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?
Cafe Lily's Review:
This book was AMAZING! It was hard to believe this is the author's first novel! It is so well written, intense and complex - I literally could not put it down. Kate's writing is so descriptive that I had very vivid images in my mind while reading.
The story appears to be a light comparison of the Biblical account of Esther. Readers need to keep in mind this is fiction and the author takes several creative liberties. The Biblical account stays in the background as a gentle reminder while the historical fiction takes over. I highly recommend reading the author's note since she talks about which parts of this story are fiction, and the details she altered to suit her storyline.
I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read more from Kate Breslin!