Loyalty to family. Trusting instincts. The will to survive. These virtues are deeply embedded in a mature Dutch teenager, Annika Wolters. Her attributes prove useful as she navigates typical coming-of-age insecurities and a blossoming romance with a handsome lieutenant in 1939 Batavia, Java.
Nothing prepares her for the distress of Hitler’s attacks on European countries followed by Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, toppling her idyllic life in the Dutch East Indies colonial society and separating her from the man she loves. Uplifting events from a true story showcase how determination, nursing basics, and language skills keep a young woman and her mother alive in the worst Japanese internment camp in the Pacific. If you admire clever women and unfailing love in a tropical wartime setting, you will be captivated by Sapphire Promise.
1938 Batavia, Java. Threats of war brings them together. The Japanese invasion tears them apart. A true story of trust, hope, and enduring love.
I have always been a bit of a history buff and when you take that history and add to it a true life romance it’s an unbeatable combination. This book takes us on a journey through the eyes of Annika Wolters, with a view the pre-war island of Java and the life during and after WWII.
The book opens with the present and quickly reverts into the past with a scene that is part of the book later.
We first meet Annika as she is recovering from Mumps, not an auspicious beginning but also important as she first views Lieutenant Phillip Von Hoven from her bedroom window. To say she is immediately smitten is an understatement.
She has to wait to be introduced since she is under quarantine and she will finally have the opportunity after she dances at the celebration of her mother’s birthday. Her parents are hoping for a match between her cousin Emily and Phillip and have told her she should refrain from flirting. You have to know that’s not happening. She’s already decided he will be her husband not Emily’s.
Annika is a talented dancer and choreographed a number to perform at the celebration. Phillip couldn’t take his eyes off her as she danced and afterward they would dance the night away together. Although at this point Phillip doesn’t know her real age.
This is a favorite scene.
Luther came to the rescue. He approached, bearing a tray full of drinks, and stopped between them. “A cool refreshment, Meneer?”
“Thank you,” Phillip said, and lifted a Manhattan in a cocktail glass, garnished by the requisite Maraschino cherry. “And for the lady?”
Lady. He must assume her to be eighteen, the typical age of a graduate. “White wine, please.” Her hand brushed his wrist as she took the glass from him. Tingles shot up her arm. She sipped the cool, sweet Riesling, then placed her goblet on the little half-wall in front of the dining area. She drummed three fingers on her cheek. “About your offer to tutor me. I could use help in chemistry, physics, and calculus.”
He straightened his wide shoulders and threw her a mock salute. “I’ll do my best to convince your father I’m the recruit for the job. Wouldn’t want you to fail an exam if we can help it.”
Failing would never happen, an irrelevant detail. Pappie must agree, he simply must. She’d prove to Phillip she could be more than his student. “I’d be forever grateful,” she said quietly. For an instant, her world contained only the two of them, even while surrounded by family and friends. Ice clinked in cocktail glasses and laughter punctuated conversations.
Quick notes of a Samba rang out from the veranda. The trumpet player waved his hand to invite the dancers back to the floor. Phillip’s focus shifted to the musicians for a moment. “Ready to cut the rug?”
“I believe so,” she tried to sound non chalant, but grinned while he led her to the dance area. After a samba, they glided through a foxtrot, and then a wild sort of cake walk in a tapioca. After a fun mambo and a cha-cha, the guitar player strummed the first chords of a tango. Yes! Sparks shot through Annika’s body at the thought. Nothing could top the night like the most passionate and sensual dance partnered with Phillip. She stepped to a vase of flowers, broke the stem of a white chrysanthemum, and stuck it purposely behind her left ear to show she was not available.
Phillip led her to the edge of the marble area and stared straight into her eyes. Was this part of the Tango stance, or did he believe they belonged together? Annika kept her gaze locked on his, as the romantic dance required. They spun and dipped through the complicated steps. She arched her back and swished past him. No one else joined them on the floor, and Phillip utilized the entire area by swooping and twirling her. At the final chord, he dipped her low, her hair sweeping an inch from the floor. Annika’s chest heaved. She’d never danced romantically before.
His firm grip brought her upright. “My instructor from long ago lived for the tango,” he disclosed. Guests smiled and clapped from the edge of the dance area. Off to their left stood her frowning mother. Emily stood solemnly beside her.
Sally Brandle. Sapphire Promise: Based on the true story of loyalty, trust, and unfailing love (Kindle Locations 673-694). Copper Horse Publishing.
We follow these two through their courtship, with tours and dinners, to their engagement and marriage. Only to be separated by the war.
The invasion of the Japanese, the camps and the horrors that due to her nursing training is a bit more bearable for both herself and her mother. The hardships, family and longing for those who are off fighting the war or perhaps prisoners.
This book was as hopeful as it was heartrending. Truly a love story for all time.
5 Contented Purrs for Sally!
Dodging male offspring and her functionally adept engineer husband, Sally steals away to her office to free non-princess types residing in her brain. Her trusty Australian Shepherd rescue pup, Tallulah, gives her input as the adventures unfold.
Childhood in rural Michigan, family, friends, critters and travel stateside and abroad feed the speed of her fingers to the keys. When stalling occurs, she heads to Lance, her trusty steed stabled close to miles of wooded trails. Off they go for a head-clearing ride in fresh air, or a note session while the big gelding grazes.
Sally is a member of Romance Writers of America, Greater Seattle Romance Writers, Eastside Romance Writers and She Writes.
In 2014 she won the ECO Romantic Suspense category, and in 2015 finaled in Pages from The Heart, Hot Prospects and the Heart to Heart contests.
She invites you to sit back, get comfy and prepare to drop into her stories.