by Kate Breslin
Obviously it would be near to impossible to pick ONE favorite Bible character or ONE favorite Bible story but the story of Esther would have to be among my favorites. Esther was my maternal grandmother's name so that might be one reason. And I'm sure another reason is my love of female heroes. But I also love how she stepped out in FAITH and took unfathomable risks to save her people.
So when I learned of a new novel that parallels the Biblical story of Esther with a fictional character during the Holocaust I was intrigued since it would be a combination of one of my favorite Bible stories with the era of history I'm most intrigued by in spite of its horrors.
I would NOT consider this book for its historical significance though since it is very loosely based on actual historical facts. Yes, she used the camps and ghetto as settings but her dates and information were not meant to be historically or factually accurate. It simply set the story for the book.
She made the parallels between Esther and her novel very easy to follow - which I was thankful for! The main character's real name was Hadassah which was Esther's real name...but you don't learn that right away as she goes by an Aryan name, Stella. Her uncle in the novel went by Morty. The "King" in the novel is a Nazi Officer, Aric, who actually rescues "Stella" from death in Dachau and takes her home to be his secretary because he believed she was an Aryan wrongly put into the camp. A misunderstanding which "Stella" didn't correct in hopes of living safely in his home rather than being sent to certain death.
Stella is given the task of typing up a list of Jews that will next be sent to Auschwitz to be killed. While she looks over the list of 200 names to type up she realizes she could easily omit some names and so begins her risky journey to save her people.
Meanwhile Aric is falling in love with "Stella" and as he proves to be a good boss and protector of "Stella" she begins to fall for him in spite of his role as an officer in the Nazi regime. Their love story is a beautiful addition to the novel.
You'll have to read the book to see how it all ends up. The plot is far from simple and is a definite page turner! This is a book surrounding the Holocaust like I've never read before and is a welcome change of pace. I'd never really thought about the Holocaust being a more modern day version of what Haman was trying to do to the Jews in the Bible but unfortunately the Holocaust that we all study in history class is not the only Holocaust in history.
This book was provided to me by the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for my honest review.