Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review: For Such a Time

Some wounds cannot be seen outwardly. Rescued from certain death by SS Kommandant Aric VonSchmidt, Hadassah Benjamin, who hides her Jewish identity with the name of Stella Muller, is apprehensive about becoming his secretary. Aric, weary of war, must manage the transit camp of Thereseinstadt in Czechoslovakia since he is no longer fit for combat.

Hadassah finds a strange mix of compassion and duty in the Kommandant. She appeals to his kindness on behalf of her people in the camp. Yet since she was forced into her position, her influence has limitations. She must stand by and watch many of them become destined for Auschwitz.

While there are some inmates who believe that Hadassah is there “for such a time” and will somehow be their rescuer, all hope seems lost and she must choose whether to turn to the God who made her and placed her there for help, sacrificing her own safety.

For Such a Time is an unlikely, tender love story, but more than that, it is an unique retelling of the story of Esther. Kate Breslin does an amazing job setting the story in the 20th century. Much like Haman, Adolf Hitler and his followers singled out the Jews for ultimate destruction, forgetting the God of Israel is a force to be reckoned with. This World War II setting in a detainment camp is a fitting, parallel backdrop.

Breslin’s characters live on the pages, touching heart and soul. We can watch Hadassah having to make choices we’re thankful we're not faced with and feel for her in her circumstances. Though an SS Kommandant, Aric has deep hurts and is disillusioned about the glory of war, yet he is trapped. Both of them must face the truth, the lies and the consequences of choices made.

More than a wonderful debut novel, For Such a Time, is a beautiful tale of love and heartache during a desperate time in our world. You won’t want to put this one down.

My kitty, Lilybits, who often helps with the book reviews, is under the weather this week. She’ll tell you more about that next week. She did want me to share that she is glad there were no kitties in this book, since it was set in such a dreadful, dangerous place, but said it's an important story to tell. She gives For Such a Time four paws up!


  1. Great review--great novel!

    Ohhhhhh, I hope Lilybits is okay. Say hi for me.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. Lilybits is on the mend and says, "hi" back. Too tired to paw
      wave. ;)

  2. Awesome book, though I'm a tad biased!