Copyright © 2015 Thérèse van Houten


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About The Book


This historical narrative follows the lives of a young couple separated by the upheavals of World War II. In May 1940, Jan van Houten, a Dutch journalist working in London, joins the press office of the Dutch government now exiled in England. When bombing raids over London force his wife Marie and infant daughter to leave the city, the couple write daily. Jan’s letters vividly describe life during the Blitz, and the travails of a government-in-exile. Their correspondence resumes when, in September 1944, Jan is asked to organize press censorship in a recently liberated area of The Netherlands. Here he is eyewitness to historic events such as the aftermath of the allied forces’ failed attempt to secure a crucial bridge across the Rhine—a defeat that delays the country’s liberation by eight long months.

Written by Jan and Marie’s daughter Thérèse, Papa’s War, is based primarily on Jan’s letters backed by diaries, Marie’s letters, and historical research. It paints a compelling picture of life in wartime England and postwar Holland. 

​​From the London Blitz to the Liberation of Holland