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For Such a Time

For Such a Time

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For Such a Time

Bewertungen:
4/5 (52 Bewertungen)
Länge:
505 Seiten
7 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Apr 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781441263469
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed 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 absolutely loved this book. For Such a Time kept me up at night, flipping the pages and holding my breath wanting to know what would happen next. Based on the Biblical book of Esther, the story takes the reader to a concentration camp inside World War II Czechoslovakia, where a young Jewish woman has captured the attention of the Kommandant and has the opportunity to save her people, much as Esther did in the Biblical account. The story is gripping, compelling, and I dare anyone to close the cover before the last suspenseful page."--#1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Debbie Macomber

"When I finished Kate Breslin's novel for the first time, I had an urge to flip back to page one and start reading all over again. It's that good. For Such a Time is an intimate portrait painted on a grand scale, bringing to life the drama and pain of suffering with the triumph and joy of freedom. This book deserves a wide audience, and newcomer Breslin has a bright future."--#1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs

"An engrossing and inspiring story from a talented new writer."--Bestselling Author, Sheila Roberts
Freigegeben:
Apr 1, 2014
ISBN:
9781441263469
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and Christy Award finalist and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com.


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  • Matching ivory pillows sprawled against a blue chenille coverlet, while beside the bed sat a mahogany nightstand; a lavish Girandole crystal lamp rested against its pol- ished surface, along with a small book and an exquisite clock of inlaid pearl.

  • Stella eyed the snowy linen tablecloth. Two complete settings of silver-rimmed china were placed at either end, while a milk-glass vase of holly, ripe with crimson berries, stood in the center.

  • To the west, the nebulous sky grew dark as the stacks of Dachau’s Krematorium belched gritty smoke against a colorless sun, permeating the air with a sickening-sweet odor.

  • His eyes narrowed on her. Stella’s panic exploded. “He wanted to . . . tried to . . . I wouldn’t let him . . .” She struggled against his grasp. “Please . . . not my fault . .

  • Stella leaned against the doorjamb and marveled at the profu- sion of ivory lace curtains draped across an elongated window above the single bed.

Buchvorschau

For Such a Time - Kate Breslin

Cover

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace. . . .

Esther 2:8

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1944

The stench was unmistakable.

Seeping through the walls of the two-story chalet, turning pungent from the warmth of an oil furnace, the insidious odor drifted upstairs to where Stella lay asleep on a window seat. It filled her nostrils and roused her with a jerk; she struggled upright, shielding her eyes against the bright light penetrating the glass.

Dawn. The burning had begun.

Beyond the chilled pane lay the Ceaseless White. Stella gazed out at the endless mantle of snow punctuated by clusters of bare-limbed trees, a handful of farmhouses, and St. Jakob’s onion-shaped cupola in the distance. To the west, the nebulous sky grew dark as the stacks of Dachau’s Krematorium belched gritty smoke against a colorless sun, permeating the air with a sickening-sweet odor.

She imagined the tiny charred flakes, soaring high, borne off to God Forsaken . . .

Despair struck like an angry fist; she grabbed at the sill, feeling dizzy and out of breath as she pressed her bruised forehead against the cold glass. How was it that she still felt anything?

The nausea soon passed, and she turned from the window—away from death—to stare at the austere whitewashed walls that hemmed her in. Not the train, not the Block at Dachau where she’d been held for months, but a room. Her makeshift prison for untold days.

Why was she here . . . and why had she been singled out? The repetitive questions preyed on her anxiety as she began the day’s ritual of scouring her surroundings for clues.

Uncle Morty once said that a person’s possessions spoke much about them. Stella believed their lack often revealed more. This room, for instance, like her dignity, was stripped bare except for a low-slung cot and a nightstand disguised as a battered fruit crate. Nothing else—least of all any frivolous female comforts that might capture her interest. No vanity with ruffled seat, no perfume bottles, lipstick cassettes, or cosmetics to clutter its top. Even the windowpane had felt brittle against her skin, bereft of any delicate lace curtains. With the war in full swing, no silk stockings hung idly over the back of a chair (had there been one) or tumbled from an open dresser drawer (had there been one). Not even a shard of mirrored glass hung on the stark walls. She’d simply been locked away upstairs in an empty room, the fabled Rapunzel in her tower. Except for the hair . . .

Hardly a princess, Stella thought bitterly, smoothing blistered fingertips over the new growth at her scalp. She surveyed her spindly extremities—barely discernible arms and legs that protruded from the capped sleeves and knee-length hem of her blue cotton dress. She looked more like the room: an empty husk, lifeless, genderless. Temporary . . .

The faint purr of a car’s engine drew her attention back to the window. A black Mercedes approached the chalet, cutting a path through the snow that concealed the road. The disjointed white cross of the Hakenkreuz emblazoned its door.

Jew Killers. Stella froze as the Nazi staff car pulled up beside the house. Fragments of memory collided with her mounting apprehension. The gritty-faced Kapo—a Jew trusted by the Nazis to guard their Block of prisoners at Dachau—had stuffed her into the blue dress. The feel of warm wool against her skin as she was wrapped in a blanket and carried. The dark trunk of a car . . .

The driver wore the black uniform of the Schutzstaffel and exited first before rushing around to open the passenger door. The man who emerged next stood tall and broad-shouldered in a heavy greatcoat. His presence evoked every aspect of authority. Dominance. Even the cane he gripped in his right hand failed to diminish his aura of power.

He looked up at her window. Stella’s heart pounded. Did some intuitive force reveal to him her hiding place, or had he already known? She pulled back from the sill, then quickly changed her mind, meeting his stare.

His face was a canvas of strength—rock-hard features fortified with asperity, amplified by the grim line at his mouth and the tautness of his squared jaw. Features much accustomed to pain. More in giving it than receiving it, she decided.

Beneath his black officer’s cap with its skull-and-bones death’s-head insignia, eyes of an indiscernible color watched her a long moment. Without looking away, he raised his free hand and snapped his fingers, bringing his driver to heel like a trained beast. He passed his cane to the underling without comment and then strode to the front door.

The bell sounded below, and every nerve in Stella’s body screamed. She heard the frantic voice of the housekeeper—her jailer—greet the Nazi.

Pressing chapped palms against her thighs, she was vaguely aware of the dampness of sweat seeping through the thin cotton dress. Her pulse hammered in her throat as the first wooden step leading upstairs groaned beneath his weight. She’d heard about medical experiments performed on prisoners. Was he a doctor? Was that why she’d been brought here?

