This is a clever novel. Breslin has taken the biblical story of Esther and generally recreated it in the Nazi era. I was impressed with the author's skill. It's a great plot and a clever parallel to Esther's story.
There is a heroine, Stella (Hadassah Benjamin), who is taken into the service of SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt. She will be his secretary but he also has eyes for her. He is in command of the transit camp Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. She is powerless to halt the transition of her own people – on the way to Auschwitz.
She has an uncle, Morty, who she is surprised to see in the camp. He encourages her to have as much redeeming influence on the Kommandant as possible. And there is even the disgusting Captain Hermann, a man filled with ate toward the Jews.
The way Breslin has crafted this novel is downright clever. On its own it is a great historical novel. She shares in the Author's Note that much of the setting and events of the novel are based on historical fact. The character development is superb. The plot is believable and progresses very well. There is lots of suspense and some romance too.
This is Breslin's debut novel. It is so good I'll be eagerly looking for her next one!
Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. This is her first novel. She lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. You can find out more at http://katebreslin.com/.
Bethany House, 430 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.