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Author Laverne Van Ryk Deals with the Loss of Her Sense of Identity through Fiction

Indonesian-born Dutch woman pens a fictionalized account of her life in a land that used to be called ‘The Most Precious Jewel Of The Netherlands.’

Edmonton, Alberta CANADA – WEBWIRE

The novel is a young girl’s emotional reaction to political, cultural and religious differences – things she was too young to understand.

To Laverne Boulogne Van Ryk, the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), not Holland, was her ‘native land’. After all, she was born and raised in the Dutch colony by Dutch parents. It was also in that land where she experienced the harsh realities and suffering that characterized the Japanese occupation and the Indonesian revolution that soon followed.
In her historical fiction novel “A Garland of Emeralds: The Struggle for Possession of a Green String of Islands Flung across the Equator” (Xulon Press, 2012), Van Ryk shares to readers the details of her childhood in the former Dutch colony. The title of the book somewhat alludes to a famous Dutch writer’s designation ‘The Emerald Belt’ for the Dutch East Indies.
Van Ryk invites readers to explore her story – and her motherland’s history – through her main character Jasmine Carter, a daughter of Christian missionaries in Java, which followed the Muslim religion. Her best friend, a native girl named Sari, secretly took her to a secret meeting of men who plotted to overthrow the colonial rule and chase out all the white people like Jasmine and her family. The natives’ dislike for her people was new to Jasmine, who, despite that ugly fact, was determined to stay in her ‘native land’ for all her life.
Soon, life took an ugly turn for Jasmine and her family when the Japanese invaded Java and sent all white people to the concentration camps. After Japan’s surrender, they faced the rising tide of Indonesian nationalism, which served as the catalyst for the Dutch people’s repatriation to Holland. This sent the young Van Ryk into an identity crisis caused by the loss of her ‘native land.’
“A Garland of Emeralds” is part historical fiction and part memoir, a work inspired by historical events, which resonate with current developments in different parts of the world: war, nationalism, religious intolerance, and cultural conflict. The dominant themes in the novel are identity, family, freedom, friendship, race, and randomness of life.
“A Garland of Emeralds: The Struggle for Possession of a Green String of Islands Flung across the Equator” is available at Amazon. For more information about the book, visit
A Garland of Emeralds: The struggle for possession of a green string of islands flung across the equator
Written by Laverne Boulogne Van Ryk
Published by Xulon Press
Published date: 2012
Paperback price: $24.13

About the Author
Laverne Boulogne Van Ryk was born on Java. After the Japanese invasion in March 1942 she and her family spent three-and-a-half years in various concentration camps, separated from her father. The surrender of the Japanese in August 1945 was followed by an untidy peace. Reunited with her father, Laverne hoped to start her life again where she had left off, but the Dutch were in the middle of a violent Revolution for Independence. In May 1946 the whole family repatriated to Holland. After five years they moved to Canada where Laverne married and raised a family of her own. Laverne lives in Edmonton, Canada.

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 Sense of Identity
 Indonesian Dutch
 Struggle of possession
 Laverne Van Ryk
 A Garland of Emeralds

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