Melanie Dobson has done it again. She has masterfully created a story of the past intermixed with a story of the present in such a way that readers cannot help but become entrenched in the lives of those discovered in the pages of Hidden Among the Stars. While not everyone will find these stories as enjoyable as this reviewer, those seeking deeper emotional connections with characters will be more than adequately rewarded. Perhaps it is wrong to state so boldly, but Melanie Dobson is an author that seems to hit her mark with every book she creates.
The story of the past takes place during the late 1830s and 1840s in Austria. This World War II/Holocaust tale is beautiful, harrowing and will linger in the minds of those who read it long after the last page is turned. Dobson handles the gruesome details in such a way as to provide the horror of the atrocities without the graphic descriptions. It is hard to imagine all that Max, Luzia and Annika endured, but their triumphs and crushing disappointments are very real.
Callie Randall is the modern protagonist and her thoughts and feelings jump off the pages of the book and into the reader’s heart. Very willingly romantics will follow her as she unravels the stories of the past and creates her own story. This development of the modern Callie fills one with joy coupled with sadness as Callie discovers more about the lives of Annika, Max and Luzia. This is a potent, emotionally charged romance which is written in an almost poetic fashion. A great read, but be ready to feel emotionally exhausted by the end. Can’t wait to see what Dobson writes next!
Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Tyndale House Publishers
Violence/Gore: Several instances of individuals being threatened with weapons; scenes describing how SS men abuse their captives, but not in vivid detail; a person is shot, blood mentioned; descriptions of soldiers destroying homes and abusing the occupants; mention that people are taken to concentration camps and after torture are killed; a person is killed in a fire; a man attempts sexual assault, but is stopped.
Sex/Nudity: A man attempts sexual assault, but is stopped; a woman is raped, but no detailed description; someone calls a person a whore; mention of prostitution; non-married characters kiss and embrace.
Mature Subject Matter:
Concentration camps, Holocaust, death of family members, prejudice, rape.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Report that a person consumes lots of alcohol and is often drunk; adults consume wine.