Apr 28, 2014

Book Review: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

Back Cover: Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blonde 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: This novel gripped me in a way that I did not expect. I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling of the story of Esther - on of my favorite characters in the Bible. Often, retellings stay so close to the Biblical account that they are completely predictable, but this story kept me flipping pages. I feared for the characters. I had to know what was going to happen to them. The plight of the Jews during WWII has had a profound impact on my understanding of that war. I think Breslin did an excellent job showing what life was like for them and the difficult decisions that the leaders of the ghettos were forced to make. Honestly, I wish that the events in this novel were true, instead of fiction. I don't want to give away the end of the story, but I wish there had been an Aric von Schmidt leading a transit camp. This novel is powerful, and I am sure to be thinking about this book for a long time to come.

My Rating:

My Recommendation: I recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy stories set during WWII.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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