Tropenbruid – Susan Smit

I know that it sounds cliche to review this in English while the book is only available in Dutch language. Well, I hope it will be available in English soon. The title in English would be Tropical Bride. Anna Prinsenhoek is an orphan who lives in Amsterdam city. She lives at the shelter and she’s tired of following the strict rules. Susan Smit described the life at a shelter as a life full of misery, the girls living there are only good for doing physical works, and Anna is someone who loves to have adventure, not someone who would be willing to serve as maid. Hence, when she sees an advertisement on the newspaper about an officer living in Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) looking for a wife, she applies. She’s amazed that the man, Willem Francken, replies her mail and chooses her. Arrives in Batavia, she’s brought to Weltevreden (Central Jakata/Jakarta Pusat). Anna realises that her life changes. Willem Francken is a cold-hearted officer and Anna thinks that his previous wife is deceased as he has two young daughters, Minah and Lin and they have a governess, Mary, who takes care of them. When Anna talks to Minah and Lin, she finds out that their mother is still alive, but that she’s been banished. And she soon also finds out that her marriage to Willem is only a cover up for his dream job, and love affair. His previous wife was not his wife, but he’s slept with his njai (female servant, status higher than the rest of the servants as she controls the household). For the sake of his status, he banished Sri (the njai) but adopted/made their daughters his legitimate children. Willem banished Sri because she’s a njai, and not Dutch. Willem and Anna don’t sleep in the same bedroom. He only visits her when he wants to have sex with her, and she is not allowed to enter his bedroom if he doesn’t ask her to. She’s really leading a boring life at the moment as she doesn’t have to do anything to get it done. They have cook, maid, male servant, and a gardener, his daughters have their own governess who accompanies them. Although she and the governess can’t get along with each other, she manages to get along with the maid, who they call Baboe (baboe (pronunciation: baboo) is not a name, but literally means maid in Indonesian language). She asked Baboe where the njai lives. At first, Baboe hesitates to tell, but after her explanation, she finally tells her and she visits Sri, the njai, on the next day. Sri lives in a village, when she’s on her way, she gets help by a young man, as old as she is, named Regi. He leads her the way to where Sri lives. Anna promises her to bring her daughters with her the next time she visits her. There’s a moment when Regi and Anna fall in love with each other, but she soon finds…

Hannelore – Frank Krake

Zoals ik al vermeld heb in mijn vorige post is dit een heftig verhaal. Een zwaar boek, ook qua gewicht. Het heeft in totaal 480 pagina’s; 465 pagina’s het verhaal, en vanaf bladzijde 467 t/m 478 zijn de geraadpleegde bronnen en bladzijde 479 over een hulpvraag, en tenslotte pagina 480 is een blanke pagina. Hannelore is lid geweest van een sekte Gemeente Gods sinds zij nog 3 jaar oud was. De sekte is geleid door Sipke Vrieswijk en Aagje Folkerts, die zichzelf tot profeet en profetesse hebben genoemd. De helft van het verhaal speelt zich af binnen  de voormalige oud Katholieke klooster in Velddriel. De leden hebben veel geld ingestoken voor het klooster. Daar werden de leden gehersenspoeld door Sipke, die telkens Bijbelteksten gebruikte als wapen om zijn daden te rechtvaardigen. Sipke zorgde ervoor dat de gezinnen uit elkaar gingen; echtparen scheidden, kinderen scheidden van hun ouders. Read more