I’m delighted to welcome author friend Melanie Dobson for a few q&a’s about her latest release Memories of Glass and her publisher provided a giveaway as well!
about the author
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nineteen historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels, including Hidden Among the Stars, Catching the Wind, Chateau of Secrets, and Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor. Four of her novels have won Carol Awards, Catching the Wind won the Audie Award for inspirational fiction, and The Black Cloister won the Foreword magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.
Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes.
Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.
Visit her website!
How did you come across the true accounts that inspired Memories of Glass? Tell us about some of the research that went into writing this novel.
M: Several years ago a dear friend told me about thousands of Dutch mining tunnels in Maastricht that were used to hide people and artwork during World War II. As I researched those tunnels, I stumbled onto the incredible story about a network of seemingly ordinary people in Amsterdam who rescued more than six hundred children from a Nazi deportation center during the war. This amazing feat became the foundation for Memories of Glass.
During my months of research, I read countless interviews with men and women involved in the Dutch resistance and then spent a week in the Netherlands visiting all the major locations for my story, including the Amsterdam deportation center and the marlstone tunnels down south. When I boarded a bus to Kamp Westerbork, the elderly driver was so pleased to hear I was writing a novel about Holland’s Holocaust that he covered my fare. Across this beautiful country of windmills, canals, and fields of flowers, I discovered a number of gracious people like this gentleman who were eager to share what happened to their ancestors during the war.
B: What a fascinating research journey!
What is the inspiration for the title of your book, Memories of Glass?
M: In both the past and present stories, my characters wrestle with how to process the broken memories of loved ones who were stolen away from them, and one of my Dutch heroines collects antique glass bottles many years after the war to remember someone she lost. At the end of the story—well, I won’t tell you exactly what happens in the end, but after many years of brokenness, the shards of these memories are finally welded back together again.
B: Oh my heart, yes! I love this story!
What is your favorite thing about writing in the time-slip genre? What’s the most challenging aspect of it?
I love to research and learn stories from the past, especially stories about ordinary people who did extraordinary things to fight against evil. In time-slip fiction, I can write a past plot alongside a contemporary one to show the repercussions of an event that occurred long ago. I like peeling back the layers of a family secret to discover the reality of what really happened and how it continues to impact people today. The most challenging aspect of writing time-slip fiction is weaving together the past and present stories so readers will be engaged with the characters in both time periods.
B: Pretty sure I’m addicted to time-slip and I’m not even a little bit sorry!
What role does faith play in this story?
M: I really enjoyed writing about the journey of Landon West, my contemporary character who partners with Ugandans to provide both jobs and the good news about God’s redeeming love. The role of faith is integral in both the past and present stories as Josie, one of my past heroines, is motivated to help others because of God’s call on her life.
Also, this story shines a light on the persistent, nagging struggle of doubt and shame. Ava, my contemporary heroine, ultimately determines:
This burden of my memories, the extra weight of guilt, has almost crushed me. But long ago soldiers nailed up the burden of my sin on a cross, the depth of my shame, when they crucified Christ. Perhaps I can remember now without the weight of sorrow.
God gifts Ava with a beautiful memory as she begins to realize that what happened in the past wasn’t her fault. God doesn’t need to forgive her for this loss. She needs to forgive herself.
B: An important reminder for us all!
Memories of Glass, like other novels you’ve written, highlights the virtue of sacrificial love. How do you hope your readers will relate this to their daily lives?
M: The heart of this story is about two Dutch women who’ve been wounded by a broken friendship. When the Nazi occupation brings them back together, they must work closely together to rescue the Jewish children in their care.
My hope is that the friendship and sacrifice of these women will represent the thousands of Dutch men and women who gave their lives for people they loved and often for people they didn’t even know. Memories of Glass poured out of me as a reminder that in my own small world, my busyness, I often overlook opportunities to help others around me. I hope readers are inspired alongside me to be vigilant in sacrificially loving those whom God brings into our world as well as, like Landon in the story, be open to stepping outside our comfort zones to partner with people in need around the world.
B: Sacrificial love is one of my most beloved story themes! Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Melanie!
about the book
Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson
Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.
1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.
Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.
Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.
Melanie Dobson is a masterful storyteller. She weaves past and present, ordinary and extraordinary, love and loss, fears and faith in an intricate tapestry of experience and emotion. My words can’t even begin to scratch the surface of Dobson’s exquisite art.
The richness and depth of not only faith and emotion but also fascinating historical detail captivated my heart, mind, and spirit. The characters (and real people who inspired them) speak truth to us and our lives today. Despite their grave circumstances, these people made a difference in the lives of others by loving and acting sacrificially.
Memories of Glass tore my heart out, engaged my mind, and challenged my spirit in such a way that I am grateful for and changed by the experience. I highly recommend this book and I will definitely be purchasing a print copy for my all-time favorites shelf.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Thanks to the generosity of the author and publisher, one fortunate Faithfully Bookish reader friend will win a print copy of Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson!
US only | ends 10/14 | giveaway policy
Wasn’t it lovely to hear Melanie’s thoughts on this story?! Be sure to say hello in the comments!
Let me know if you’ll be adding Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson to your tbr!