Genre: Upper YA historical fiction, Bildungsroman
Word count: 120,000
I noticed you’re interested in historical fiction, and hope you will consider And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away, an upper YA historical Bildungsroman set in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies between 1940-46.
Fourteen-year-old Jakob DeJonghe can think of nothing but revenge when the Nazis coerce his father into suicide and his little sister mysteriously disappears the day before Yom Kippur 1940. As the situation in occupied Amsterdam worsens, he becomes ever more determined to do something, anything, to fight back and be the master of his own destiny, just as his heroes the Maccabees did in ancient times.
In November 1942, he feels his chance has finally come. Knowing it’s now or never, Jakob jumps from a death train and severely breaks his foot. As he’s trying to run to safety, he’s found by four young resistance fighters and taken to a safe house to recover. Even though Jakob has been left with a permanent limp, he’s still determined to defend his country and track down the men who killed his father. The only person he has left to live for is himself, and the wall around his heart grows even thicker.
His dream comes true when he joins the resistance and later is recruited into the Princess Irene Brigade of the Dutch Free Forces. But he can’t stop thinking about Rachel Roggenfelder, a beautiful, spirited young woman he ran into on one of his missions, and he starts to feel the slow reawakening of emotions he thought he’d buried when he went on his quest for revenge. Jakob is even more surprised when they cross paths again a year and a half later. But will the new love in his heart be enough to sustain him during a tour of duty in the Dutch East Indies and life in a shell shocked postwar Amsterdam, while Rachel is an ocean away in America?
And Jakob Flew the Fiend Away is complete at 120,000 words. Though it works as a standalone, a companion volume about Jakob’s first year in America is planned.
I have a degree in history from [redacted], with one of my areas of focus being World War II and the Shoah. I also worked in the production room of a local newspaper for five years, writing, researching, and proofreading stories.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Jakob DeJonghe looked away from a German soldier as he and his mother Luisa headed home from the Waterlooplein market. Tomorrow, at Yom Kippur services, he planned to pray for these fiends to leave his country. Five months of occupation were about all he could take. But in the meantime, Luisa had promised to make a special dessert tonight. Her delicious food always made everything right.
“I can’t wait till our chocolate cake fills my stomach tonight!” Jakob declared as he shifted a heavy bag of groceries to his other arm. “I wish I were still as little as Emilia so I could lick the extra frosting and batter!”
He and Luisa abruptly halted when they heard unfamiliar voices coming from their home and saw the back door open. The only thing Jakob knew for sure was that these definitely weren’t the parents of his baby sister Emilia’s play date, dropping her home early. Then he heard his father Rudolf sobbing. As he drew closer, he saw his father sitting on the floor as three Nazis stood above him. Their hateful, steely little eyes were fixed only on Ruud, not on his wife and son.
“Here you go.” One of Them pushed a gun into Ruud’s hand. “Tell us again how much you hate us for conquering your pathetic little country. And then you’re going to kill yourself.”
“I’m only fifty-five years old! I’m not going to take my own life!”
“Well, would you rather we do it for you?”