A key turned in the lock. Stella’s body bucked in reaction, launching her to her feet. She became aware of a winded sound, a shallow, rapid rushing of air—and realized it was her own breath.

"Gut, you’re awake."

The stout, ruddy-cheeked Hausfrau stood on the threshold. Not the Jew Killer.

Stella’s knees nearly buckled.

You have an important visitor. Follow me downstairs.

Stella didn’t immediately grasp the command. Fear rooted her to a spot by the window, a sapling anchored to earth. She could only blink at the sour-faced woman standing at the door.

"Are you deaf, Jude? I said come with me!"

The sharp words freed Stella’s invisible fetters and she shuffled forward, swallowing the bubble of terror in her throat. In deference lay my survival, in deference lay my survival . . .

Your kind brings nothing but trouble, the housekeeper hissed before turning to leave.

Stella ground her teeth to keep silent. She wasn’t surprised at the woman’s hostility. Even the word Jew had become dangerous to utter. Deadly.

Following the Hausfrau downstairs, Stella felt panic escalate with each step. She fought it the only way she knew how: by lulling herself into a languid state that had so often shielded her sanity. She became oblivious to the gold-gilt lithographs framed along the stairwell and the moan of warped wood beneath her bare feet. Dust particles swirling in a shaft of winter sunlight from an upstairs window went unnoticed.

When pain from a protruding nail on the step finally jarred her benumbed state, Stella blinked and stared down at the blood oozing from her torn flesh. Her chest tightened with flashes of memory. Bloody hands . . . gunshot . . .

Move!

Like an ill-wakened sleeper, she raised her head to glare at the housekeeper. What was the point in deference? She was already dead inside. Did it matter what they did with her body?

Fear and disgust flashed across the other woman’s face before she hastily resumed her descent. Stella followed, determined to buoy her defiance with each step—

Until she came face-to-face with him.

Terror sank its claws in deep. As the housekeeper fled to the safety of the kitchen, Stella clung to her last shred of newfound courage and focused on the man before her. He swiftly removed his hat, the brim pitching flecks of snow against her cheek.

From the window above, she’d imagined him much older. Stella was surprised to see that, up close, he was nearer in age to her own twenty-three years. His thick russet hair, shot through with gold, lay close-cropped against his head, while eyes—a vibrant shade of green—studied her with open curiosity. "Good morning, Fräulein."

Startled by his deep voice, Stella teetered backward on the step. He caught her bony wrist to steady her. When she tried to wrench free, the gloved fingers held firm. His dark brows rose in challenge. I trust you’re feeling better?

The ice from his brim numbed her cheek. Stella fought for calm as she glanced from his arrogant face to the imposing grip on her wrist. She could smell him—new leather and pine, the dampness of snow.

I can assure you that you’re quite safe here.

Safe? Her free hand fisted at her side. How often had that word been used, that promise given and broken at Dachau?

The snowflakes melted against her skin. Stella raised her fist to wipe at the wetness; his hand was faster, and she flinched at the contact of soft leather against her cheek. Would he beat her now for being weak, mistaking the water for tears? Or maybe criticize her first?

But the Jew Killer did nothing, said nothing. Even his touch felt surprisingly gentle. She watched his gaze drop to the hand still in his grasp. In that he took care as well, as one by one he uncurled her clenched fingers. Turning her hand over, he assessed the bruises on her knuckles and joints.

Stella’s fear battled against his oddly comforting touch. The heat she could feel through his leather glove made him seem almost . . . human.

The raw fury in his eyes shattered the illusion. You have my word, he said mildly. While you are here, no one can harm you.

Clicking his heels together, he offered a curt nod. "Allow me to introduce myself. Colonel Aric von Schmidt, SS Kommandant to the transit camp at Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia."

When she made no response, he added, Lucky for you, on my way to Munich I stopped at Dachau to see my cousin Frau Gertz. I also chose to visit the camp while I was here and oversee the first transfer of laborers into my command.

An effort to smile died on his lips. You see, I’m relatively new to my post, so I can hardly afford mistakes. Nor am I a man who tolerates them. When my sergeant informed me that one body from the train’s manifest was unaccounted for, I decided to track it down myself. Care to guess who it was?

Stella shook her head, too afraid to speak.

No? Well, here you are—proof of my good deed. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t put you on that train, it was due to an inconsistency on your papers. They state you are Aryan, Fräulein Muller. So you will explain to me now why they have been stamped JUDE.

Stella lowered her head to hide her resentment. The false identification papers Uncle Morty had purchased for her in secret from Berlin had done nothing to save her. She’d spent the past several months living in quarters unfit for livestock. She’d worked outside in the cold, wearing thin rags and wooden clogs several sizes too big. Not even stockings to protect her feet from chafing or frostbite. And hunger—the Nazis had tried to starve them all.

Answer me! he snapped at her, all pretense at politeness gone.

Stella’s head shot up as she choked on her fear. "Gestapo . . . at the checkpoint . . ."

Gestapo did this? Why?

His eyes narrowed on her. Stella’s panic exploded. He wanted to . . . tried to . . . I wouldn’t let him . . . She struggled against his grasp. Please . . . not my fault . . . !

Enough! His grip was like iron. I told you that you are safe here. Why do you think I brought you to my cousin’s house?

Stella quit her struggle. The fact that he’d gone to such lengths to save her came on the heels of realizing he wasn’t a doctor. Instead of feeling relief, a cold shiver crept up her spine. What did he want? She tried to recall further details from that night, but could remember nothing prior to her awakening days before on the cot upstairs.

It seemed her life had changed in the span of an instant, and this man, this Jew Killer, took credit for the act. Yet Stella had no recollection of him. Nor did she feel gratitude. I don’t understand. Why did you bring me here?

High on the foyer wall, a Black Forest clock ticked the seconds. Stella held her breath, every nerve attuned to the man’s response.

This time his smile reached its destination. Dazzling white, its unexpected warmth surprised and unsettled her. Only his somber green eyes dampened the effect. Do I need a reason, Fräulein? A pause. Very well, I wanted an explanation and you’ve given it—more or less. I know the Gestapo’s breed of men, so I can fill in the blanks. He eyed her a long moment. Trust me when I tell you that you are not the first to fall victim to their pranks.

Stella’s throat tightened with anger. Her experience at the hands of the Gestapo had hardly been a mere joke. She swallowed her ire and said, And now . . . what will you do with me, Herr Kommandant?

"Fatten you up like a Christmas Gänsebraten, for a start. He glanced at her spare limbs. Soon you’ll return to the pretty dove I imagine you once were."

