Author: Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House April 1, 2014
Genre: Fiction, World War II, Holocaust
Rating: 5 Stars for Excellent
Source: Free copy from Bethany House in exchange for a review.
Link for more information at the publisher: For Such a Time. This page has a pdf for an excerpt.
Link at Amazon: For Such a Time. Paperback $10.84 and Kindle $9.99.
"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14b
February 1944. Hadassah Benjamin (known in the book as Stella Muller) is a prisoner in Dachau, Germany. She is a Jew, but with the Aryan look Nazi Germany idolizes. Her beauty is not faded by the torn and dirty clothing she wears, nor an emaciated body. SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt is captivated by her and rescues her from death by firing squad. He hides her in a chalet until they travel to Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia. Colonel Schmidt is the Kommandant of Theresienstadt. Hadassah's beloved uncle Morty is lost to her, she presumes he is in a death camp. She's given a privileged job as the Kommandant's secretary.
Meanwhile an attraction between Hadassah and Aric form. Feelings of attraction versus repulsion build.
"For Such a Time as This", is a well-known quote from the OT book of Esther.
At this time two Christian fiction books with a similar title are available. The other book is For Such a Time as This, and was published in 2012.
Several years ago I read the Bible study by Beth Moore: Esther, It's Tough Being a Woman.
In 2006, the movie One Night With the King, was produced.
The story of Esther is a popular and beloved theme. Esther is a heroine, a faithful woman to God and her people.
I loved this story and it was difficult to tear myself away from the pages. Even though I "knew" through the title and theme where the story-line was going, I was drawn-in to For Such a Time.
I believe it is highly improbable, that a Jewish girl during the Holocaust would be physically attracted to her Nazi German Kommandant. Improbable, but possible. I am glad the author brought in the conflicting feelings of Hadassah. Her feelings of desire versus repulsion. For a reader who is a survivor of the Holocaust, or a close relative of one, this story maybe repulsive to them. I will let this idea rest with them.
What I loved about this story.
1. Hadassah, or Stella, is a beautiful person inwardly which radiates to her outward appearance. People who meet her, even those with evil intentions, are drawn to her. She is tortured by the state of her people. She is tortured by being in a safe and advantageous situation. She is tortured by her feelings for the Kommandant.
These problems surmount to wondering if the impossible can ever be possible.
2. Author Kate Breslin, shows in vivid description the despairing situation of the Jews. The Holocaust is its own stand alone harrowing drama. The word alone reeks fear, suffering, pain, despair, death.
3. There is a secondary character which I believe would make a perfect main character in another story: Joseph. Joseph is a young boy. He is an admirable and brave person. I wanted to read more about him in this story, meaning I wanted to "hear" his voice, his feelings, his story. Plus, my first thought of the name Joseph is from the OT....and we know the story from Genesis, about the beloved son of Jacob, the boy who was sold by his brothers.