Monday, May 12, 2014

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin

I met Kate Breslin at her Book Launch Party at our Northwest Christian Writers group a week ago. She was signing her book, For Such a Time, which had just been released a month before. Everyting about her book appealed to me -- the setting (I really don't know why I am so drawn to World War 2 stories, especially about the Holocaust!), the beautifully designed cover, the fact that it is a modern day telling of the Queen Esther story, and the chance I had to meet the author! I purchased my copy, had Kate sign it, and went home to begin reading.

I hardly accomplished anything else until I had read every word in the book. Kate's characters are real and believable, her storytelling enticing. She took me to Theresienstadt, a Nazi transit camp in Czechosolovakia, and dropped me down into it to watch the unfolding of a remarkable tale of love and intrigue, history and future, despair and slivers of hope. It's not a place I could have entered on my own, but it was not so hard to follow as Kate led me through this captivating story.

As commander of Theresienstadt, SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt was responsible for moving Jews from various camps to Auschwitz, where they would be exterminated. It troubled him that his secretary, Stella Mueller, with her blonde hair and blue eyes, showed compassion toward the Jews in his camp, especially one old man. But it was that old man, her uncle, who believed that Stella held the key to the salvation of those on their way to Auschwitz.

This Esther story set in modern history, For Such a Time brought me again and again to a place of hopelessness, with no possible answers in sight. Suddenly, with one short sentence, a way would open up that I would never have imagined. The author did not disappoint with easy fixes, nor did she back away from matters of significance, be they issues of faith, conscience and consequence. In the midst of the pain and suffering throughout the story, her characters grappled with the hard stuff of life. They were anything but flat (and you know I don't like flat characters!)

I loved how the struggles of the biblical Jews in the Esther story became more real for me as I read For Such a Time. Although she did not strictly follow the chronology of the story of Esther, each chapter of her book began with a verse from the Old Testament Esther and it fit perfectly with the action in Kate's book. With her attention to detail in her research -- both from scripture and from World War 2 era history -- it is no wonder the book was five years in the making!

For Such a Time was not an easy book to read because it contained a boxcar full of grief and pain. But in its pages you will also find hope and grace, forgiveness and goodness, love, duplicity, power and suspense. Do I recommend it? Yes, indeed!

Check out Kate Breslin's website, where she offers several options for purchasing her book, and watch the video below to get to know Kate and how she was impacted by the writing of For Such a Time.


Mindy said...

This is a great tribute to Kate and her debut novel. Thanks for sharing, Ginger!

Kate Breslin said...

Ginger, thank you for such a lovely review of For Such A Time. I am so pleased you enjoyed reading the story.
Bless you!

Ginger Kauffman said...

Kate and Mindy, I enjoyed the book so much and wanted to be sure others knew about it! Can't wait for the next book, Kate...!