Title: For Such a Time
Author: Kate Breslin
Type/keywords: Fiction; WWII, Holocaust, Esther
Number of Pages: 432
My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars
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?
Where do I begin? I’m still whirling a bit from the ending. :)
This book is so full. I mean that – it is so full of so much. So much information, care, feelings, goings-on, etc. I know I couldn’t write a book like this. Mrs. Breslin has much God-give talent to be able to write this piece of art. I can hardly imagine all the information she had to research to put “For Such a Time” together, and she did marvelously.
I really liked that there were correlating verses from the book of Esther at the beginning of each chapter. The account of Biblical Esther was retold nicely in this book. The setting, though grief-some, was fitting. That being said, it was also very sad. I knew *about* the holocaust beforehand, but I didn’t really know it, if that makes sense. And it all made me so grieved. The realness of it is very heavy. It breaks my heart that concentration camps happened. And so many innocents were killed.
But again, Mrs. Breslin handles it really well, with great care giving us a glimpse into it all.
I was very impressed with this book. It was a little hard to get into at first, but once I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and certainly had a difficult time putting it down – especially at the end!
From the beginning to the end, I loved watching the characters deepen, grow, and sometimes all together change. The characters were really good ones and built up nicely.
I also liked watching Hadassah/Stella go through the spiritual change. It wasn’t loud or in your face, which I actually liked – it was entirely believable, which I so appreciated. It wasn’t necessarily big booming fire-works, her transition; it was quiet, and peaceful, and I related at many points. Another related-note is that I was glad that Hadassah/Stella opened up to the New Testament, and had that hope, as I know that most Jewish people did not read the NT.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t be specific: but there was a point at the end of the book that I thought I would actually really dislike this book. I wasn’t sure how I was going to write a review on it at that point, because even though (in my mind at that spot) the story up to that point was great, if that was the ending, I didn’t like it. But thankfully my mind was swiftly changed! I was pleased with the ending to be sure. Though including that one part and then changing, it did send you through quite an emotional roller-coaster. Maybe that is just me though – I do tend to get very…involved in the books I’m reading, especially when they are so well-written.
Also, you may not be able to understand this at the beginning of the book, but I loved Aric. I really did. Like, a lot. I have officially put him on my mental ‘favourite book guys’ that I would love to marry. ;)
Thank you SO much, Mrs. Breslin for giving me the chance to read your fantastic book! It was delightful to say the least.
I was sent a copy of this book free from the author for the purpose of this review.