Remember the Lilies by Liz Tolzma

Title:  Remember the Lilies
Author:  Liz Tolsma
Pages:  373
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
This is a novel set during WWII in the Philippine Islands, specifically in Manila.  In 1941, the island has fallen to the Japanese and all the residents of the city have been confined on a former university’s small campus.  The campus is now a prison camp.  The two main characters are Rand Sterling and Irene Reynolds, and this is their fictional tale of a time of survival during captivity.
Rand Sterling lived a carefree life before the war.  He was the owner of two successful nightclubs, and he came from a wealthy family.  He drove a red convertible and enjoyed flirting with a different woman every evening at his nightclub.  Now that war has arrived, he is no longer in a position to control his life; the Japanese soldiers do that for him.  He wants nothing more than for the war to be over so he can get back to managing his nightclubs and has plans to expand his business by opening more nightclubs.  Then, he meets Irene and begins to seek her out as she is a calming influence on him.  He doesn’t share her faith, but over the course of time wants to share the rest of his life with her.  He longs to escape captivity and hates the Japanese soldiers and how they treat the captives.  Rand is given the opportunity to experience forgiveness, but can he extend the same to others? 
Irene Reynolds was orphaned at the age of thirteen and went to live with her missionary aunt.  Her Aunt Anita became both mother and father to her, teaching Irene about God.  They also experience the cruelty of their Japanese captors, but Aunt Anita shows her faith in God by finding some thing or some way that God has blessed her even in captivity.  Irene struggles with forgiveness toward her parents, who both abandoned her (although at a different age in her life).  There will be other people in the story who seek Irene’s forgiveness, but will she be able to give it?
I have read this author’s prior two novels and enjoyed them, but this one just didn’t fill the bill for me.  I found Rand rhymes to be annoying rather than silly or funny, and one of Irene’s British friends kept saying, “Bangers and mash” way too much.  I did really like the character of Aunt Anita and her example of living her faith every day was a great testimony.  She was an excellent teacher of faith to Irene and to all those with whom she came in contact.  I also liked Irene’s generous heart toward orphan children.  I plan to read the author’s next book when available and hope I can connect with it better.
My rating is 3 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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