For sixty years after World War II, death has haunted the entire Vanderveer family.
Death lives within the soul of Jakob Vanderveer, who vowed to be a silent keeper of secrets. He believed this would be a loving way of keeping his family safe. The shadow of Jakob’s missing four years, his adolescent survival of the horrors of Jappen kampen (Japanese concentration camps) hit his family with a terrible cost.
Then one day Jakob calls his now adult daughter, Luce Vanderveer Lewis. Her scientist-brother, Alby, has been hiding his ongoing drug addiction and has overdosed…again. With the openness of her father’s phone call, old yearnings pull at Luce…to learn about her father’s three and a half missing years in Japanese Concentration Camps.
As the family gathers with Alby’s doctor, Jakob is coaxed to reveal the past. With Alby’s recent near death, he can no longer profess that secret keeping created a healthy family. First Jakob speaks in his usual generalizations regarding the horrors of war and too many deaths. Slowly he touches on the day the Japanese declared all boys fourteen and younger were “men.” This day started the events that eventually left Jakob all alone among thousands of men.
With the telling of this story, a seemingly cast-iron wall begins to crack. Jakob’s real life account of what is behind his anxious and controlling ways leaves Luce shaken by greater understanding, love, and a new awareness of her own struggles—growing up across three continents.
Neither Luce nor her parents can ever return to their first homes or their lost childhoods. Yet, in Following Shadows, they find a journey of healing in which they discover that the past, rather than destroying, pulls everyone to the light of home.
Military fiction and nonfiction have always been my go-to read because the military runs strong in my family and my husband is a Marine, so I always am on the lookout for the next best military read. Sadly over the years, I have started to notice military fiction is not what it used to be and have been full of too many technical errors which makes the book unreadable for me. I admit that this is disappointing because it is my favorite genre and yet all the military books I seem to come across are inaccurate and full of silly action sequences. So! When I discovered Following Shadows by Janneke Jobsis Brown and read that it is a military fiction novel laced with coming of age/family themes I knew I had to read the book and get lost in its story.
Following Shadows can only be described as a poignant, exciting and captivating novel that will have readers turning the pages with haste into the early hours of the morning. As I began to read Following Shadows, I was instantly impressed by the fast-paced narrative and how quickly I found myself pulled into the novel and this is thanks to Brown’s ability to develop her plot and characters quickly so that the readers can become invested.
Following Shadows is a multi-layered novel with many themes however the core theme is family, and the reader will be introduced to the Vanderveer family. The protagonist of the novel is Jakob Vanderveer and him, as well as those that served before him, have seen so much death that it has left a part of death within his soul.
Jakob one day decides to call his daughter Luce and this conversation sparks the story for the excellent book. From this moment the reader will learn of Luce’s brother, Alby who is struggling with his ongoing battle with drug addiction. Jakob realizes that he needs to help Alby as well as be there more for Luce and this sparks the telling of his story about the three and a half years he spent in Japanese Concentration Camps. With the telling of his story, comes hope, love and a ‘new awareness’ and this book lovers is the premise of the sensational Following Shadows.
The story of Following Shadows l is an incredible one and will intrigue readers from the start. If you are a reader who adores historical fiction then you will love Following Shadows because the author correctly takes her readers back in time to WWII.
From the start of Following Shadows, the reader is immediately thrust into the thick of the story and left feeling as if their breath has been taken away by how fast the reader is pushed into the thick of the plot. I personally love this approach with a novel; what is the point in waiting for the story to fully start? None in my opinion so that is why I love how this excellent author decided to throw her readers into the story; it made for an exhilarating read, one that I would recommend to all of you lovely readers!
Not only is Janneke Jobsis Brown an outstanding writer for her ability to thrust her readers into the thick of the story, but she also is because she can describe all of the events that unravel perfectly. Every event and moment and even place is flawlessly described with a wealth of detail which in turn keeps the reader turning the pages while giving an accurate portrayal of what it was really like.
Overall Following Shadows is a gripping novel that is guaranteed to keep readers entertained for hours on end so I, of course, have to award the story five stars! Be sure to have a read of the preview below book lovers and also keep an eye out for my spotlight for the author which will be live soon!
Thank you so much for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much, I love discussing wonderful books with all of you so please comment below and let me know your thoughts on Following Shadows. Do you see yourself reading this book? Do you love the genre? Please let me know your brilliant thoughts below and I will be sure to comment back. Thank you so much again for reading!
Goodbye for now book lovers,
P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! Please have a read of the preview and if you find that you have loved what you have read then all you need to do is click the Buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to the book on Amazon U.S.! If you are in the U.K. then below I have attached a link to the book for Amazon U.K..
Below I have attached some links about the author and this wonderful book so if you would like to learn more about the author and the book then please have a browse. Thank you so much again for reading book lovers, I can’t wait to read your thoughts on this book!
Thank you so much again for reading!