When Stefan meets Adri, it is love at first sight. It does, however, take some time before he recognizes his own feelings. He’s a married man—a family man—with a strong sense of responsibility. In Dutch society of 1935, sex between men over the age of twenty-one might be legal, but acceptance is still a long way off.
As a working-class man without a steady job, he doesn’t have the means to ignore society’s rules and create his own little paradise in which both he and his lover can be together, without his family having to suffer poverty and shame. Despite all this, the lovers find a way to carve out moments of intimacy and happiness.
Then the Germans march into Holland and nothing will ever be the same again. The occupation, which will last five long years, offers both danger and chances, but choices have to be made—choices of the head and choices of the heart.
Jakoba has had enough. It is 1999 and she looks back on her life that began at the start of the century. Her arrival was unexpected, but joyfully welcomed, by her middle-aged parents. In a time where a middle-class girls has one destiny, namely to become a wife and mother, Jakoba is allowed to start working at a bookshop. Books become one of the loves of her life. Later she will inherit the shop.
She values friendship, but romance has no meaning for her. She values her independence too much and knows all too well what price women pay for being married.
It is German army photographer Armin who will change the course of her life. Jakoba is forty when she meets him. Armin is almost thirty, and Germany has occupied Holland. It does not matter. For him, she’s the one, and despite her hesitation both because of the war and because she can’t understand what this handsome man sees in her—a plain woman—she has to admit her feelings for him.
Such love has consequences for both of them that will reach far beyond the war and in ways Jakoba could never have imagined.
In the Privacy of Their Home
Dylan’s life is regulated and precise, and as a gay man in the England of the 1960s it’s also necessarily secretive; the law regarding homosexuality may have changed, but unfortunately society’s attitudes are slow to catch up. Meeting Max – younger and less inhibited – is a shock to Dylan’s system; suddenly his world, which has been black and white, explodes into vivid colour. But loving Max is not without difficulty; Max is an artist, talented and ambitious, and there’s no way someone as ordinary as Dylan can hold on to him for long … or is there?
Steve Gavan and Daniël Borghart are professional soccer players for Kinbridge Town – and also secret lovers. All that changes, however, when Steve innocently wanders into a city park and falls victim to a vicious gang of queer-bashers who beat him within an inch of his life. After that there are no secrets any more – and it’s a very long road back, for both of them, from there…
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