A tale of survival, hope, and redemption
The Dekkers are a Dutch family transplanted from the Netherlands into the maturing culture of the Dutch East Indies, and the country transforms them – as they help influence the country. Pieter Dekker is a man of courage and influence in his career of Chief Commissioner of Police for Batavia (later, Jakarta), the headquarters of all 17,000 islands in the verdant Dutch-ruled nation.
His eldest daughter, Diny Dekker, a tenacious, optimistic girl, matures during a revolutionary time. Her coming-of-age blossoms during the Second World War while in the Netherlands. The War shatters the Dekker family, separating them, but their hearts and spirits remain united.
Diny faces the death of loved ones and places her trust in God. Her story weaves the narrative of a life no longer at peace, and she must decide whether to return to the Indies. Can she find the paradise she once experienced?
As much as the social atmosphere of the Dutch East Indies swirls and changes in Diny’s lifetime, so too do her own personal attitudes about life and love. As she traverses three continents, Diny’s faith, forgiveness, and desire for redemption will have the reader cheering for her each step of the way. This is the story of challenges and triumphs of a family traversing the 1930s and beyond, a tale of survival, hope, and redemption.
Caroline VanTongeren Mertens’ debut work is a new addition to the great historical memoir tradition along the lines of authors such as Georgia Hunter and her book, We Were the Lucky Ones; Corrie ten Boom, Lauren Hillenbrand, Annejet van der Zijl, and Michael Ondaatje.
“…a rich, lovely illustration of a journey of faith…”
“I could close my eyes and picture the images perfectly as though I had seen photographs. I was lost in the pages of this eloquently described world that Mertens has made come alive through her extraordinary talent! And I utterly fell in love with Diny, immediately connecting with her sweetness and tenacity, her spunk and strength.”
“A work of grace and beauty, In Those Other Lands will encourage, challenge, and touch your heart deeply. Mertens communicates what it looks like to wrestle with faith in hard times as well as mundane times through Diny’s story, showing us the ordinariness of that struggle as well as the quiet glory of God’s pursuit of us.”
“Diny’s faith is incredible! You won’t be the same after encountering this woman and her grace-filled story.”
“This book is not only a memoir spanning several lifetimes, but an excellent testimonial for faith in God and in perseverance against overwhelming odds in war, in various environments and in day to day life.”
–Harvey Stanbrough, professional novelist, short story writer, and poet