The Occupied Garden

“It is astonishing that the human spirit is so resilient…” ~ Quill & Quire

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Fifteen years after its original release, my sister/co-author Tracy Kasaboski and I are delighted to present our very own new edition of The Occupied Garden: A Family Memoir of War-Torn Holland. The book was published to enormous critical acclaim in 2008, and we still hear from readers who are moved by this intimate account of an ordinary family living under occupation in WW2. The paperback is available now, and includes hand-drawn maps of the town where our family lived, and also maps of the characters’ journeys further afield. The e-book is also available and can be read on any device (smartphone, tablet or computer) with the free Kindle app.

Here’s a description of the story from the back jacket:

Set against the great tapestry of the Second World War, The Occupied Garden is the haunting and inspiring story of a young family’s struggle to survive the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Gerrit is a market gardener, and he and his wife Cor do their best to navigate the war years: a harrowing period of intimidation, disappearances, starvation and bombings. After liberation, the family immigrates to Canada, rarely speaking of the tumultuous years that changed their lives forever.

Long after Cor and Gerrit’s deaths, their granddaughters grew curious about those experiences, and using letters, photographs, documents and interviews, began to explore that fascinating and horrible time. The result is this book: a meticulously stitched tale, and an intimate re-telling of an ordinary family’s courage and resilience.

Here are a couple of excellent reviews that commend our ability to tell this story, and make us proud of our connection to the people who lived it:

“The authors interpret so harmoniously, are so guided by respect and common sense, that these reconstructed lives just hum with authenticity.” Read Ernest Hillen’s Globe and Mail review of The Occupied Garden here.

“This is intimate history: the writers recover not only the facts, but the tastes, smells, and lived experiences of events that today almost defy belief. … It is astonishing that the human spirit is so resilient.” Read Maureen Garvie’s Quill & Quire review of The Occupied Garden here.