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Islands of Deception: Lying with the Enemy

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Based on A True Story
Peril awaits siblings Hans and Esther Bernsteen
as the threat of a fascist Europe looms over
1939 Amsterdam. Hans tries desperately to
persuade his sister to flee Holland with him.
Esther believes that the Nazi buildup is an
illusion and tears up the priceless immigration
visa, setting the two of them onto divergent
paths. Hans sets out independently to becom
Paperback, 327 pages
Published January 15th 2018 by Waves Press
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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 ·  38 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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As I read this book, I was experiencing the cruel history through each character. Each person in the book lets the reader be in their place and make the harsh decisions that survival dictated. None of us would like to make the choices that the times required of them, but in this era life was not fair. In the beginning of the Third Reich, the cruel regime came to many doors uninvited and forced many people to choose humiliation, and subservience to be able to live another day. The Dutch girl, Est ...more
Phyllis Moss
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Constance Hood has taken her family history and turned it into a wonderful novel. Islands of Deception begins with a decision made by each of the characters that will have profound and lasting impact on their lives. The alternating narratives are presented against a detailed and well researched description of social and political events of the time. The use of actual quotes from newspapers and historical figures of the day gives an authenticity and poignancy to the personal predicaments that the ...more
Linda Romer
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviews
I loved Islands of Deception. This book is based on a true story. The Author put together a great read using Journals, letters and photos of war, love and adventure. The Authors father was an intelligence operative in World War ll. The story of Hans Bernsteen and his sister Esther Bernsteen was intriguing, heart breaking and mesmerizing. One of the best books I've read this year! Looking forward to reading more of this Authors work.

I give Islands of Deception 5 stars for its amazing read.
I would
Sondra Briggs
Read to cover to cover the day I got it. Amazing suspense about the events in the lives of these characters based on the author's relatives. It helped me grasp what people went through in those frightening times.
Fred Fanning
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
Interesting story about the second world war and how people's lives were impacted. The story revolves around a young man from Holland. His experiences make for a shocking story.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating intertwined stories of brother and sister from Amsterdam following very different paths as the Nazi plague dominated Europe. Fast-moving, lots of plot surprises. Evokes the aura of the 1940s, particularly in the narrative of the brother as an immigrant to America.
Chris Fredric
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's been a while since a book held my attention right from the first chapter. This one had me reading day and night just to finish it. It is set during WW2 and has many of the thematic elements typical of books that cover that period. However, it quickly becomes an engaging thriller with plot twists and many layers to hold the readers attention. In addition, I felt that many of the events that take the characters from their normal lives and quickly pull them into the chaos that became Europe du ...more
Rosemary Hayward
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story of a Dutch brother and sister, one of whom leaves for America before the German invasion of Holland and one of whom doesn't. Neither character is a great hero. Both end up doing what they have to do to survive. The story is based on the author's own family history but is definitely told as historical fiction, not memoir.
The brother is particularly well realized: a little odd, a little naive but at the same time clever and resourceful; a person of integrity who learns how to lie; a book
Carole Avila
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Islands of Deception: Lying With the Enemy is an enjoyably consuming novel which hooks the reader from the first sentence all the way to the last. I was often, and easily, brought to the edge of my seat.

Constance Hood delivers a powerful and riveting account of a young man in search of fulfilling his dreams, only to find himself immersed in a world of espionage and intrigue. Although the topic of World War II has been written about time and again, Hood proves her ability to create a savory orig
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The author received notes from her father about what he did in WWII, notes that had been classified until recently. With the help of other friends and relative she was able to piece together a story that had not been shared and fictionalized it in this book.

This is different than any other book that I have previously read about the Holocaust. The Bernstein family was an affluent, nominally Jewish family living in Amsterdam. The story centers around the two older children, Hans and Esther. At one
Constance Hood
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
A Jewish Dutchman leaves his native Holland in advance of Nazi occupation for the United States and is drawn into a world of wartime espionage.

Anxious about Germany’s increasing belligerence and the infiltration of Dutch Parliament by Nazis, Hans Bernsteen procures two visas—one for himself and one for his sister, Esther—to flee Holland for New York. Esther refuses to leave, though, optimistic that there is little to fear, and Hans leaves without her.

Author Ho
Gina Jaeger
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Islands of Deception brings to life Hans and Esther, Jewish siblings from Amsterdam, whose lives were torn apart by the Nazi Regime. The characters are based on the author’s father and aunt, and the tale the author weaves is engaging and thought-provoking. After fleeing Amsterdam to the US, Hans joined the US Army doing the type of intelligence work not widely known, but intriguing and so very important to the war effort. Esther, remaining in Amsterdam, makes unthinkable choices to save her own ...more
Bill Weeks
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read the entire book in less than three days. I saw it in my mind as a movie from beginning to end. What made it more enjoyable to me is that I knew that a lot of the "fiction" actually happened in real life. The choices we make in life can come back to bite you, and they sure did in this one. Rather than being a highly trained "James Bond", this was a spy who practically fell into what he did, with no particular training other than what he had acquired normally along the way. This cries out t ...more
Alison Carlson
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a FABULOUS book. The storyline is fascinating; I was immediately drawn in and could not put the book down. I am not the easiest reader to please; I am poised to be critical and skeptical. But this is not just another Holocaust book. Constance Hood has such a flair with language and such rich descriptions that the book deserves to be a best seller. Her style is natural with no literary gimmicks. It was like reading a John Steinbeck. I rate it five stars.
Joseph Saroufim
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love how this book tells a WWII story, an immigrant story, and a spy story - all in one - through a handful of compelling characters. I found myself learning so much about what it would have been like to live during that time, and saw a side of things I don't normally see. At the same time, I felt like I could really connect with the main character and his journey. An exciting page turner that would also make for a great film someday.
Patricia Gulley
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Two privileged siblings take different paths through the horror of WW2. The misunderstandings with language for Hans, though he spoke several languages, was interesting. Her survival of the camp and what she did afterwards seemed odd. Too many loose ends with the family and a very adrupt ending. Is there a sequel?
H Roodenrijs
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story. From my experiences living in Holland during WWII, the story is true to life. Not knowing much about the WWII experience in the Pacific theater, I appreciated the insights it gave about those operations. Characters are well developed and interesting. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to more from this author.
Ken Davis
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great read! The subject matter is not usually my cup of tea but Constance Hood is such a fine writer, I couldn’t put it down. In her sharp concise style, she doesn't waste the reader’s time and makes sure every word counts. The story is so good, Hollywood may come a callin’. Highly recommended.
Patricia Olney
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anyone with an interest in recent history and how the lives of displaced persons evolve to enable survival will find this book of great interest. Once I started reading, I could not stop and put it down. I finished it in one reading session. By the way, it also involves a surprising love story as a bonus.
patricia Olney
Thérèse Stover
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great read! I felt as if I were transported back in time with Hans and Esther ... the story filled my imagination with epic scenes of love, loss, adventure and fear. The story consumed me. Fabulous historical references. The scenes and characters were described with such detail and personality, I literally could not put the book down. I read it in three sittings. Great job Constance Hood!
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Multidimensional characters helped me to see many sides to the issues facing those who stayed and those who sought asylum abroad. I did want some historical notes at the end to verify what was accurate to history. Great read!
Carol Fogel
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Constance Hood weaves her father's papers, newly released WW II espionage documents, and her imagination into a novel of suspense and substance. A pleasure to read--while learning previously secret history. A fascinating 5-star read!
gj indieBRAG
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We are proud to announce that ISLANDS OF DECEPTION: Lying with the Enemy by Constance Hood is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money!
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