Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, Winter, 1944: Half-Jewish Hadassah Benjamin was saved from the firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy: SS Kommandant Aric von Schmidt. Because of her Aryan-like looks she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller working as Aric’s secretary. But she is forced to stand by while her people are sent to Auschwitz, even typing the lists of those to go.
I could not put this book down from the very beginning! I was drawn in from the first page and not let go until the very end. So many things happen over such a short amount of time and there are so many tense moments as you wonder what will happen next. It is hard to believe this is Breslin’s first book, she already seems like a seasoned author and I cannot wait to read her future books.
I love the concept of this book. I cannot believe no one has thought of setting the Biblical story of Esther during World War 2 before, it seems like an obvious choice to make. While most of the book is a direct retelling, towards the end things change, but the essence of the story is still there. This made things even more interesting and intense. It helps that each chapter begins with a verse from Esther which directly relates to what happens in the chapter.
God places us in circumstances for a purpose is a major theme in this book. Both Hadassah and Aric have roles to play in God’s plan, even though it takes a while for them to fully grasp what that is.
On the whole this is a powerful page turning book. I give it five out of five stars.
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Soli Deo Gloria!