©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Friday, April 18, 2014

For Such a Time

Kate Breslin is making a tremendous debut in the world of authorship with a compelling story that has the reader white knuckled all the way through. For Such a Time is a retelling of the story of Esther during a time just as devastating for the Jewish race--the holocaust in Germany during World War II.

Beginning in Dachau, the novel follows Stella from the firing squad to Theresienstadt to Lvov in the Ukraine, from captivity to freedom; but at the same time, it follows the Jews interred at Theresienstadt and their fight for freedom despite overwhelmingly horrid conditions.

Kate has done a masterful job melding these two historic events into one novel, from her play with names--Esther and Stella, Morty and Mordecai, Haman and Hermann, Artaxerxes and Aric, to delving into the unfortunate and uncanny similarities between these historic atrocities. While she played a bit with the actual dates and events, the seamlessness of the story makes a riveting read that is very hard to put down. Stella's soft heart contrasts with Hermann's lecherous evil. Morty's role as an elder among the Jews in the camp puts him in an untenable position of deciding who goes to Auschwitz and who stays. Aric's position as Kommandant of the camp is one he fell into, but he uses it to save just a couple of people who have been traumatized by the holocaust; he needs Stella's love to spark his heart back to life. There is one other major player in this: Joseph, the houseboy, ten years old, and able to pass messages between Morty and Stella without being caught. He's wildly protective of Stella and truly understands far more than it would seem possible for a boy of his young years.

I cannot recommend this book more highly. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a train ride to freedom.

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