Stella looked away. Was he toying with her? Morty once told her that her beauty would save her—a changeling, he’d called his young niece, Stella’s blond hair and blue eyes a rarity among their people.

Her uncle had been wrong. Beauty was dangerous, a liability for someone desperate to remain obscure in a crowd, inconspicuous to the eyes of soldiers.

She turned to him, this time her bitterness unchecked. Christmas goose or fatted calf, both meet the same end, do they not, Herr Kommandant?

The muscle at his jaw clenched. Too late, Stella realized her foolish outburst. Horrified and amazed at her own audacity, she braced against the expected Consequence. Surely he would beat her, or worse—

Frau Gertz!

The force of his bellow nearly knocked Stella back. He continued to hold her in his grip until his cousin appeared cautiously from the kitchen.

Get her a coat. We’re leaving.

Frau Gertz bobbed her head like some peasant to a feudal lord before she rushed toward the closet. Stella could only watch, frozen in place. The colonel promised she would be safe . . . here. And now they were leaving.

The Hausfrau returned with a coat disguised as a frayed white shawl.

Have you any shoes, Fräulein?

He sounded impatient. Stella gaped at her bloodied feet, her mind seized by more forgotten memories. Someone at Dachau had taken her shoes, her clothes . . .

She knelt naked in the snow, her soul seared with humiliation, her body numbed by cold. Faces streaked with dirt and pity surrounded her as though she were some freak in a carnival. Soon guards dragged her away. Her flesh burned with pain, then fear. Fear for the little hands shoving a bundle in her direction. A blouse . . . little hands in danger . . . crying hands . . . struggle with the guards . . . the crack of a rifle . . .

Images ripped through Stella like shards of glass. She hunched forward, dizzy with pain, her eyes shut against the brutal past.

I will not ask you again!

The colonel’s frighteningly cold voice sounded a thousand kilometers away. She clawed her way up through the terrifying haze and struggled to recall his question. Shoes . . .

Gone, Stella managed to say before her knees buckled. She collapsed toward the floor just as he caught her and hauled her against him. She made a puny attempt to push away, but his strength clearly outmatched hers. Exhausted, she slumped against him, only vaguely aware of the shawl being placed across her shoulders.

She cried out in protest as he lifted her into his arms. That seemed to fuel his anger. You fed her while I was away, didn’t you?

Oh, she ate. Frau Gertz’s blunt fingers bunched in the folds of her white apron. She ate food enough for three people! Then she threw it up on my floor. Now she refuses anything but broth.

The Hausfrau shot an accusing look at Stella, as if demanding corroboration. Stella’s face heated. She’d been so hungry. Afterward, she’d sworn that no one, especially this nasty woman, would ever again witness her humiliation. So far, the broth seemed safe enough.

What about clothing, cousin? The colonel’s tone held an edge. I had assumed that for the week I left her in your care, my money would more than compensate you for your trouble.

But you said to use discretion, the Hausfrau whined. How could I go to town and buy new clothes without the tradesmen asking questions? She is so much smaller than me—

"I’m done with excuses! Now give her your coat, and shoes for her feet. Schnell!"

His bark sent her running back to the closet. She returned with a voluminous black wool coat and a pair of dirty pink house slippers. My other shoes are still at the cobbler’s. . . .

Her voice trailed off. The colonel was staring at the boots on her feet. The Hausfrau looked alarmed. Stella felt a spurt of vindication. Please, cousin.

Before she could utter another plea, he swore and snatched up the clothing. He wheeled around and departed with Stella, leaving a startled Frau Gertz in his wake.

Outside, his driver held the car door open. Once the colonel deposited Stella against the seat, he offered her the coat and slippers. She took them before scooting to the far end of the car. His hulk-like frame followed her inside.

The engine of the Mercedes roared to life while heat blasted from vents in the car’s dashboard. Stella bit back a blissful sigh as she hugged the borrowed coat to her chest. Casting a surreptitious glance at the colonel, she found herself caught in his steady, impenetrable gaze.

A brief moment passed before the line at his mouth thinned and his features hardened, as though he’d reached some distasteful conclusion. Alarms began going off in Stella’s head as he reached a gloved hand deep inside his coat . . .

A gun! He was going to shoot her! She grabbed the door’s handle and pulled. Locked! A scream lodged in her throat as she shut her eyes, pressing her body hard into the leather seat—

Put this on.

Her eyes flew open. She swallowed her cry when she saw he held not a pistol but a woman’s red hairpiece. He offered it to her. As you’ve discovered, papers mean little at this stage of the war. We don’t want you looking too conspicuous.

With unsteady hands, she fitted the wig so that the strands fell about her shoulders.

You’ll get across the Czech border safely enough, he said when she finished. But the color doesn’t suit you, Fräulein.

Ignoring the petty insult, Stella turned toward the window and struggled to regain her composure.

Outside, emerald fir and barren poplars rushed past the car as it sped along the winding ribbon of road into Germany’s lower wine country. The war hadn’t yet touched this pristine countryside; instead of burned-out buildings and cratered fields, she saw only arbors, barren of fruit, cast against a backdrop of snowy white. In summer their latticed bowers would again be laden with plump grapes, peacefully unaware of the suffering only a few kilometers away.

Freiheit. Freedom. Stella gazed out at the forested hills and felt a stab of yearning like physical pain. She embraced it, ridding herself of fear as fury from the past several months replaced it. Fury at the old God for abandoning her. Fury at this new one, the uniformed monster beside her who now controlled her life.

Silence stretched with the miles, and though she burned with questions, Stella was grateful for the respite. She had no use for small talk with this Nazi, and having to answer more of his questions could only become a dangerous undertaking.

At Regensburg, a town near the western bank of the Danube River, the colonel ordered a halt at a local Gasthaus. He dispatched his driver, Sergeant Grossman, to go inside and procure three lunches. He then turned his attention to her.

Your papers state you are from Innsbruck. I too am Austrian, from the little town of Thaur, not far from there. His penetrating eyes looked at odds with his smile. I once knew a man by the name of Muller: Tag Muller. He and his family lived in the town of Innsbruck, where I ventured often as a boy. Are you any relation? I’m sure I would not have forgotten you.

Stella shook her head, glancing at the bruised hands in her lap. Mentally she cursed her false papers. In all of Europe to conjure a birthplace, Morty happened to choose this man’s backyard and the name of a family friend!

Well?

She moistened her dry lips. Muller is a common name.

True. Is your family still there?

Again she shook her head, refusing to look at him. Stella desperately hoped he would mistake her silence for grief and stop asking questions. Her ploy failed.

