep going. Unpredicted, catastrophic events are part of life, and we’ve just been fortunate that we haven’t had too many rock our world, like 2020. But it’s in the response to such events that we prove our mettle as Tamar Kaplan did in the tiny town of Haarlem in 1943.
Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. She loves the Netherlands, and she’s still learning Dutch, although she doesn’t need to since everyone seems to speak perfect English. A recent widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her lazy dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who can fix anything. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9
A Song for Her Enemies https://amzn.to/2YJBkRn
After Nazi soldiers close the opera and destroy Tamar Kaplan’s dream of becoming a professional singer, she joins the Dutch Resistance, her fair coloring concealing her Jewish heritage. Tamar partners with Dr. Daniel Feldman, and they risk their lives to help escaping refugees. When they are forced to flee themselves, violinist Neelie Visser takes them into hiding.
Tamar’s love for Daniel flowers in hardship, but she struggles with the paradox that a loving God would allow the atrocities around her. When Tamar resists the advances of a Third Reich officer, he exacts his revenge by betraying the secrets hidden behind the walls of Neelie’s house. From a prison hospital to a Nazi celebration to a concentration camp, will the three of them survive to tell the world the secrets behind barbed wire?
A Song for Her Enemies is the story of a talented young opera singer and the bittersweet love that grows amid the tyranny and fear of World War II. Set against the backdrop of neighbors willing to risk their lives in the German-occupied, war-torn Netherlands, A Song for Her Enemies is an inspiring and beautiful novel celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the determination of Christians in the face of persecution. It is a novel for everyone seeking to understand the pain of the past and be inspired to embrace hope for the future.