It’s the tulip bulbs I’ve never forgotten. Even as a child, learning that Audrey Hepburn had to eat tulip bulbs to survive during the war, it seemed both fantastic – in a bad way – and hard to believe. Just as I couldn’t really get my head round what Audrey was doing in the Netherlands.

If you read Tom Palmer’s new book Resist, you will find out, and it will probably leave you with tears in your eyes. Unlike many novels about the resistance in the war, in whatever country the story might be set, this one is a little more – dare I say it? – ordinary. Because it is based so much on what actually happened to Audrey and her family, rather than what an author has simply made up.

You meet Audrey – called Edda here, for her own safety – in her home village of Velp, near Arnhem, as she is setting out on helping the local resistance. It’s the kind of thing you need to keep secret, because the less anyone else knows, the safer you all are. Edda’s family have had bad things happen to them, and lying low is the way forward.

Covering the last two years of WWII, we learn much about ordinary Dutch people. Except, they are not ordinary; they are brave, albeit often in a quiet, life-saving way. I learned more about Arnhem, which to me was ‘just’ a place name connected with the war, in a bad way. And the tulips.

The same age as Anne Frank, we have to be grateful Audrey survived, if only just. It’s hard to believe that starvation can be so much more of a threat than being hit by bombs, say. And people fleeing their old homes has become much more of a current thing than we could ever have thought, until recently.

This is the latest of many thoughtful books from Tom Palmer about WWII and its effects. Its brevity adds to its seriousness. And the cover art from Tom Clohosy Cole is stunning.


5 responses to “Resist

  1. I’m not sure if replying to this will work, but, assuming God, the universe and other forces prevail, I am coming to Scotland on August 7 and staying until August 22, and am wondering whether you are interested in meeting, especially toward the last part of this period. That’s all I need to say/ask until I see if this is a way to send you a message.


  2. Receiving you loud and clear, Seana. Will email.

  3. Hi Bookwitch,

    I remember reading another book about the Dutch Resistance.

    It was called WHAT ABOUT ME.

    The Audrey Hepburn connection will draw so many parents and children in to read this book.

    And yet starvation is such an everyday threat.

    People under austerity having to spend thirty percent and more of their income on food, for instance.

    [And the Jack Monroe 10th anniversary post really turned my attention home].

    All these years and I had not read one Palmer!

    • I love Tom Palmer’s books, and I hope you read one at some point.
      Have also read another couple, at least, books about the Dutch resistance. Can really recommend Mal Peet’s Tamar.

  4. I would love to read this.

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