Speak! He grabbed her chin and turned her face until their eyes locked. I trust, since you have the ability to make rash remarks, that you can also make intelligent conversation.

Trembling beneath his touch, Stella did not look away. My parents died when I was five. That much was true, anyway. I had no other family, so I was taken in and raised by their closest friends. A spurt of defiance made her add, They were Jews.

Expecting a violent reaction, Stella was surprised when his grip on her eased. In fact, he looked only mildly curious. Your papers also state you have performed clerical work. Did you attend school at Innsbruck?

Yes. It was another lie, though Stella had received instruction, but not in any school—not past the age of thirteen when Nuremberg law forbade Jews to receive an education. Instead, Mrs. Bernstein, a retired schoolteacher living upstairs from their old apartment in Mannheim, had tutored her in the basics of bookkeeping and clerical skills.

How well can you type?

Stella straightened in her seat. Did he have need of her abilities? Very well, Herr Kommandant, she said. I also know shorthand and general accounting. She tried to repress her optimism, painfully aware of the Nazis’ verbal traps.

He seemed genuinely pleased. I’d hoped as much, Stella.

The sound of her name on his lips disturbed her, as though linking them together in some intimate way. Stella wanted nothing personal between them. She’d much rather hate him.

Sergeant Grossman returned with their packages of food. As he began passing them through the open car window, Stella noticed his left wrist bore no hand; the steel hook in its place both frightened and moved her as she watched him struggle with his burden.

The colonel offered her a boxed lunch. Stella vehemently shook her head.

You will eat, he growled. Not only did your bones cut into me while I carried you, but you weigh less than a pair of my boots. And if you starve yourself, well . . . He shot her a calculated look. We won’t be able to plan out your future, will we?

An artful strategist. She took the box, hating that he’d correctly guessed that her curiosity at his statement would outweigh any risk of nausea. She concentrated on taking small bites of the cheese sandwich and apple slices packed inside while her attention strayed back toward the miles they had crossed.

Relax. The colonel read her thoughts. Dachau is only a speck in the distance.

She paused with a dried apple slice halfway to her lips. What of those who still suffered? There was no hope for them. Unlike her, they wouldn’t be rescued.

But was she safe? Stella stared at the man beside her, this Jew Killer who had taken possession of her. With or without false papers, her life might only stretch as far as the next hour. What did he really want with her? Why had he taken her from Dachau?

Would he ever let her go free?

Her throat ached at the unbearable uncertainty. Lord, please let me know my fate.

Silence. Had she expected otherwise? What is my future, Herr Kommandant? she managed to whisper.

That depends on you, Fräulein. His smile was enigmatic. Can you act as well as you type?

Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.

Esther 2:10

Halt!"

The Mercedes rolled to a stop in front of a manned gate at the border blockade into Czechoslovakia. A soldier in the brown uniform of the Sturmabteilung marched to their car.

Stella cast a nervous glance at the colonel.

Stop looking guilty, he whispered, but his smile held a perceptible tightness.

Stella’s anxiety intensified. Her safety depended on the colonel. He was the enemy, true, but whatever his motives, he’d so far shown her considerable concern.

The border guard standing outside her car window was a different matter. If their ruse failed, not even the colonel could save her. The Brownshirts would shoot her dead.

The soldier pinned her with a glare as he barked an order at Sergeant Grossman to produce their identification papers. Stella’s nostrils flared with the sharp tang of fear. She began fidgeting with the red strands of her hair until the colonel caught her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. Whether a silent reprimand or a token of encouragement, the small gesture helped her regain a measure of control.

Herr Colonel!

The car door on Stella’s side flew open.

Where are the woman’s papers? The Brownshirt waved their documents in his hand.

The Fräulein needs no papers. She’s with me.

The young guard’s face reddened. But this is highly irregular, Herr Colonel. She must have papers!

I’m running late, Corporal. Now the colonel sounded bored. "Do you purposely delay my urgent business for der Führer?"

"Nein, of course not. The Brownshirt glanced behind the car. Relief swept across his features. Please, you will wait here a moment, Herr Colonel."

Sergeant Grossman stared into the rearview mirror. Gestapo.

Stella followed the colonel’s backward glance to a black unmarked car pulling up directly behind them.

The colonel muttered an expletive, then said, That’s all I need—those sniffing dogs. He gripped Stella’s shoulder. "It was necessary to bend a few rules in order to get you out of Dachau. No matter what happens, say nothing to them. Verstehen?"

Hair prickled at her nape. She nodded, ignoring the pain as his fingers dug into her skin.

A fleshy-faced, stocky man in black leather appeared at the open door. Stella had the fleeting thought that this Gestapo pig actually looked like one. His snout nose was wedged between a pair of rounded spectacles, while his eyes shone like black, wet beads behind the frames. They scrutinized the colonel and then stared at her. Get out of the car, Fräulein.

Pig-nose uttered the toneless command from lips too red and thick to be considered masculine. Stella couldn’t rouse herself. She froze, unable to look away.

His beady eyes narrowed while his nostrils shot twin streams of billowing steam into the cold afternoon. He unholstered his pistol, drew back the slide, and took aim. Get out, now.

Instinct pushed Stella back against the solid wall of the colonel. She turned to him, knowing her bloodless face conveyed panic.

The muscle at his jaw compressed with fury as he gave her a flicker of a nod.

Pig-nose stepped back while Stella clambered out of the car.

Air froze in her lungs as icy slush pooled inside the slippers; she felt her joints ache all the way up to her teeth. Drawing in several shallow breaths, Stella raised her gaze to him.

Pig-nose stared at her ridiculously shod feet. Give me your papers, Fräulein.

Two uniformed men approached to stand on either side of him. Pig-nose glared at her. Stella struggled against gravity, tilting her chin to meet his scowl. Cold moisture trickled down her back as the silence ticked off in seconds, palpable sounds like the pulse pounding in her ears.

She didn’t hear the car door open. Nor was she more than vaguely aware when the colonel moved to stand beside her.

Here’s what you’re looking for, Captain. He thrust her identification papers into the outstretched palm.

Pig-nose scanned the documents. These have been marked JUDE, Herr Colonel.

His gloved hand whipped out and tore away the red wig. Cold pierced Stella’s exposed scalp, stinging her ears. So, it seems, has she.

The murky eyes behind the glasses barely registered surprise. Take off the coat.

With jerking motions, Stella removed the warm garment. Pig-nose then grabbed her left wrist, exposing the numbered tattoo near her elbow. She has all the attributes.

