Sunday, July 22, 2012

REVIEW: Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw

Title: Winter in Wartime
Author: Jan Terlouw
Genre: Young Adult, War
Format: Paperback, 220 pages
Published:  Published June 1st 2011 by Lemniscaat USA (first published 1972) 
1935954024 (ISBN13: 9781935954026)

About the Author:

Jan Terlouw was born in Kamperveen, Oversijssel. He was the eldest son in his family, he has two brothers and two sisters and grew up in the Veluwe. After high school, Terlouw studied at Utrecht University were he obtained an MSc degree in mathematics and physics and a PhD degree in nuclear physics. After graduating, he worked as a physics researcher in the Netherlands, the United States, and Sweden. After working for thirteen years, he became a politician, joining the Dutch House of Representatives(the lower house of the Dutch legislature) as a member of the Democraten 66 political party in 1967. Terlouw acted as party leader from 1973-1982. He was minister of Economic Affairs from 1981 to 1982 and Queen's Commissioner of Gelderland from 1991 to 1996, the year in which he retired. He joined the Dutch Senate in 1999.

Terlouw also wrote 24 children's books, most notably Winter in Wartime (Oorlogswinter, 1972) and How to Become King(Koning van Katoren, 1971), both of which won the Goudon Griffel and have been made into motion pictures directed by Martin Koolhoven.

Terlouw is married to Alexandra van Hulst and has four children.


This autobiographical novel provides a counterpoint to The Diary of Anne Frank, as another Dutch teen becomes an unwilling hero in the twilight of World War II.

Michiel feels resentment towards his father, a mayor, seemingly only interested in maintaining the status quo between the town and the German Army. He worships his uncle Ben, an adventurer in contact with the local resistance. During the winter, Michiel's loyalties are tested. When he discovers an injured pilot in the woods, Michiel must find a way to keep the wounded man alive, hidden from the increasingly desperate occupying force.

As Michiel mounts his own small resistance, he becomes aware of the currents of Resistance that are swirling through the town. A German soldier is killed and his death must be revenged so they take six townspeople, threatening to shoot them if the murderer does not surrender. They compromise and shoot only one--Michiel's father.

Winter in Wartime has been a Dutch classic since it was first published in 1972. Author Jan Terlouw's wartime experience provided the inspiration for the novel and the gritty reality of living under an occupying army is realistic without being graphic. The small insurrections are shown for the monumental acts of bravery they truly are and the defiance of a people who refuse to give up their humanity makes this story as timely today as it was then.

My Thoughts:

Winter in Wartime is a great book about the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Set during the days of World War II, Winter in Wartime (previously published in Dutch as Oorlogswinter in 1972) tells the story of 15-year-old Michiel van Beusekom.  After he discovers and helps an injured British soldier named Jack, Michiel found himself accidentally involved in the underground Dutch resistance. Winter in Wartime is a really fast and engaging read with hard to forget characters. The way Terlouw made the readers feel what it was like living in a Nazi occupied area was amazing. Terlouw has created a very well-detailed, well-plotted, and well-written book that makes it very hard for the children as well as adult to put this book down. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year! Winter in Wartime deserves its status as a Dutch classic. 

My Rating:

5 out of 5 stars
This book was so good I would buy it without looking at the price tag.


  1. Sweet review! I really enjoy a book based on the times of Nazis, but I've never heard of this one. Sounds like a super intense and vivid read! Just what I'm looking for! <3 Thanks for sharing!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  2. thanks for dropping by, Vivian! :) You should get this book, I'm sure your gonna love it :D

  3. Thought provoking post...

    I am now following your blog - can I get a follow back, please?


  4. thanks for dropping by, Amanda! :) I am now following your blog :D

  5. I absolutely loved The Book Thief and Winter in Wartime sounds like it would be perfect for me! Glad you enjoyed it, can't wait to read it myself :)

  6. I love war time stores and this one looks amazing. Definitely getting it ASAP. Great cover and the cover is just fantastic.