Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

For Such a Time
By Kate Breslin
Bethany House
April 1, 2014
ISBN: 978-0764211607
Print $14.99
E-book $9.99

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Buy the Book:

See  my interview with the Author HERE for more about this special book.

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?

About the author:
A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. Author of several travel articles, award-winning poet, and RWA Golden Heart finalist, Kate now writes inspiring stories about the healing power of God’s love. For Such a Time is her first book. She lives with her husband and cat in Seattle, WA. Learn more at www.katebreslin.com.

My review:
Breslin’s debut novel is a masterful tale of sacrifice during the depths of the age of despair near the end of World War II.

The characters come to terms with truth and lies, reality, choice, and monsters within and without as they struggle to survive in the moment and in the future. Rich in detail, readers who appreciate fiction of the era will be entranced. Readers who are perfunctory in fact will want to know that the author created a fictional best-case scenario out of tragedy.

Hadassah was raised by a loving uncle after being orphaned. When Hitler attempts to create his blond-haired, blue-eyed master race and exterminate everyone else, particularly Jewish people, Uncle Morty creates a false identity for Hadassah. Through an accident of paperwork, the young woman is still sent to a death camp but miraculously escapes murder at the hands of a newly-appointed German commandant whose conscience is hanging by a thread.

Together with commandant’s strange collection of a mute housekeeper and one-eared little houseboy they become a family of misfits who must rely on each other for survival in the midst of brutality.

Romance was a necessary part of the genre, and while lovely, it was less natural than the time span allowed for my taste, as well as the faith elements of Jews and Christians. Nevertheless, I loved the characters and their story told from multiple viewpoints left me breathless with anticipation on many moments. I applaud the excellent vocabulary. Those who love historical, suspenseful inspirational fiction will find much to love about For Such A Time. Kudos to the author.

Caution: there are portrayals of graphic cruelty and murder of characters of all ages. 

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