He cast another mocking smile at her dirty, water-soaked slippers before he crumpled her papers and tossed them to the ground. Stella watched the remnants of her life grow damp and soiled in the dirty snow like so much refuse.

He signaled the guard on his right toward the colonel’s car. We will need more details on this matter, Herr Colonel. You and your party will accompany us back to the Gestapo office in Regensburg. My man will escort you.

More courteous words; their ominous weight buried Stella like an avalanche. She struggled to breathe, tasting the danger in them, the promise of death.

That won’t be necessary, Captain.

The colonel’s congenial tone was welcome relief. Stella’s exhausted limbs, numbed with cold, wavered beneath her.

I requested Fräulein Muller months ago from Austria, the colonel continued smoothly. She glanced at him as he gave her arm a warning squeeze. "She was my brother’s secretary in Linz—he generously allowed me the use of her services at Theresienstadt, where I’ve been assigned as Kommandant by the Reichsführer. Unfortunately she was arrested on her way to Munich, where we were to meet. If you’ll check her papers closely, you’ll see the mistake."

He smiled a cold smile. Himmler himself admitted it was great luck that I happened to find her at Dachau, though he was perturbed that the Gestapo’s error delayed me in reaching my new post.

The colonel was a better liar than she was! Stella watched as his implied intimacy with the same powerful man who also controlled the Gestapo had its desired effect. Pig-nose’s red smirk faded. He straightened and holstered his pistol.

His speculative expression darted between Stella and the colonel. Then he snapped his fingers at the man beside him and pointed to the crumpled, water-stained wad on the ground. The orderly retrieved Stella’s papers, and Pig-nose made a great show of rereading them before he thrust them back at the colonel, along with Stella’s red wig.

I trust you will inform Herr Reichsführer that Captain Otto Meinz, of Gestapo Regensburg, gave you no cause for further delay, Herr Colonel?

I will, of course, report your expediency in the matter, Captain.

Pig-nose thrust out his arm. "Heil Hitler!"

The colonel returned the salute as he lifted Stella by the waist and stuffed her back inside the car. Tossing the wig in after her, he slammed the door and got in on the other side.

Pig-nose signaled the guard to open the gate. Glancing back in at Stella, he offered her a curt nod. She could hear his bootheels snap together. My apologies, Fräulein.

Inclining her head slightly, she shrugged back into the coat and stifled her giddy relief as the Mercedes rolled forward.

Plowing eastward, they gradually ascended along the base of the Sumava Mountains into the Bohemian Forest. Steel sky vanished, replaced by a thick canopy of pine and fir merging along either side of the road. Shadows inside the car danced with occasional breaks in the trees as the Mercedes sped along a road largely cleared of snow. No doubt German Panzers and the tank troops had been through recently.

Give me your feet.

Stella shot him a startled look.

Now, before they become completely useless. The colonel reached for her legs, swiveling her around in the seat to settle them against his lap. Tearing away the water-soaked slippers, he removed the muffler from around his neck and wrapped her bare feet, briskly massaging her heels, soles, and toes. Stella winced at the pain of blood flowing back into the nerves.

You did well back there. His grim expression belied the compliment. I trust I’ve now sufficiently answered your question?

Rattled by her confrontation with the Gestapo and distracted by the needles pricking her sore feet, Stella nodded in reflexive obedience. What question, Herr Kommandant? she asked.

Heat bullied its way up her cheeks at his amusement. Disgusted at her own bottomless well of humiliation, she added the obvious. I’m to be your secretary then.

The car’s shadows disappeared along with the deepest part of the forest. Stella caught the colonel’s silent assent and relief flowed like honey through her limbs. It seemed she would live . . . at least for a time.

Actually, one of my reasons for traveling to Munich was to obtain an assistant. But then I found you at the camp and saw that your papers listed clerical skills. In the dimness she glimpsed the slight shrug of his broad shoulders.

I am taking a chance on you, Fräulein Muller. His brusqueness stifled her newfound assurance. "That does not mean I tolerate marginal work. I’m a demanding employer, so your best had better be good enough.

"Nor will I permit deceit. There’s enough political intrigue stalking my back within the Reich without adding your name to the list. Your loyalty belongs to me—he leaned close so that his warm breath grazed her cheek—and no one else."

His nearness, as well as her vulnerable position, with her legs pinioned across his lap, amplified the tremor along Stella’s spine. She’d already lied to him; her whole life had become one big falsehood. I won’t deceive you, she said, unable to look him in the eye.

Excellent. Because as easily as I netted you from that cesspool Dachau, I can toss you back.

I understand perfectly, Herr Kommandant.

I believe you do. He rested back against the seat and continued massaging her feet. Humor touched his voice. I suspect your intelligence is only matched by your beauty.

Stella set her chin as she glanced at her battered hands and bony wrists. She turned to stare out the back window, refusing to let him see how his insults affected her.

He paused in his ministrations. You doubt my sincerity?

She pretended not to hear him, but the pressure of his hand on her cheek brought her around to face him. Beneath hollowed cheeks and bruises, beauty sleeps.

He spoke aloud as though to himself; his somber green eyes darkened to the depths of the forest they had just passed. Stella refused to fathom the reason it disturbed her.

Wounds to the flesh eventually heal, Fräulein, he said, releasing her. Your beauty will return soon enough.

What about wounds to the soul, Herr Kommandant?

She instantly regretted the question. Yet he didn’t seem angry; his features registered only mild surprise, then resettled into their matrix of hard angles and planes. A much more complex injury, he said. One for which I have yet to find a cure.

His dispirited tone made her wonder at its cause. From the moment she’d first spied him through the window of the chalet, he’d worn a furrowed brow and a hard line at his mouth, as though another, more intimate battle raged.

