Title: Hidden among the Stars
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: 04 September 2018
Genre: Historical FIction, WWII, Time Slip, Christian
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.
The stories go back and forth in the time between the present day where the main protagonist is Callie Randall and during WWII the points of view shifts among Annika, Max, Luiza and Hermann. Thanks to Melanie Dobson, I have discovered that this kind of writing is known as time slip fiction, where stories with two (or more) interconnected timelines. The author takes the reader along for the journey of discovery through family history, research, documents and even time travel.
As with most WWII historical fiction, the reader will grapple with understanding how people who were once neighbours, friends and colleagues were able to overnight become enemies. Through the Callie and Brie, Dobson is able to subtly show the impact of literature as they search for clues with the help of famous Austrian and German authors and how they were shaped by society. Honestly, I had heard that the original story of Bambi was somewhat connected to the Nazis but I had never thought much about it until I read this book.
I have read a lot of books about the WWII in my short life but this one of the few that left me with the lingering thoughts about how one man’s selfish ambitions can devastate nations and generations. Maybe in a sense, his legacy will remain for over a thousand years. I would highly recommend this book if you are curious about the people’s lives leading to the Holocaust in Austria and the lasting effects throughout the years.
One thing that I am still not sure about is the meaning of the title, Hidden among the Stars. I have a couple of theories but I would love to discuss it in a non-spoiler way in the comments section.
You might also like:
- The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr
- Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar
- The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War by Elaine Roberts (Forthcoming Review)
Note: This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions shared are the Reviewer’s own.