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The Occupied Garden: Recovering the Story of a Family in the Wartorn Netherlands
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The Occupied Garden: Recovering the Story of a Family in the Wartorn Netherlands

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  153 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
A moving, revealing memoir about a man and his young family during the Nazi occupation of Holland, as told by his granddaughters, one a beloved novelist.

At once a memoir and a social history of a time, The Occupied Garden is the story of a good but poor man, a market gardener, and his fiercely devout wife, raising their young family in Holland during the Nazi occupation. P
Kindle Edition
Published (first published March 18th 2008)
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I never fully realized what my parents meant when they said things like "finish the food on your plate" or "don't complain about what color your socks are, be glad you have them to wear" I always felt as though both my parents were a little dramatic when these kinds of phrases shot out of their mouths at us five children during our younger years. It wasn't until now that I can respect the things that my parents have said to me in my younger years. Both of my parents were born very shortly after
May 16, 2013 Thea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Occupied Garden was one book that I had a lot of trouble putting down. It was spellbinding, probably more so for me than many other readers. That is because the description of the family, their circumstances, their hardships and their enduring faith, could be the story of my parents in Apeldoorn.

The best thing about this story is that is placed, not in a vacuum, as a stand alone story, but in context of the history of the time and place during the years of 1938-1948 and touches on later year
Apr 17, 2010 Oana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable book, well-written with a good flow and excellent narrative style. Good look at how every day people survived the occupation, with especially interesting information on the Hunger Winter.

I had a hard time deciding whether to give it four or five stars; my biggest issue was that the authors invented dialogue and feelings (their grandparents did not keep diaries). The book could also have used a map for those of not familiar with much more than Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the Ne
Jul 16, 2010 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I am married to a Dutchman whose parents are holocaust survivors, it was interesting hearing what non Jewish families endured.
Tracy Morton
I have read a lot about ww2 and about the holocaust but this book offered a side of war that I hadn't yet experienced. The story follows a Christian family living on the Netherlands during German occupation. It was interesting to read about the war through their eyes. I was also proud to read about the Canadian heroism that help lead to the end of the war. Beautifully written and moving.
Feb 05, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a gem, particularly in the way it interweaves the present story with the past, and in showing the complexity of life at that time -- not easy for anyone, with heroes and villains strangely mingled at times. Definitely worth reading for anyone with an interest in this period.
Nov 23, 2010 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The story of a couple and their children surviving WWII and the occupation of Holland, written by two of the couple's granddaughters. Apparently the couple (Gert and Cor) rarely talked about the war and occupation after it was over, and it was only after their deaths that the two women started searching for their history.
It's an awe-inspiring story of simple survival, nothing extravagant, nothing complex, just simply surviving the horrors of the war and having your homeland t
Nov 08, 2012 Colin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very real account of wartime Netherlands - with moving descriptions of daily life under the Nazis and the struggle to eat and stay warm - together with tradegy and suffering. The book is interspered with vigettes about Queen Wilhemina and her daughters and their struggle to inspire a conquered country from abroad. Of course some of the royal family stayed in Ottawa during the war and the Dutch were liberated by the Canadian Forces, so it was natural after the war for many families to move to C ...more
Nov 10, 2011 Thalia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, war
Being half Dutch, I thought this would be both very interesting and enlightening. I think I can understand my Oma and Opa better now, and even my own mother. Though she was born after the war (her brothers before it) I can see how this would have affected her life. I am greatly impressed with the ablilty of the authors to create the story so well cosidering how much time had passed and that tmany "sources" had passed away. I can't fully imagine what these times were like and hope I never have to ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having Dutch grandparents who lived in Occupied Holland, I found this book really informative. My grandparents don't normally discuss their lives during that time, but I know it had and has an impact on everything they've done from 1945 on. This book has helped me to understand why they do the things they do. Why scrimping and saving is deeply ingrained in them despite their relative ease of life in Canada. I also understand their prejudices and their difficulty moving with the times.
Jul 10, 2010 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full discloser here, the author is a friend of mine so I might be a bit biased; but I would argue it's a remarkable book on many levels. It provides lots of historical detail on the Dutch involvement in the Second World War and also highlights the stories of author's family which provides the reader an example of how the war's atrocities impacted a family and the people around them. Wonderfully written and highly recommended.
Jun 09, 2010 Colleen rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent for me. I thought it was such a personal story of the Den Hartog family combined with the history of Holland during the war. It is well written. I thought it was interesting to put the comparison of the family of Queen Wilhemina's war experience with the experience of an "everyday" Holland family.
May 12, 2010 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had it's ups and downs for me. I'd really enjoy a page or two and get interested then too many facts/places would be mentioned and it felt too much like a history lesson.

I do think the book would have been better if there was a map.

It's a great story, just not on paper.
Feb 17, 2012 Mar rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm intrigued by the war in the Netherlands, but found this book didn't give the type of information I wanted. At times the information was sketchy or surmised and at other times the details would interest the den hartog family, but not necessarily the average reader.
Alisa Roukema
Dec 30, 2011 Alisa Roukema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written book which blends their family history with the events of that time. Especially recommended for those with a Dutch Reformed heritage. I kept thinking this could be my grandparents and it made me want to know more of their story.
Mar 28, 2011 Linds rated it really liked it
I just finished this. LOVED IT. I love reading about WW2. I didn't really know anything about the occupation in Holland, and I found this book IMMENSELY educating and entertaining. Lots of history I didn't know. :)
May 21, 2014 Honey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was written more like a memoir of these womens' parents. But it also paralleled Queen Wilhelmina's life and therefore was very much a lesson, albeit and interesting one, about Dutch history.
Apr 22, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story about one's family's experience living in Holland during WWII and how they were liberated and came to Canada. Great account.
Sep 23, 2012 Marian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marian by: on display at the library
A beautifully written memoir of life in WWII Netherlands from behind enemy lines and liberation.
C.j. Irwin
Dec 05, 2010 C.j. Irwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A glimps into World War Two. The den Hartog family facinate and inspire.
Jul 30, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My family heritage is also Dutch, so it was especially touching to read this.
Sep 05, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So thankful that this book has been written! Thank you for telling the story!
Didn't finish this. Couldn't get into it.
Kate marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2016
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Milley rated it really liked it
Jun 16, 2016
Casper Oppenhuis de Jong
Casper Oppenhuis de Jong marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2016
Frouckje is currently reading it
Jun 08, 2016
Thereasa rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2016
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I’m Kristen den Hartog, the author of And Me Among Them, published in the U.S. as The Girl Giant. My earlier novels include Water Wings, The Perpetual Ending, and Origin of Haloes. My first non-fiction book, The Occupied Garden: A Family Memoir of War-torn Holland, was written with my sister, Tracy Kasaboski, and explores the life of our father’s family during the Second World War. I’m currently a ...more
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