Heather Munn and Lydia Munn in their new book, "Defy The Night" Book Two in The Night series published by Kregel Publications takes us into the life of Magali: In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference.
From the back cover: If no one will do anything, she'll have to do it herself.
In 1941 France is still "free." But fifteen-year-old Magali is frustrated by the cruel irony of pretending life is normal when food is rationed, new clothes are a rarity, and most of her friends are refugees. And now the government is actually helping the Nazis. Someone has got to do something, but it seems like no one has the gutsâ€”until Paquerette arrives.
Smuggling refugee children is Paquerette's job. And she asks Magali to help.
Working with Paquerette is scary and exhausting, but Magali never doubts that it is the right thing to do. Until her brash actions put those she loves in danger.
Word association-what do you think of when I say "France"? Some might answer wine, grapes, cheese, Paris I am not so sure that many would answer heroism. German troops marched into France and occupied it until it could, finally, be Liberated, until then The Night had fallen. During that dark night there are many acts of heroism, some from The French Resistance, others from pockets of individuals who wanted to take a stand against the brutality. "Defy The Night" is based on actual events, Tanieux is based on the real town of Le Chambob-sur-Lignon and the Munns show us what God can do with people who will stand up and fight against the darkness that comes to overwhelm them. "How Huge The Night" is an absorbing book that will keep you up late at night as you quickly read to see what is going to happen next. Real history, real personal sacrifice and real suspense. I am so glad that the Munns are telling these kinds of stories as I for one was not aware of them and I am glad to know about these acts of true heroism. I recommend this book highly and look forward to their next book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
"Defy the Night" is a tale to make readers consider true courage and sacrifice. Heather Munn and Lydia Munn teach young adult readers valuable lessons through their teenage protagonist, Magali. The story takes place in 1940s France, when Hitler's regime is beginning to carry out their devastating plot against Jews. The setting provides a different perspective of World War II for both young adult and adult readers, and the Munns describe the political and social environment with clarity and realism. The pages capture what can only be small fraction of the desolation of the Jew interment camps in France, but the images are sad and emotionally stirring. The bravery of the female aid workers who entered the camps and transferred countless children to safety is remarkable and inspiring. Their story is one that deserves to be told.
After reading "Defy the Night," I am left with mixed feelings. The historical element is compelling, but Magali's perspective is sometimes distracting. Some of the conversation sounds too modern for a novel set in the 1940s. At the same time, young adult readers need to relate to Magali and a more modern tone may help to build a connection. Magali comes across as impulsive, bitter, and critical of her friends and family throughout much of the novel. These qualities are not condoned, and often cause trouble for Magali and the cause she is trying to support. Magali's character alternates between soft and hard. Just when she seems to be maturing, a thought or action mars the impression of growth. In the end, Magali learns an important lesson of sincere sacrifice and shows maturity.
The secondary characters clearly have their own stories to tell. Paquerette's perspective as an aid worker would make a powerful foundation for an adult novel. Nina is a background character in "Defy the Night," whose story is told in "How Huge the Night," I hope that the voices of Magali's other friends will find life in the pages of future books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Wow! Was I ever surprised. Defy the Night certainly did just that. The Munn ladies opened my eyes to the atrocities of war and the saving grace of kindness. The authors have taken real time events and towns, then carefully extracted the perfect balance of fact and fiction drawing us into a moving story of two women whose desire was to make "but a small difference."
Paquerette and fifteen-year-old Magali, make it their goal to save as many as they can. The selfless ambition proved successful as they risked their own lives, working under the cover of darkness, to rescue children from Nazi internment camps. Their work dangerous and grueling, but their successes triumphant.
This story is a must read if for nothing more than to remember those, who in real life, worked relentlessly to protect others from sure destruction. A well written story of strife, truth and decision, Defy the Night, hits the reader hard in the gut and makes them ask the question, "Could I have sacrificed so much for so little?"
Mark this down as a book to follow on heels of Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List for memorability. ~ Cindy Sproles, Exec. Editor, ChristianDevotions.us
No matter what age a reader is, unless quite young, this historical fiction is one to take time to read and be reminded of those courageous people who helped save lives. In this writing based on fact, one young women desires to help save lives as she views the work of another aid worker bringing in children from Nazi camps. The point I believe of the novel is how one French girl, Magali, has a distorted view of how she can be a Joan of Arc, looking evil in the face. However, she doesn't see how her impulsiveness places lives at great risk.
As readers progress through the novel, they will see how Magali realizes in time and through experience all she has yet to learn. Defy the Night is a heart-touching novel because the scenes were described so well it wasn't hard to imagine the harsh conditions the Jews were forced to endure. As a mother to read how other mothers willingly gave up their children so that they may have a better life pulled my heartstrings. Some of the refugees lost all family and were taken to homes where they were cared for to either stay permanently or until a person was willing to adopt them.
What I learned was how many aid societies were allowed early in the war to come into the camps and take the children to new locations. Later on in the war though this was no longer allowed and an underground system was being worked on in order to hopefully save lives that would otherwise face certain death. The path the workers had to take, the lack of good food, loss of sleep and the constant risk of danger took its toll on many courageous people.
The delicate balance between the impulsiveness of youth with the wisdom from older people is shown quite vividly in the book. I believe that balance to really exist, and how Magali submits to her parents even when it isn't her way is a great witness to youths even though it is very hard to do. I loved when Magali worked with one aid worker and this person took time to explain some things to Magali and others she knew they would have to be experience. The brokenness that comes from impulsiveness, causing someone else harm is evident in the book along with the restoration that brings hope anew.
This was an amazing and heart-wrenching story and yet totally beautiful! It is based on an historical town in France and the sacrificial efforts given toDefy the Night book cover save others - children being the focus of this novel. The characters are complex, most with back stories of pain and yet figuring out how to truly live during this war.
Magali is only 15 years old, but she has a burning desire to help. She is finally able to join Paquerette, her hero, in smuggling refugee children from internment camps. She finds the trips more difficult, exhausting, and dangerous than she could have imagined, but she longs to always be the one chosen to go. Her quick mind and determination are helpful, but she must learn that she can not save everyone. She must also let go of her pride and realize "that this is not a hero's business." However the lessons don't sink in until she puts Paquerette in danger.
"There's only one thing you can do, Magali. And that's go on. No one turns back time. No even God. You're not alone. You're only young. But I tell you true, when you get to my age, there's no one, not a one, who doesn't have one thing they'd cut off their hand not to have done. You lie awake at night and think about it. But it's done. The past doesn't change. You can pray that God makes good out of it. I believe he can. But even that_even that you may never know." [Magali's grandfather, pg. 297]
I highly recommend Defy the Night!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review.