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 navigates 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 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, and Annejet van der Zijl.


“…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

“Diny’s was an adventurous life, spanning three continents, and, because my life has progressed along the same lines, I delighted in the detailed description of the customs, the animals and flowers, the sounds, sights and fragrances of the Indies, recognizing them and savoring the memories. For those readers who have not had the privilege to live in those other lands, this book will be an amazing discovery on a large scale of life in “the Indies” and the Netherlands as they were before, during and after World War Two.

In describing the life of Diny Dekker, the author has provided a historical overview of what happened to thousands of other people living in a beautiful island nation that became ravaged by war; people who were forced to move to a country foreign to them, a country where they were not welcome because it was recovering from a war of its own; people who then migrated to a new country with a different language and different customs; a country where they had the opportunity to start from the bottom up and rebuild their lives, providing a better future for their children and grandchildren. They were the pioneers, the heroes. Diny Dekker was one of them.”

Ronny Herman de Jong, Japanese concentration camp survivor during World War Two in the Pacific, and author of the books, In the Shadow of the Sun; Rising from the Shadow of the Sun: A Story of Love, Survival, and Joy; and Survivors of WWII in the Pacific.


Where to Buy the Book

Amazon Draft2Digital

445 pages – Language: English


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