The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns it wherever He wishes. ~Proverbs 21:1~
This verse came to mind again and again as I read Kate Breslin’s riveting debut novel, For Such a Time. Set during World War II in a Czechoslovakian transit camp, this book tells the story of Jewish prisoner Hadassah Benjamin and Colonel Aric von Schmidt, the SS Kammandant who saves her from a firing squad.
Haddassah, who goes by Stella Muller, enchants Aric. She brings to mind happier days, when he was a simple country boy, searching the woods for treasures to bring home to his beloved mother. As for her part, Stella tries to use her position as the Kammandant’s secretary to protect what Jewish prisoners she can and struggles with her growing love for him.
Her Uncle Morty has assured Stella that—as in the story of Esther—God will use her to save His people. But since Stella is barely on speaking terms with God, she finds this difficult to believe.
The events that bring Hadassah and Aric to faith, love, and triumph make for a wonderful story.
Throughout the Bible, God touched the hearts of those in power to reach out in love and protection to Moses, Joseph, and many more of His children. During the Holocaust, He used unlikely heroes (think of the fast-living, ladies’ man Oscar Schindler) to preserve His people. And He also presided over unconventional romances—the upright Jewish leader Boaz with Ruth the Moabitess and a Jewish spy with former prostitute Rahab—to name a few.
So it was no stretch for me to immerse myself in a novel where God prompts a disillusioned Nazi to protect a beautiful woman prisoner and through her, changes that man’s heart. I’m sure in real life, God gave many such men a chance to repent and turn to Him. And what better way to touch the humanity within them than through the noble lives of the people they were oppressing?
I love how Kate captured God’s heart in this story! Although neither character is consciously seeking Him, God calls out to them. In the midst of all the horror and ugliness of the world men remade in their own sinful image, He desires to give them abundant life, peace, purpose, joy, and even romance.
What I liked best . . .
- The period details—I’m a World War II fiction fan
- Stella’s encounters with God through His miraculous word
- Aric’s fascinating character arc
- Having my heart stolen by a brave little boy named Joseph
- Snowball fights, porcelain jewelry cases & the Blue Danube Waltz
- Prisoners like Morty, who refuse to be beaten down & silenced
- The unexpected, nail-biting, FANTASTIC ending!
My favorite quotes . . .
“Earthly hearts cannot always fathom divine reasoning. Remember, we live not in our time, but in God’s.”
“It went against her conscience, defied even her bloodlines—yet she felt something for this man. He’d broken through her resistance, made her feel decent and human again, all the way down to her bones.”
“Why had she assumed God would speak to her in some great audible sign, like a thunderclap, lightning, or a burst of fire from the sky? Had anger and bitterness made her deaf to His whisper? ‘Tell me, Lord,’ she pleaded softly. ‘I promise to listen.'”
What you should do next . . .
Follow this link to purchase For Such a Time. Read it soon & share it with a friend! ***Thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy for me to review.
About the author: A Florida girl who migrated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin lives with her husband, John, and a very spoiled cat named Coco. Kate has written several travel articles, published award-winning poetry, and her first manuscript, a Scottish historical romance, was finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction or spending time with her author friends, she’s avidly reading books, watching anything Jane Austen on BBC, or following John’s musical career as his #1 fan.
You can connect with Kate . . .
Thanks for stopping by. Blessings, friends!
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