For Such A Time
By Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House/Baker Publishing
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Genre: Christian Historical/Inspirational
Length: 430 Pages
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About the book:
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?
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.
Kate Breslin interview –
Based on the biblical story of Esther, For Such a Time by Kate Breslin, reminds us of God’s infinite wisdom and mercy and of our inability to love our fellow man like we love ourselves. While the story of Ms. Breslin’s “Stella” is a more contemporary adaptation of what took place in Esther’s life, setting the story in World War II, where the genocide of European Jews was a real possibility, is perfect timing. Ms. Breslin’s debut novel is both thought provoking and entertaining.
Taken from Dachau and placed in the “employ” of SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt, Hadassah Benjamin, or “Stella Muller” as she’s currently known, doesn’t quite know what to think. Spared from death, Stella is tired, hungry, confused about why she’s been “saved” and angry at the world for a war that has taken everyone and everything from her. Ms. Breslin does a good job developing Stella’s character from the start; she has hidden emotional strength, compassion and intelligence, three things she’ll need to survive.
Like Esther, whose beauty placed her in the king’s palace, Stella’s “beauty” is what sets her apart and has given her a second chance. Also like Esther, Stella finds herself in a relationship with a man who has the power to help her save people – as long as it doesn’t jeopardize his position during the war. Ms. Breslin reminds the reader of the connection between both Esther and Stella’s lives by starting each chapter with a biblical reference to Esther’s life.
While I was able to connect with Stella, I’ll admit I had a difficult time connecting with “Aric”. While I understand national pride and following in family footsteps, I will never understand someone who can go along with genocide and war. The secondary characters are fairly well written and contributed to the story. Ms. Breslin did a good job researching the time period and the plot was fairly well paced.
Overall I was pleased with how Ms. Breslin developed Stella’s story and with how she brought the story to its conclusion. Will Stella be forced to admit she’s a Jew? Do she and Eric have a future at the end of the war? You’ll have to read For Such a Time to find out. I enjoyed it and I think you will too.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns
* FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.