By Melanie Dobson
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.
Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.
(Back cover summary from Tyndale Publishers)
The cover was what first drew me to Hidden Among the Stars. I mean, could it be more gorgeous and mysterious?
This novel was not at all what I expected. As I got further in to the story, it surprised me several times in the many twists and turns. I liked that it was written from the historical perspective of several teens, essentially. It was a difficult time to stand for what was right, and even more so when you’re still just trying to figure out your place in the world. I loved how Ms. Dobson explored the various ways each of these took a stand of courage, though it broke my heart at the end!
Annika, Max, and Luzia are all characters who are very much entwined with each other, though very different people. Each is unique and has their own set of motivations. I loved that this wasn’t your typical love story.
I also really enjoyed the modern element to this time-slip novel. The two balanced each other out as the story progressed. Callie is intriguing, with her love for children’s books and how they’ve shaped her. I liked seeing how she had to take steps of courage for herself, and how that looks for different people in different times.
Overall, the history of this book is fascinating. That was probably my favorite part. Ms. Dobson introduced me to several facets of WWII history that I was unfamiliar with and left me researching more for myself. The end was heart-rending and brought tears to my eyes. It begged the question, what would I do if faced with those circumstances? And how, in light of the world today, am I fighting the evil I find myself faced with?
This story is insightful, engaging, and relevant in a timeless way that leaves me with the knowledge that I will return to it someday again.
About the Author
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.
Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.
Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.
Visit Melanie online at http://www.melaniedobson.com.
(Biography from Tyndale Publishers)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.