Borrowed from my sister.
"As Nazi forces tighten the noose, American-born Loralei Kepler, daughter of a missionary family, flees Brussels ahead of the Blitzkrieg. But is anywhere safe from Adolf Hitler's evil grasp? Loralei's harrowing flight leads her into the arms of needy child refugees, who have sacrificed everything in exchange for their lives, and toward a mysterious figure, who closely guards an age-old secret."
I really enjoyed this work of historical fiction. It's written from a Christian perspective, but does not preach at all, and also introduces a mystical element that is unusual, in my experience, in Christian fiction.
The book opens and closes with the author, Bodie Thoene, writing in the first person as herself. She describes meeting Loralei and being entrusted with her personal diary of wartime experiences in the hope that she could help Loralei to have it published.
As Loralei's story unfolds, we experience a first hand account of the horror and desperation of ordinary people fleeing their homes as the bombs drop and the tanks roll in. The courage required to continue despite the physical deprivation and the devastating losses is monumental. It makes me wonder how I would find the strength to carry on, were I in a similar situation. The resilience and endurance shown by people the world over in times of war truly amazes me.
The Gathering Storm focuses on Loralei's work with men, women and children displaced by the war and needing refuge, and the descriptions of her work with the refugees is inspirational. There is also a romantic element to the story, which I don't want to give away here.
The Thoenes introduce a story from Jewish mysticism - The Thirty Six Righteous Ones. I had never heard of it, but found it intriguing. As for the end of the story...well in some ways it raises more questions than it answers.
I recommend giving this book a look if you like historical fiction set in World War II.