Author: Kate Breslin
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Published Date: April 1st 2014
Genre: Christian fiction, Historical fiction, WWII
My Rating: ★ ★ ★
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?
“But her tears wouldn't come. And right now, more than anything, she wanted to bellow her rage like an irate newborn forced to leave its mother's womb, loud and lusty enough to echo downstairs. Let them hear the sound of her heart breaking.
But all she heard was the roaring in her ears, the rasping of her own breath.”
This is my second book by Breslin and I am so disappointed that she would go with a nazi romance. I feel like this story could have gone so many other ways, and would have been so much more enjoyable without the romance. I just didn't like it at all, and it made me uncomfortable, and not a good kind of uncomfortable or one that I'm just uncomfortable because I don't understand it, but one that made me feel sick to my stomach with how wrong it was.
Your probably wondering if it made me feel sick to my stomach, how can I still give it three star rating? Well that's because of Hadassah aka Stella our main character. Even though she was terrified of the Nazi commandant and was very confused with why he had taken her from the concentration camp to his home, she still put up a good front and was extremely brave. She questioned him at every opportunity at first and even took risks that would end her own life if anyone found out to save a few people in the camps.
We also have kind and caring Joseph a Jewish child who has been treated awful in the camps until the commandant saw him and then had him working in the house to protect him.
Then we have Helen who is the cook and isn't able to speak and we learn her story, and we see how protective she is of Joseph as well. It was just nice to see some good parts in this story.
This was similar to the Queen Esther story in the bible and it is a modern day re-telling of it in a way.
So your probably thinking that since its a Queen Esther story that the commandant is going to turn out to be good, and save everyone. Wrong, yes he does save some people at the risk of his own life, but he let so many others die for so long even though he knew it was wrong. He only started helping protect people once Hadassah was bring it to his attention and saying hey this isn't okay.
Overall was a disappointing read with a few bright spots that made me not completely hate it.