Thursday, March 13, 2014

For Such a Time


I'm a sucker for historical novels, especially one's centered around the events of World War II. Even in grade school I would exasperate my teachers during lessons wanting to know about the effects of events on people, society, and culture.

That said, I usually lean towards historical fiction based upon true events.


For Such a Time by Kate Breslin does not follow historical events (though drawing upon real places), a fact the author freely admits, but still remains a gem to read.

Paralleling the Biblical narrative of Esther, For Such a Time centers upon  Hadassah and Aric, a traumatized half Jewess and a wounded Nazi kommandant thrown together near the war's end on a road which could save the lives of hundreds including, if they are very lucky, their own.

Personally, I wan't sure how I would receive the book.
I have read other accounts of Terezin or Theresienstadt, and what occurred there (Wildflowers of Terezin being a favourite). Knowing how the story of Esther ended, I wasn't sure how Breslin could maintain the gravity of the town's history.

Happily, although Breslin did stay closer to the Esther narrative, including the adventure, battle, and love carried within the final half, she still produced a riviting novel which will easily hold the attention of most followers of her genre.

Hadassah or Stella is a likable character who is well written. Breslin writes her recovery from trauma with more honesty than I usually see within Christian fiction and gives real depth to the character's struggle as she seeks to choose between safe decisions and following God's call.

Aric was also a surprising character as I was unsure how the Kommandant could be made to fit within an Esther parallel. Here too was a pleasant surprise as Breslin lays out Aric's honest struggle as an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances.

As mentioned earlier this novel does stick more closely to the Esther narrative which means some readers may be unhappy with the happy, tidy ending For Such a Time provides. I just made sure to read it on one of those days where a happy ending was necessary for my own peace of mind. If you're the type of reader who can't overlook historical inaccuracy for good adventure, a bit of romance, some delightful (though mild) suspense, and a chance for the good guys to triumph this book probably isn't for you. Otherwise, dig in.

I received this book from Bethany through NetGallery in exchange for my honest opinion.

4 out of 5 stars