A beautiful debut novel: My review of "For Such a Time" by Kate Breslin

Cover Art

about the book....

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?

my review....

"For Such a Time" is a beautifully written novel, a powerfully moving story that evoked deep emotion within me as I read of the plight of the Jewish people and Hadassah's struggle to survive. Hadassah won my heart from the first pages as I imagined her rescue from a concentration camp and her being thrust into the role of the savior of her people. Breslin has created a fascinating retelling of the story of Esther, placing it in a setting I've never considered before, one that had me celebrating Hadassah's triumphs while grieving the loss of lives that occurred at the same time. I have always been drawn to the events of World War II, as though they are difficult to read about, the backdrop of such events showcases people's courage all the more. There are parts of the story that border on being too incredible to even hint at being realistic, and yet the overall result provides for such an immensely satisfying story that I couldn't help enjoying those parts just the same. Breslin has done a great job at bringing history to life, exploring a unique "what if" scenario that will stay with me long past the end of the book. I am left with a new appreciation for God's faithfulness even in the midst of trials, and take this quote from one of the characters away with me: "A strong belief in God is like forging steel; it must be repeatedly tested in fire, then cooled in the waters of His mercy before becoming resilient enough to withstand evil". Such a truth is worth pondering in the difficult moments of life.

It is hard to believe that "For Such a Time" is a debut novel! I award this book a high recommendation and a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the author....

Kate Breslin

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. Author of several travel articles, award-winning poet, and RWA Golden Heart finalist, Kate now writes inspiring stories about the healing power of God's love. For Such a Time is her first book. She lives with her husband and cat in Seattle, WA. Learn more at www. katebreslin.com.