Stella shunned

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  • (5/5)
    This is the story of a WWII woman who was saved from a concentration camp and it draws parallels to the story of Esther. It is an unusual comparison to draw and I suppose that's why it caught my attention. There were several aspects of the Holocaust that I had not considered before that were brought to light in this book. The concept of the book was very creative, although some of the outcomes might be predictable. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and would recommend the book.
  • (4/5)
    Although most of us never had to actually experience the Holocaust, it is something "real" to us, something we've seen pictures of, heard 1st hand accounts of, etc. So to place Esther's story in that time period, I think it allows us to more fully connect and understand the story of Esther. I really enjoyed looking for the correlations between Esther's story and Breslin's novel, and for awhile the author did a great job of updating the Esther story; however, about 3/4 into the book, the story took a dramatic detour from the Biblical story. It was still interesting, but it was most definitely no longer Esther. And it doesn't have the part of Esther where she risks her life to go before the king, which is my favorite part, as well as the most important part, in my opinion.That said, it was still a pretty good book. Well-written and kept me interested, wanting to know what would happen. I liked the main characters and I was invested in their story. It was somewhat predictable at time, but I find most books usually are, so I don't hold that against it. Oh, I do recommend reading the note at the end of the book - it explains which parts of her story were actually part of the holocaust and which parts were fictional - something I thing is good to know.
  • (4/5)
    I love the parallel between For Such A Time and the Book of Esther. Accounts of the Jewish death camps are hard to read and this work of fiction is no exception. Kate Breslin obviously did her research. All through time, there are true life situations that mirror scripture. If more writers could put those comparisons into writings such as this, more people would be prompted to open their Bibles and that's never a bad thing. Kate Breslin's descriptions put the reader there. You can visualize the surroundings, the people, the situations. Well done, Kate Breslin, I can't wait for your next writing!
  • (4/5)
    In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin, a blonde and blue-eyed Jewish woman, is saved from a firing squad only to be pressed into service as a secretary by SS Kommandant Colone Aric Von Schmidt at Theresienstadt, a transit camp in Czechoslovakia. She hides behind a false identity, posing as Stella Muller. In order to survive however, and maintain her cover, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.Stella suspects though the the Kommandant has hidden compassion and sympathies, which gives her hope, and she cautiously approaches him to appeal on behalf of those in the camp, she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him, when she knows she should despise him as an enemy. She takes risks to keep at least some of the prisoners safe, even though she risks revelation of her true identity with every attempt; how can she save her people if she is not able to save herself?This fictional story is based on the Biblical story of Esther; I have to admit, I am not very familiar with Esther's story, but each chapter of the book began with a verse from the book of Esther, that related to the events of that chapter, which was helpful in tying Esther's and Hadassah's stories together. This was a very riveting story, and the further along I got into it, the harder it was to put down.
  • (4/5)
    A wonderful retelling of the biblical story of Esther, set during the second World War. Highly recommended to lovers of Christian Historical Fiction.
  • (5/5)
    In a place where hope struggles to survive and lives are torn apart, Hadassah Benjamin will do whatever it takes to save her people."And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"Hadassah is hiding in plain sight as Stella Muller, secretary to SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at Theresienstadt. In 1944 the camp is a stopping point from which many are sent to Auschwitz. As she puts her life on the line to try and save her people she suspects that the Colonel has a tender heart despite his role as an SS officer. As their relationship grows, they will have to face their drastic differences. With this unconventional love Hadassah struggles to find the meaning behind it all. She does not understand how God could abandon His people to slaughter. But has the Lord brought them together for a bigger plan? Will Stella be able to save her people as well as the man she has grown to love?A book written about the atrocities of the Holocaust is never easy to read. It is full of emotion and the history is tragic. Kate Breslin did not soften the details of the horrors of the second World War, even though this is a romance. However, she did give us a new perspective of love during the war. I was drawn in by the intriguing story line. I had never imagined a romance like this. However, there are true stories of similar relationships taking place: Edith Hahn Beer and Helena Citronova. Although Stella and Aric's story is different, it is a wonderful book. In every page you can feel the battle raging within Stella as she falls deeper in love with Aric. There were many times that I found myself grinning from ear to ear while reading one page and crying on the next. Be prepared for a wealth of emotion to overcome you as you read this book, but it is worth it! For Such a Time is a truly remarkable story of redemption through faith. We are reminded that God's love for us never fails and His forgiveness is never out of reach.
  • (5/5)
    I have had the pleasure of receiving an advance reading copy of this book from the publisher. First off, I would like to say that I would highly recommend this book. The story is brilliantly written and is one of those that you will keep thinking about even after finishing. I loved the characters and the motives they each had, even the bad guys had an interesting dimension to them. Careful detail and love went into this book. It is a must read. One of the best books I have read in a long time.
  • (3/5)
    A very good book - an interesting retelling of the story of Esther set in Nazi Germany.
  • (2/5)
    I made the mistake of thinking I would find this book interesting purely based on the fact that my name is Esther, I'm very familiar with the story of Esther, and historic fiction centered around WWII has, in the past, been a genre I've enjoyed. ("The Book Thief", anyone?) My mistake, clearly. This book was insipid from start to finish. It tugged at heartstrings... but it was about a concentration camp. Pretty hard to avoid the tugging. Not really my type of book at all. Again, I decided to request it on a whim, so take my review with a grain of salt.
  • (4/5)
    The retelling of Biblical Esther set during World War II. This book is difficult for me to review. I love the story of Esther and have read it many times in the Bible, I also enjoy reading stories set during World War II. I am not sure that I could quite connect the dots to entwine the two. That being said, the book is well written and captivating. I would recommend it to others.
  • (4/5)
    This is a very moving story set mostly in a concentration camp during WWII. Stella is rescued from the ovens at Dachau to be the secretary of Aric, commandant at another camp. Although she is terrified, she cares for the commandant's houseboy and becomes his surrogate mother. She also inspires other Jews in the camp. The book references the book of Esther in the Bible. It seems like a somewhat forced connection but I was really moved by this book. The author, Kate Breslin, did a great job of getting me caught up in the lives of her characters! It is obvious that she did a lot of research on the time period I highly recommend For Such A Time to anyone interested in the era or a fine historical novel.
  • (4/5)
    I'm reviewing this for the early reviewers, but it took me a while. I enjoyed this book. It was a unique look at an often written about time period. I highly recommend this book for someone looking for something different yet substantial.
  • (5/5)
    This was an amazing story of love, heartache, and redemption. I am not usually a fan of war novels but I enjoyed this book from the very first page until the very last. Author Kate Breslin has written a truly gripping tale based upon the story of Esther. The characters are so real you can't help but feel their emotions as they struggle through this heart wrenching time in history.
