For Such a Time introduces the brutality of the Holocaust but also the hope and peace in trusting God.
From my first glimpse at the title, I thought of the story of Esther. After all, "for such a time" is a famous passage from the story. It wasn't until I read the synopsis and started reading that I realized how intentional Kate Breslin was about weaving the story based on the book of Esther. The snippets of scripture before each chapter further prodded the re-telling along.
This is Breslin's first novel and I am blown away at the detail and plot. It was intricately woven to not only be sufficient for the historical aspects but stay true to the original story of Esther. Immediately, the fear and horror of the Holocaust is revealed. This is not a novel for those who cannot take the realistic brutality of the time period.
The characters were easy to get to know and understand. I only had trouble at the beginning with the names and keeping who-was-who straight. Some of the German and Jewish (Hebrew and Yiddish, I believe) terminology became muddled even with glossary. However, that didn't strike me as something that caused me to stumble in my reading. Instead, it further boosted the details and the obvious research put into the novel.
I have two qualms while reading. The first is the book was so long. I understand that a lot was packed into the novel, and it took a lot to build up the story line, but it was quite long (I mean, the book of Esther is only ten chapters long!). With the topic and themes, it's not a book to take lightly and so the page length (over 400) caused me to take a longer look while reading (which I suppose could be a good thing). The second is the use of the scripture passages. I liked the idea of using them to bridge between the original story and the re-telling, however most are out of order and only slightly relevant to the events of that chapter (personal nitpick).
Overall, the story was excellent. As Breslin says on her website, "It takes place during WWII, and contains enough twists and turns to appeal to action and romance fans alike, and those who enjoy a good historical adventure," the book succeeds in doing this, even up until the last few pages! As a eye-roller of most romance novels, this book hooked me from the start.
Anyone interested in history, a solid romance that doesn't leave you feeling dizzy or gagging, or the Holocaust would be able to enjoy For Such a Time. And if you're looking for a spot-on retelling of a Bible story, this book is for you.
Check out an interview with the author below:
I received this book free from Bethany House for my open and honest opinion.