Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther
In 1944, blond 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?
"I absolutely loved this book. For Such a Time kept me up at night, flipping the pages and holding my breath wanting to know what would happen next. Based on the Biblical book of Esther, the story takes the reader to a concentration camp inside World War II Czechoslovakia, where a young Jewish woman has captured the attention of the Kommandant and has the opportunity to save her people, much as Esther did in the Biblical account. The story is gripping, compelling, and I dare anyone to close the cover before the last suspenseful page."--#1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Debbie Macomber
"When I finished Kate Breslin's novel for the first time, I had an urge to flip back to page one and start reading all over again. It's that good. For Such a Time is an intimate portrait painted on a grand scale, bringing to life the drama and pain of suffering with the triumph and joy of freedom. This book deserves a wide audience, and newcomer Breslin has a bright future."--#1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs
"An engrossing and inspiring story from a talented new writer."--Bestselling Author, Sheila Roberts
Customer ReviewsSee All
I put off reading this book for awhile, knowing it would be a huge emotional roller-coaster. I hate this time period, yet have a fascination for how regular Germans managed to deal with their nation's sins, and how those drafted into the army dealt with the atrocities they were forced to assist. Aric is one of these; as a soldier, he is eager to prove his country's mettle on the field of battle. Then he is critically injured on the battlefield and will carry the scars and disability from that battle to the end of his days. When he is nearly well, he is given a new assignment: in charge of a camp.
On his way to his new assignment, he notices, with the zeal of a novice to his task, that there is a mistake with her papers; hers are for Stella Muller, stamped Aryan; but someone has stamped Jude over it. He saves her from a firing squad and orders her to a new assignment as his assistant, little dreaming that her papers are in fact forgeries, and that she is truly Hadassah Benjamin.
Stella slowly adjusts to her new prison as his helper, being forced to keep her secret to save her life, even as she struggles with survivor's guilt. But she begins to see that, if she gains Aric's trust, she might be able to help her people, or at least hear news of her beloved uncle Morty. But it is a fine balance, between bloodthirsty Nazis who seek to sabotage Aric's work they feel he is not dedicated enough, and Aric's slowly awakening conscience. And what will happen when Aric discovers that the woman he trusts is, in fact, a Jew herself?
In the end, it is a powerful alternate-history of what might have happened if just a handful of leaders had listened to the voice of conscience. It is a pounding denunciation of those who think it is okay to take certain actions, or avoid conflict, simply because others are avoiding what is right, or because it is too dangerous, or because society frowns on it. Just because a society sidelines a certain race does not mean that it can ever, under any circumstances, be morally right. We should all be willing to risk our lives to stand up for the downtrodden.