  • (5/5)
    One of the most stunning and poignant debut novels that I have ever had the privilege of reading, Kate Breslin's "For Such a Time" is a retelling of the biblical story of Esther, set during the Holocaust. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of courage, loss, love, and ultimately redemption and salvation. The story centers upon secrets and coming to terms with one's past in order to fulfill one's God-given purpose and to move forward into the future. A historical thriller, "For Such a Time" explores how God works even in the most desperate and seemingly hopeless of situations to bring about His purpose and the salvation of His people.
  • (5/5)
    LibraryThing early reviewer...1944 - World War II was in full swing. Hadassah Benjamin, half Jew, had ceased to exist. She was now Stella Muller, an Austrian bookkeeper. Stella was told her beauty would save her, her blonde hair and blue eyes being rare to her people. She'd spent months in Dachau, living in quarters unfit for livestock and her dignity was stripped bare. The Nazis used hunger as a weapon, making the weak fall victim to disease and death. Colonel Aric von Schmidt, an SS Kommandant, bends the rules and removes Stella from Dachau and takes her to Theresienstadt. Stella had clerical skills and she was to become Herr Kommandant's secretary, but what were his real motives? He was the enemy, this Jew Killer, but he'd shown Stella concern. Stella totally captivated the Herr Kommandant and had drawn him in. A forbidden love evolves that is wrapped in survival and tragedy --- and the story unfolds. Theresienstadt was to be Stella's new home and her safety depended on Herr Kommandant. Behind Theresienstadt's facade lay dirty, straw filled stalls crammed with Jews who were suffering from hunger and dysentery. There was no hope for them, unlike her they would not be rescued, but put on cattle cars, a death train, and transported to Auschwitz, a place where Jews never returned - a place where Krematorium fires burned day and night. This is a powerful and intense book filled with anger, grief, and humiliation. An absolute must read that will evoke many emotions - a story about the Holocaust. Simply one of the best books I've read on this horrible period of history. My rating is 5 stars. From the book - The Moorexpress had reached the Krematorium. A loud wail echoed from inside the ovens - a child's cry of terror. I received an advanced reading copy from LibraryThing through Bethany House to read and review. All opinions shared are solely my responsibility.
  • (5/5)
    This was a story that made you think about it even when you weren't reading it and one I will remember long after I have read it. It is author Kate Breslin's debut and I hope she continues to write as I would gladly read more of her work. This is a fiction story, but based upon real places and times. "For Such a Time is an evocative retelling of the Esther story set in WWII Europe", says the description on the back of the book. I can understand why they say it is a retelling of the book of Esther as the author quotes from Esther at the beginning of each chapter, but for me it was hard to compare these two events.It is the year 1944 and Hadassah Benjamin finds herself rescued from a firing squad and handed over to SS Kommandant Aric von Schmidt, who thinks she has wrongly been accused of being a Jew. He takes her in and she becomes his secretary. Hadassah must keep her nationality a secret in order to live and hopefully help "her people" in the concentration camp Colonel Aric von Schmidt is running. Aric finds himself attracted to Hadassah and she finds him a caring person and not at all like other officers she has met and been beaten by. But can she truly trust him with her secret and can these two people from very different backgrounds really come to care for and love each other? I would say not possible, but the author did a great job of convincing me otherwise. I won't spoil the ending, but stress it is a work of fiction and things that happened near the end are pure fiction. What takes place in the concentration camps though are real and very hard to understand how people lived through this dark time in history. I highly encourage others to read this story and be moved by the characters and the history they will read about.I received an advanced reading copy from LibraryThing through Bethany House to read and review. File Size: 4468 KBPrint Length: 432 pagesPublisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1, 2014)ASIN: B00DWA695U
  • (5/5)
    This book is a captivating, powerful, inspiring and emotional story set during World War II in the Nazi concentration camps. It parallels the Biblical story of Esther, with a little excerpt from Esther at the heading of each chapter. The characters are very nicely developed, and the storyline is intense. Little details were woven into the story in a lovely way about Jewish life, such as the Sabbath and the Biblical Holidays. This is a book that begs to be read in one sitting if one has the time! I received an advance reading copy of this book at the perfect time: right before the holiday of Purim, when we celebrate the deliverance of God's people through the hands of Esther and Mordecai. I absolutely loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone.
  • (5/5)
    This novel puts you in WWII, during the Holocaust , into Hitlers concentration camps ...not a nice place to be, but you know that going into the story. The horrors are not glossed over, but are also not the main focus of the book. Relationships are. Stella, a young Jewish woman, is shown mercy by a Nazi Commandant, Arac, and rescued from the camp to become his secretary. He is almost devoid of emotion, and you're not sure what his true motives are, but are given occasional clues. Both are attracted to the other, but Stella is appalled that she feels anything for this 'monster' who is helping annihilate her people. She gets glimpses of the real Arac, and we are shown her conflicting emotions as she struggles to sort them out. We also meet Stella's uncle, the man who raised her, who is a prisoner in the camp, along with a number of other characters, some endearing, some repugnant. The heartbreak, despair, hopelessness, anger, grief, fear and terror....so many powerful emotions are shown. Also loyalty, courage, perseverance and love. Breslin's characters all bring it to life in a world that has been turned upside down. Breslin also gives some insight into the Nazi's thoughts: Arac's memories of being swept up in Hitler's early campaigns, and now trapped in a mess from which he sees no way out , while some seem to delight in tormenting the Jews for their own personal reasons. The story becomes intense at times, and keeps you turning pages to see what will happen next! How fantastic it would have been if the final events had actually been based on historic fact instead of fiction!! It is very well written, the characters are well developed, and you are quickly absorbed into the story and the time period. I also liked the parallels to the story of Esther, and when I would read the scripture telling Esther's story at the start of the chapter, I'd wonder at it's meaning, what it was foretelling would happen in THIS story. Then after I finished the chapter, I'd go back and read it again, and it would 'click'. It added to the historic story, like history being repeated. I hope and pray that such events do not get repeated again.... I would recommend this book highly. It is a story not easily forgotten, and I find myself thinking about it even after I've finished reading it. I will definitely be looking for more books by Breslin! Thank you to Bethany House for sending me this advanced reading copy via LibraryThing Early Reviewers to read and review!
  • (4/5)
    An interesting book and an interesting concept. I have always enjoyed the story of Esther from the Bible, so I found this novel particularly compelling. The main character, Stella/Hadassah, hides her true identity as a Jew when she is chosen to become the secretary to the Kommandant of a concentration camp. If you know the story of Esther, you can probably deduce the basic plot of this novel. The novel was interesting and enjoyable. I never did warm up to the main male character, Aric, however. He seemed stiff and wooden, and I never got a real sense of his personality. Some of the concentration camp scenes seemed a bit unrealistic also. I felt at times that the true horrors for those imprisoned there were downplayed. We see chitchat between friends and an almost party-like atmosphere at one point, although there were more realistic scenes included also. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys inspirational fiction.
