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Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther
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?
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The plight of the Jewish people during WWII has always been intriguing to me. I will never understand how a person can demonstrate such cruelty to others of the human race based simply on their nationality. That fact, made this book very appealing, although I understand that in itself, it is not completely historically accurate.
This is Kate Breslin's inspirational fiction debut, so I would have to say for her first book she did a great job. I will be eager to read what she comes up with next.This book is a "modern day" story of Esther helping her people. In the story, a half-Jewish young woman, Stella, escapes suffering thanks to her captor/employer Aric, a SS-Commander. At first their relationship is quite rocky; understandably so, as she has suffered much at the hands of the guards in the prison camp. She is afraid and leery of him. After time, though, she is drawn by his character, and a relationship blossoms. Sometimes this may make you like the story and at times it may have the opposite effect. How will their relationship affect her desire to save her people from their plight? This is a tale of courage, redemption and faith, with many unexpected twists along the way.
The author uses a passage from Esther at the beginning of each chapter although not particularly in order. A possible difference between this story and Esther, is that in the time of Esther the Jews believed in God and Jesus had not yet come. But in this modern time period, the author is taking Jewish people and integrating some of the Bible and Christian faith. It did make me wonder if their suffering could have drawn them to the Messiah and becoming Judeo-Christians or not? This of course has peaked my curiosity.
Overall the story will captivate you and keep your attention. Definitely worth the read!