In 1944, 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, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she if forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.
Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners. When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice. God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?
This was another new author for me, but let me just say, Kate Breslin made it onto my favorite authors list before I was even halfway through this book. With its decidedly ‘Esther’ theme paralleling extremely well to the beloved Bible story, For Such a Time swept me away from almost the first page. Her World War II facts were impeccable, and they weren’t presented in such a way that might be boring to some, but just added so much to the story that it felt as if I was transported into that time and place. On top of that, the storyline was so completely intriguing and full of unexpected twists that I found it impossible to put down.
Hadassah/Stella is by far one of my favorite heroines. Even after facing the horrors of Dachau and barely escaping a firing squad, she risked her life again and again in attempts to save the prisoners at Auschwitz. Her bravery was inspiring, but not only that, she was a relatable character. I felt that if I had been there, I would’ve loved to have her for a friend. And I suppose she is now. All characters are friends, ones that you can visit any time you open the pages.
I really loved Aric as well. Although he had so much pain bottled up inside him, hardness that bubbled out whenever provoked, he was truly sweet, when he let himself be. He was compassionate and considerate, he just didn’t believe he could be that man. Once I got to know him better, I loved him even more. He is also one of my favorites. Especially since he is such a valiant warrior. You’ll find out why that’s important when you read the book.
Can I just say how much I loved the ending? Although I was threatening to throw the book at the wall multiple times near the end, the actual ending was absolutely perfect. Clearly I cannot help giving For Such a Time all five bookshelves, and I know I am eagerly anticipating her next novel, Not by Sight, which releases next month. I highly recommend picking up this book as soon as you get a chance, because I can almost guarantee you will love it.
You can purchase your own copy of either For Such a Time or Not by Sight here.
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All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Kate Breslin and her publishers.