  • (3/5)
    An emotional heart wrenching book. A wonderful and enthralling story.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.For Such A Time has moved me like no other. A heart-wrenching, soul-pricking, life changing read.This story showcases the cruelties of WWII and the Nazis brutality, hatred and lack of compassion toward the Jews. It also illustrates how faith, love, and perseverance can overcome hardships that seem insurmountable.What I loved about this book:*The story. It was inspired by Esther’s story in the Bible. Just as Esther was chosen to save her people, Hadassah must find the courage and faith to do the same. Her plight is a difficult one, and her journey became my own.*The emotions. I felt a myriad of emotions. My jaw clenched in anger, my heart wrenched in agony, and I wept for the atrocities that were carried out. I smelled the fear, and felt the passions as well as punishments.*The characters. They are all flawed, some more than others. I sympathized with Hadassah’s (Stella’s) conflicting feelings. Her responsibilities and struggles were nearly unbearable. Aric is even more complex and conflicting. I fell in love with Hadassah’s uncle, and the others she grew to love. And other characters put such a palpable distaste in my mouth I wanted to spew them out.*The impact. This book transported me to a horrific place in history, where compassion, empathy and faith were difficult treasures to unearth. Kate Breslin, the author, has taken threads of differing textures: love/hate, empathy/cruelty, acceptance/denial, belief/doubt, and somehow woven them into a tapestry of beauty, love, and acceptance.What I didn’t love about this book:*Only that it ended. I’ll miss these characters and the journey we traveled together.I don’t know how anyone could read this book without being forever changed. Though this story is fictional, there were over a million men, women, and children who experienced similar atrocities.A book should make us FEEL—whether angry, proud, sad, disgusted, or happy—and this book succeeded.Cover: Love itTitle: Love itPublisher: Bethany House PublishersPages: 432Pace: Steady/fastFirst Lines: The stench was unmistakable. Seeping through the walls of the two-story chalet, turning pungent from the warmth of an oil furnace, the insidious odor drifted upstairs to where Stella lay asleep on a window seat.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
  • (5/5)
    I normally don’t read these types of books. Everything about this just sounds so….let’s say cliched. Either I was going to cry over the complete uber cheesiness of this book and power through it or I might just actually enjoy it.Nevermind that the author took various liberties with the historical aspect of the book and changed a couple of things herself. This sort of thing would have gotten my knickers in a knot and I would have been pulling my hair out in sheer anger at how someone could just do such a drastic thing especially with this type of historical subject. She does write a good author’s note at the end so I can forgive…..I also shrugged off the fact that it got a little semi preachy towards the end of the book, (I had to remind myself this was an inspirational novel - however I’m not that fond of the preachy tones) not to mention the romance during the last third of the book got my stomach a little queasy as I’m just not that used to this.I shrugged off the biggest thing that made me irksome in this book and that was the name Aric and I wondering how the heck is that a suitable name (what the heck was wrong with Erich??? which is a much more realistic sounding and perfect name for that era….if there was more research done in this particular era in history you’ll find DOZENS of soldiers named ERICH (including a famous general) so why does he need to be named something different??? is he a child of Hollywood??????)I overlooked all those three things that normally in any other book I’d have thrown to the wall and never touch again. Why?Because I absolutely loved Aric and Hadassah. The tense moments, the moments where they’re oh so close yet they come apart, or that one dramatic moment where everything actually DID, it just all was an emotional ride. However because their chemistry was so good, I couldn’t help but love them both together. They were so good together you wanted them to hit it off right away. They’re both almost made for each other and one just can’t help but be totally caught up with them through the entire book.So I said this was an emotional ride. Yes...aside from the very sensitive subject matter, you can’t help but absolutely hate the antagonists in the book with such a rabid rage you feel like going into the book and gave them the haymaker of your life, or skewer them like sausages (hahah a reference to Hadassah’s Herr Sausage haahhaha!) however if the author’s intention was to instill these kinds of emotions from the reader with these kinds of characters; then consider the job very well done.As to the plot; again if you’re a historical nitpick this might hurt. However, detailed setting descriptions and the overall mood of the story does fit well. The story itself is alright if one can forgive the historical inaccuracies and the attempts to make it fit into the plot, all the action seems to have been crammed into the final third of the novel which does give it a feeling of being rushed, but nevertheless the reading is good. It’s really the characters that carry the novel. The ending, made me weep (whether happy or sad tears, I am not going to say. It would be considered a spoiler) :) Would I recommend this? yes, if you want to read a pair of characters that just hit it off from almost page one. No, if you’re bothered by the preachy undertones, the historical warping, and the somewhat nauseous romance that develops later…
  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    I have read a lot of books this year that have been set in Europe during WWII. Most have been good, but Kate Breslin’s novel, For Such A Time, ranks as one of the best. While the degradation and abuses of the concentration camps are highlighted, Breslin manages to infuse enough hope to make the story sing with the love and faithfulness of God. Certainly a must read for those who love historical novels, I will heartily recommend For Such A Time to all who want a moving read.Aric Von Schmidt, a camp commandant on his way to Theresienstadt, rescues Stella Muller from execution at Dachau. Her indomitable spirit and beauty touch him in a way that he believed nothing could again. Bitter and hardened to the atrocities of war, he nevertheless reaches out to save her. Stella, though, has a very dangerous secret. Her false papers and her Aryan features label her as a true German. She maintains her identity in order to survive and hopefully to be the salvation of those who have no hope. The ghetto of Theresienstadt holds terror, abuse and despair for all those who enter and only certain death to those who leave. Through Stella’s daring, her uncle’s vision and Aric’s sacrifice, many might be saved from extermination.For Such A Time is a beautifully written account of the dark history of murder, terror and abuse that the Jews and others deemed undesirable had to endure at the hands of the Nazis. And while I knew the history well, it was still a startling and heartbreaking story that unfolded in the pages of this book. Difficult to read, it was also a wonderful testament to the will to survive and the deep faith in a good and gracious God in the midst of trial. I found the characters well-developed with poignant backstories that, while not lessening their crimes, made them seem terribly human in their motivations. Based on the biblical book of Esther, the novel portrays great courage and faith in God’s deliverance. Unfortunately, the story is fictional. The great escape never occurred. The author shares the facts in the Afterword, making the story all the more tragic.My favorite part of the book is the verses that Stella finds in her mysteriously appearing Bible. Speaking directly to her plight, she finds comfort where none seems to exist. And her memories of best friend Marta sharing the gospel will encourage the reader in his/her own encounters with those who need to know God’s love.A wonderful novel that transcends the historical genre, I highly recommend For Such A Time.Highly Recommended.Great For Book Clubs.(Thanks to Bethany House Publishing and TLC Tours for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich