Afterwards I Knew is a collection of 7 stories and 1
poem about World Wars I and II. The stories are fictitious, but
they portray accurate events and issues from the wars in Europe.
The tales are filled with grace and redemption, portraying the
power of the Gospel in difficult times and circumstances.
The first story, "The Hound of Heaven," presents a grandfather
putting his grandson to bed. He begins to relate the poem called "The
Hound of Heaven." The boy is bored with the poem and asks for a
story instead. The grandfather tells him that the poem is a story--his
story. He relates how he had wandered far from the teachings of
his mother and was a German soldier committing crimes against the
Russians. When he was separated from his unit and nearly frozen,
the care of an elderly Russian woman saved his life--both physically
In "The Child" we learn of two little girls, one Dutch and one
Jewish, who become fast friends at a very young age. By the time
they come of age, war has broken out in Germany and Holland. When
two young Jewish men come to hide in the village, the Dutch girl
falls in love with one of them, but he marries her friend. This
results in resentment and a broken friendship. Some years later,
she reminisces about her friend, who had moved away; she didn't
know where or if the friend had escaped the ravages of war. She
visits her friend's childhood home and finds a small child; the
boy says he is the son of her former friend, Maria. He is all alone,
so she takes him in and protects him from the Nazi soldiers who
are looking for him. After a few days, he disappears. Later, she
receives a postcard from her childhood friend, who is living in
Israel. She says the boy is fine. The Dutch girl's heart had been
healed by caring for the boy for those few days, and she had been
returned to faith through her trials.
"Feed My Sheep" tells the story of a pastor and his son. The pastor
agrees to harbor a Jew during WWII, even though the Jew is an atheist.
Eventually arrested along with others in the village who were harboring
Jews, and the Jews themselves, the pastor changes places with a
Jewish man who is going to be executed. He realizes that the man
needs another chance to answer the call of the Holy Spirit on his
"And Afterwards I Knew" is another version of an oft-repeated
legend from WWII--that of a tablecloth that brought together a
long-separated elderly couple who each thought the other was dead.
The story "Four Days in the Life of Albert Tenfold" is about a
young man under the rule of his widowed mother. He is plagued by
theological questions due to a deeply kept secret involving an
unwitting betrayal when he was a child during WWII. He encounters
a young woman in a church where they are both praying and hoping
to find answers. She has her own deep painful secrets. As they
share their stories of guilt, they discover the providence of God
and forgiveness. (This story deals with some mature and painful
"The Gift" tells the poignant story of a boy who worked with his
father for a man whose German Jewish wife had been unable to bear
children. One day a peddler comes to her house asking for food;
he tells her she will have a child in the spring. Indeed, a child
is born, and the young boy becomes a special friend to the tiny
girl. When she turns 5, he gives her a story Bible so that she
can learn about God. Later, though, peer pressure at school causes
him to betray his young charge. His guilt plagues him, but he has
an opportunity later to redeem himself. He and some of his friends
attempt to free the young girl's father and other hidden family
members who had been arrested by the Gestapo.
In "The End of a Thing" we experience a gamut of emotions with
Sanna, a young half-Jewish girl who has fabricated a story about
her mother dying before her birth to hide her pain. The friendship
of a young girl, Nelly, and her family leads to a series of events
that brings about a miraculous conclusion.
These stories are heartwarming and heartrending simultaneously.
Given the themes of the stories and the depth of emotion, they
are not written for young audiences, but teenagers and adults will
enjoy them and be challenged by the lessons they contain. I highly
recommend this book and any others that Ms. Farenhorst might write.
They are literary gems and filled with Truth.