Monday, April 28, 2014

For Such A Time, by Kate Breslin

From the publisher:

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

My review:

I really liked this book!! I enjoy long books if they're good ones, and this was a good one. It had a lot of twists and turns and suspense but was easy to follow. The only part that was challenging to follow was the SS this and SS that of various rankings when they were all having a conversation. I had to re-read those sections a few times to figure out who was talking.

This book was a retelling of the story of Esther set during WWII. I really like retellings of Bible stories. This one worked out, except for trying to make it Christian fiction. Since the author was staying true to Stella's Jewish faith, her awkward attempts at turning this into christian fiction were, well, awkward. If you are an avid historian, please keep in mind that this is fiction and not intended to be accurate in every part. While, in many ways, the author was true to history, she also takes some creative liberty when needed.

The characters were wonderful! You will fall in love with Stella's compassion and you will ache as you feel the weight of the baggage Aric carries. Some of the secondary characters will win your heart and others will evoke emotions of anger (exactly the intent).

There are just a couple of insignificant loose ends. They don't take away from the story, but rather lend an air of mystery that hangs around... however, my curiosity and need for closure wants all the little ends tied up!

This is the second WWII setting book that I've read this year and it has really increased an awareness in me of the horrors of the Holocaust. Being born in the late 80s, WWII always seemed so long ago to me until recently due to it being brought to my attention from these books that I've read. In reality, WWII wasn't that long ago and there are still people who lived through the horrific events that unfolded during the Holocaust. Reading the fictional depictions is heartbreaking, but to know that they mirror reality is awful. I appreciate this book for raising awareness and remembrance of those horrible events and the incredible strength and faith of people who endured that great trial.

Pros: Great story, interesting characters, couldn't put it down!
Cons: Difficult to separate SS rankings at times, awkward trying to make it Christian fiction, a couple of loose ends.
Summary: Buy this book and read it. You won't regret it!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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