Author: Heather B. Moore
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: September 5, 2023
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Based on a true story, this gripping WWII novel captures the resilience, hope, and courage of a Dutch family who is separated during the war when the Japanese occupy the Dutch East Indies.
Java Island, 1941
Six-year-old Rita Vischer cowers in her family’s dug-out bomb shelter, listening to the sirens and waiting for a bomb to fall. Her charmed life on Java—living with other Dutch families—had always been peaceful, but when Holland declares war on Japan and the Japanese army invades Indonesia, Rita’s family is forced to relocate to a POW camp, and Rita must help care for her little brother, Georgie.
Mary Vischer is three months pregnant when she enters the Tjideng women’s camp with thousands of other women and children. Her husband, George, is somewhere on the Java Sea with the Dutch Navy, so she must care alone for her young children, Rita and Georgie, and her frail mother-in-law. The brutal conditions of the overcrowded camp make starvation, malaria, and dysentery a grim reality. Mary must do everything she can to keep her family alive.
George Vischer survives the bombing of his minesweeper but feels little hope floating on a small dinghy in the Java Sea. Reaching the northern tip of the Thousand Islands would be a miracle. Focusing on of the love of his life, Mary, and his two children, he battles against the sea and merciless sun. He’ll do whatever it takes to close the divide between him and his family, even if it means risking being captured by the Japanese.
Under the Java Moon highlights a little-known part of WWII history and the impact of war on Indonesia, its people, and the more than 100,000 Dutch men, women, and children who were funneled into prison camps and faced with the ultimate fight for survival.
Reviewer: Billi Varela
Under the Java Moon was not what I was expecting. I do not know what I was expecting, but this was not it. It took me by surprise, but I found myself not wanting to put this book down. It was so depressing and saddening to see what happened to those people. And it made me stop and think about what actually happened to the other people who got put into different camps.
In Under the Java Moon, we see what the Vischer family went through. How they got separated from their father and ended up in camps. Honestly, the brutality of it all was just too much. I am sure that it was far worse than the author described it as, but just reading a glimpse of what it might have been like really brought me to tears. There were also times where I just found myself yelling at some of the evil characters in this book.
I like how the author wrote everything. This was not an easy read, but she wrote it so well. I have not read any books from her, but I would totally read more. Even though this was a sad book, her writing style is so good.
I requested and received a complimentary copy of this book from Shadow Mountain through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Diana Varela
This was a very tough book to read. I thought reading The Hiding Place was tough. This book is just as hard. I am not a fan of reading all this history because it is sad. I just don’t understand how people can do this to other people. It really is a fallen world.
Heather B. Moore does such a good job of really encapsulating it all. It was hard to read, but I like that Heather B. Moore doesn’t make it as gory. However, this book is not for the faint of heart. So, I recommend it to an older, mature audience who can read and see what lengths humans have gone to and crossed just to gain power. This book made me feel a bit sick to see these people getting mistreated and treated "worse" than animals. Also, I recommend this book to history lovers.
I received an ebook from Shadow Mountain through Interviews & Reviews. A favorable review was not required. Opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
I have read a lot of books about WWII, but this story gave me new insight into a part of the world I knew little about: Indonesia and the Dutch who lived there. Truly, this was a war that affected the whole world.
The author took her research from many first-hand accounts of the brave souls who endured the occupation by the Japanese. Every chapter starts with a quote from a survivor, and then the fictional story commences. A heart-rending compilation of the deprivations and harsh treatment suffered by Dutch citizens who were forced into camps by their captors. It reminded me of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
At times, it was almost unbearable to read, but the resiliency of the Vischer family was something to behold. There is an afterword by the real Rita Vischer that says that she never spoke of her time in the camps but made the decision to collaborate on this book. She explains that everyone experiences difficult times and that "happiness comes from within... that God is real, and I have learned to put my trust in Him."
It is a difficult but essential book to read. I could not put it down, and I finished it in one day.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Shadow Mountain Publishing through Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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