Like any stories set during WWII in the Nazi arena, this is a tension-filled, scary, conflictive tale of the Jewish people suffering at the hands of their German tormentors.
Aric von Schmidt is the SS Kommandant Colonel in charge of a detention center for Jews: Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. He is a formidable officer with much experience and many bravery awards for his service. On a visit to another camp, Dachau, he comes face-to-face with a young woman, Stella Muller, who is about to be shot to death, but he is so impressed with her determined and defiant look as she stares at her would-be killers, that he stops the shooting and instead, secrets her out of that camp and takes her to his own home, just outside of Theresienstadt.
Aric lives in a world of cruelty and subterfuge and is at risk for making this beautiful young woman his own personal secretary. As she is required to do the unthinkable, such as typing up lists of people in the camp who are bound for Auschwich and the gas chambers there, she attempts to persuade Aric (who has fallen in love with her) into a softening attitude towards these people. It only creates a lot of trouble for her and much suspense in the story.
For Such A Time is somewhat parallel to the story of Esther in the Bible, and many verses from that story are used as many events in this story go forward. Stellas uncle, who raised her from the age of five, is also in the camp. When she discovers this, there is much more suspense. It is a very exciting wartime novel with many surprises, clear to the very end. Do not read at bedtime!
For Such a Time is the retelling of the story of Esther set in WWII Czechoslovakia and is the author's debut novel. Hadassah Benjamin has been rescued from Daschau and given a new identity and a new name, Stella Muller, by SS Commandant Aric von Schmidt. She assumes the role as his secretary and is in a unique position to influence his actions at Theresiendstadt. Aric doesn't seem to share his countrymen's extreme views and throughout the story you see his conflict. He and Stella grow to love each other, which adds further conflict to the story as Stella struggles with being a Jew falling in love with the enemy, so to speak. You quickly find out that Stella's uncle is a prisoner at Theresiendstadt and he believes Stella will be the prisoners' salvation. At one point, both Aric and Stella are forced into a situation where they have to decide what is most important to them. Their lives, as well as many others, are put into danger as they decide to follow what they know is right.
There are a lot of twists and turns in the storyline which kept me turning the pages. I loved the way the author weaved the concepts of Esther's story into this story of salvation. I felt that the romance was forced and repetitive at times, yet that didn't keep me from wanting to know how it would all turn out. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.
I was given a copy of this book from the publisher and The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
For a debut book for Kate Breslin, this is incredible. It is one of the most thought-provoking, emotional and enjoyable books I have read in a while. It is an Esther retelling of Jewish handing in Czechoslovakia. There is romance, tears, suspense, anger and most of all faith. The book will take you on a ride you won't forget quickly. I can not wait to read any further items Kate writes.
I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is a clever novel. Breslin has taken the biblical story of Esther and generally recreated it in the Nazi era. I was impressed with the author's skill. It's a great plot and a clever parallel to Esther's story.
There is a heroine, Stella (Hadassah Benjamin), who is taken into the service of SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt. She will be his secretary but he also has eyes for her. He is in command of the transit camp Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. She is powerless to halt the transition of her own people - on the way to Auschwitz.
She has an uncle, Morty, who she is surprised to see in the camp. He encourages her to have as much redeeming influence on the Kommandant as possible. And there is even the disgusting Captain Hermann, a man filled with ate toward the Jews.
The way Breslin has crafted this novel is downright clever. On its own it is a great historical novel. She shares in the Author's Note that much of the setting and events of the novel are based on historical fact. The character development is superb. The plot is believable and progresses very well. There is lots of suspense and some romance too.
This is Breslin's debut novel. It is so good I'll be eagerly looking for her next one!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Kate Breslin in her new book "For Such A Time" published by Bethany House Publishers takes us into the life of Hadassah Benjamin.
From the back cover: 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?
I think one of the darkest times in the history of the world was during World War II. Not only was Hitler trying to take over the world but he was also trying to exterminate the Jews. And one of the ways he chose to handle the extermination was through the concentration camps. Now here comes Hadassah Benjamin who is saved from death because her papers say she is Stella Muller. Now she works for Aric von Schmidt who does not agree with the things that Hitler wants him to do. It all builds to the finale when there is a clash of wills and someone has to be the victor. Needless to say there is a great deal of suspense in this story and it builds and builds to an adrenaline rush. Ms. Breslin really knows how to tell a story. Hadassah and Aric are outstanding characters with strong personalities that live on the pages. And, yes, "For Such A Time" is also a retelling of the Biblical account of Queen Esther, though if you don't know that story don't worry it will not affect your reading pleasure. On top of all this there is also a romance. I really liked "For Such A Time" and I look forward to more stories from the very talented Ms. Breslin.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. 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."