Reviews

Reviews

What readers have said about the book:

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This Faithful Book, Madzy Brender à Brandis’s war diary, so deftly edited by her daughter Marianne Brandis, is a remarkable and moving record of the life of a courageous wife and mother in rural Holland during the German occupation in World War II.  With her husband interned in a German POW camp, Madzy unflinchingly captures the sorrow and suffering, the hunger and sacrifice of those uncertain years.  The inner and outer life of a courageous woman meet in this powerful journal – a mesmerizing read.  As a scholar of women’s writing, I highly recommend it to those who care about women’s lives – and humane values.

The diary reminds me of Etty Hillesum’s classic World War II diary out of the Netherlands in its limning of a woman’s mind, though it does not end as tragically. Madzy’s diary is rural and middle class, and the flavour of her life under German occupation is vividly conveyed.  The travail of being deprived of your husband to a POW camp just days after giving birth is powerfully probed, and Madzy’s device of addressing the letter-journal to her husband as a device to reaffirm their bond adds to the diary’s fascination.  The importance of friends and neighbours, the relationship with her toddler daughter and her infant son, the outings on foot and by bicycle to get food, the hunger and the deprivation – all are vividly present.  The meaning of war for women comes through in a myriad of ways, making this a war diary to remember and to cherish.”

–Dr. Sandra Campbell, Pauline Jewett Institute, Carleton University, Ottawa (retired).

***

“This is a keeper of a book.  As both a writer and a keeper of diaries, I can recommend this potential award-winner for two reasons: the diarist and the translator-editor.

Marianne Brandis is the narrator and historian, the researcher and often the interpreter of her mother’s life.  She is also the daughter and a vital character, popping up surprisingly in the story, and, as editor, providing personal memories and asides.  The result is a fascinating, authentic, touching account of one woman’s life during one of the most stressful periods in 20th-century history.”

–Bettyjane Wylie, author of Reading Between the Lines: The Diaries of Women.