Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

About the book:

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin
Bethany House

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:

For Such a Time is the debut novel of Kate Breslin and absolutely my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! A retelling of the story of Esther set against the backdrop of WWII and a German concentration camp, Breslin weaves a compelling, heart wrenching tale that had me turning pages late into the night.

Hadassah Benjamin, under the guise of Stella Muller, is rescued from a concentration camp by a high ranking SS official Colonel Aric von Schmidt. Stella soon finds herself working as Schmidt’s personal secretary at another concentration camp with the unique opportunity to save some of her people. Along the way Stella struggles with fear and self doubt while trying to save as many Jews as possible without giving away her deadly secret.

Stella was a very well developed character but it was Aric that really stood out to me. How difficult it must have been to write a hero that readers would love and be invested in when he is serving as a Kommandant in the vile SS. I thought Breslin did this wonderfully though. I really cared about Aric and understood his inner turmoil over his growing reservations and doubts as he came to know Stella and see the Holocaust through her eyes. The romance between Stella and Aric was well written also. This particular love story needed to be handled very carefully and I think the author did just that.

I will definitely be recommending this title and am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. 

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. ***


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