Thursday, May 29, 2014

For Such a Time - A Book Review

Next up on my stack of review books is For Such a Time by the new author Kate Breslin. This story is a loose WWII retelling of the story of Esther. By "loose," it is the story of a people who are threatened by a man who hates the Jewish race and a girl who hides her Jewishness and tries to save her people from annihilation.

This novel differs from the Esther story in several key ways. The novel includes a rather unbelievable romance between Hadassah and the man who is overseeing the local concentration camp. At first, Hadassah hates Aric simply because she is Jewish and he is a Nazi. However, she quickly discovers that he is human with strengths and flaws like the rest of the human race. She wavers in her hatred, trying to determine if he is worth loving despite being a Nazi. "Do I love him? Do I not love him? Do I love him...?"

At the beginning of each chapter was a verse from the book of Esther. That verse summed up the events in the upcoming chapter. I wish that the verses had not been left in the manuscript. It jerked me out of the narrative each time. Being told what events from Esther are coming up in the story left little room for surprises.

My favorite aspect of this novel was the actual writing itself. Breslin has a great command of English and uses words to describe the setting in such a way that you feel like you are sitting in the room, watching the action.

Overall, it was a well-written book with a modern day take on Esther. It didn't quite meet my expectations, but most people seemed to really it. If you like the story of Esther and WWII novels, I would borrow it from the library and then buy it if you will read it more than once.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinions.

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