Monday 28 April 2014

Book Review: For Such a Time as This

Cover Art
ISBN # 9780764211607


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 Reflections: 

This is Kate Breslin's debut novel, but you would never know. The story is a hefty 421 pages, but again you would never know the way they fly by. I decided to review this book because of the intriguing way it is presented, it is a parallel of the biblical account of Esther. Though it is fictional and the biblical account is not told in chronological order, I was in love with the flow and intensity of the plot. This story is so well written and knit together that it is easy to loose your self within the pages of this tale. On all levels I give this story a five star rating, something I rarely do!

The story is set in Czechoslovak during WWII in a concentration camp. Our Heroine is Stella, a Jewish woman, who unbelievably is rescued from execution by Nazi soldier, Colonel Aric von Schmidt. Von Schmidt treats Stella with kindness, and gives her the necessities of life. This is one complex and dynamic character, Aric has the tremendous and hideous task of being the Kommandant of the Theresienstadt camp. I really wanted to dislike his character but oddly I didn't, the same was true for Stella, she felt she should dislike this man but somehow she couldn't bring herself to hate him..

Risking everything Stella takes great chances to try and help those she can, and in turn learns much about the human spirit, her faith, and the God she serves. What happens when she can't help herself?

I love that each chapter of this book is opened with a verse from the book of Esther, giving the reader an insight into where the story is paralleling. This book has so many twists and turns and is by no means predictable, something that I found quite surprising considering the fact that you think you should know how the story ends.

Breslin does not sugar coat this story and it contains some disturbing and gory details of events that took place in this very dark time of our history. This is a hard but exceptional story to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.

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

Kate Breslin

Kate Breslin

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...

Continue reading about Kate Breslin

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