Saturday, February 29, 2020
Review: The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron
There is so much to share about this book. I know I will forget to share a lot of it. But I will share how much I loved this story. How much I adored the characters. How much I hated what happened to so many during this war. How much it broke my heart but how this story healed it a bit too. Five stars for this most precious one.
This book is set in Poland during World War II. It tells the story of young Stefania. A Catholic girl who has spent the past few years working for this very lovely Jewish family at their store. She have worked her way into their hearts, and them into her heart. We get to know a little about them all and I simply adored the Diamants. I loved how Fusia felt right at home with all of them. But then the bombs arrive. The war has come to town. The Germans arrives. And everything goes wrong. It takes some time for Fusia to believe all the horrible stuff that is happening to Jews in her town. She does not truly get it until it happens to her found family. This whole story was so heartbreaking. Beyond sad and real and it hurt my heart most of the time. But interesting and exciting too.
We get to know Fusia a whole lot. A little bit about her family, whom she left behind to go work in a bigger city for the Diamant family store. Her life is good. She is secretly engaged to one of the young men in the family, Izio. Getting to know this family was the best. But also the worst, as I knew what was coming when the war arrived. Izio and his brothers left town for a while. But came back again, as there was nowhere to go. At first nothing happened for a while, after the bombs. But then the Diamant family is forced to move.
They were forced to leave their apartment and their store, forced to leave all their belongings, and go live in a fenced in ghetto with all the others Jews in their town. It was so horrible to read about. This book is from Fusia's point of view. She is safe from the army, the enemy. But not really. Because she is not okay with leaving her family to starve and maybe die in an awful place. She tries to help them as best as she can. She sneaks them food. But it is not enough. And it is not safe for her to do this any of this, not at all.
And then she also ends up having to care for her little sister, Helena, whom is only six. She doesn't know what to do in a lot of this book. But she does something even so. She helps anyway that she can. She try to help Izio escape from a different work camp he got sent to. But this goes wrong and he ends up dead. Which was so sad to read about, as she did love him. But she slowly gets past that. Because there is so much she needs to focus on. How to not starve and freeze. How to get a job, how to keep her sister safe.
It is about her relationship to her Jewish found family. About what happens to all of them. And how Izio's brother, Max, need her help. How he does not want to die too. And so he begs her to hide him. To let him live with her and her sister. And to have her hide more than him as well. Fusia spends a little time thinking about it. But she cannot refuse. She has to help. And I loved her for that. Helping meant death if anyone knew. The German army hurt the Jews in this story so badly. And Fusia did everything she could to help.
Which is what this book is about. It is about Fusia trying to help Max and others. It ends up with her hiding thirteen Jews in a very small attic. It was beyond dangerous. And it was beyond thrilling to read about too. They were all so brave and had to go through so much. I loved getting to know Max. I loved how he and Fusia started to get closer over time. It was adorable. But this book was mostly about survival. Trying to survive the very worst war, being afraid at all times. It was an epic story about one girl and her big heart.
This book is filled with awful things. Fusia witness a lot of bad things happening. There are a lot of death. And it was all so beyond real. Because this war truly happened. This book is even based on a true story. Stefania was a real person. And what she did was real. Which made reading this book even more painful, knowing it had all happened to someone. I have not read about the real Fusia, not yet, but I will. This war was the worst thing to ever happen to humans. And I hope beyond everything that it won't happen again.
There was so much I loved about this book. I loved how strong and brave and loving Fusia was. I adored her relationship with her little sister. And I loved how brave she was too. I so completely loved Max. Then there was the setting of this story. It was beyond heartbreaking. But so very good too. The Light in Hidden Places is such an important story. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Heartbreaking but hopeful too. It is a must read book. And I will say that I loved every part of this book. It was so very good.