“I am Sam.
Sam I am.
Do you like
Giggling and chanting that rhyme, we proudly danced into our mother’s room with a plate of scrambled eggs with a dash of, you guessed it, green food coloring.
Apparently, Mommy is not Sam I Am because she found that she did not like green eggs and ham. She just couldn’t bring herself to take a bite.
The famous Dr. Seuss book is only one of many that I read growing up, having a deep love for reading instilled in me since I was very little. I have traveled throughout the ages and all over the universe, known and unknown, through books and am thankful to the many authors who helped shape my life, even from the time I was a child.
Hidden Among the Stars
by Melanie Dobson
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date September 4, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Ohio, Austria Contemporary, World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-35
Written for: Adults
From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.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.
I would like to thank Celebrate Lit for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
I loved the way children’s stories were threaded throughout the book. As a co-owner of a children’s bookstore and as the real live Story Girl, Callie was intimately acquainted with this genre. Her philosophy about the importance of being selective about the books that children read is one that I appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with. Comparing the types of books to various kinds of food was very clever. Are the books you read healthy, are they like a junk food diet, or are they simply poison?
Hidden Among the Stars was very rich and compelling. While it dealt with some of the atrocities against the Jewish people, it was handled very tactfully and carefully so that it was not gruesome or depressing. Very few details were given of any violent acts.
I appreciated the way that Max loved Luzi so deeply that he was willing to sacrifice for her. Despite the fact that she did not encourage him at all, he continued to pursue her and watch over her to the best of his ability. In addition to that, he was not influenced by his father’s cold heart and just knew that what the Nazis were doing was wrong.
Callie needed to face her fears. She had been hurt deeply, first by her parents, and then by her fiancé. As a result, she closed herself off from adventure and spent her life with her sister’s family and at the bookstore but never branched off beyond that. When she was challenged to travel, it took almost more than she thought she could give to get her onto the airplane.
There were many rich insights from the Scriptures. Insights about the nature of God filled the pages as well. As the characters struggled with questions about how a good God could allow such terrible things to happen, they discovered truths that helped them to deal with their pain.
Hallstatt’s Hiding Places
by Melanie Dobson
Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.
The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.
Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.
Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.
When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.
The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.
Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.
After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Austrian Jewish people continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.
Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.
Reading Is My SuperPower, September 6
Fiction Aficionado, September 6
Back Porch Reads, September 6
Among the Reads, September 6
The Power of Words, September 7
Multifarious, September 7
lady ansel book vibes, September 7
The Becca Files, September 7
God’s Little Bookworm, September 8
Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 8
Painting with Words, September 8
Lis Loves Reading, September 8
cherylbbookblog, September 9
Living LIfe Free in Christ, September 9
Madeline Clark, September 9
Mary Hake, September 9
Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 10
Genesis 5020, September 10
Faithfully Bookish, September 10
Simple Harvest Reads, September 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Margaret Kazmierczak, September 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, September 11
Daysong Reflections, September 11
Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, September 11
Seasons of Opportunities, September 12
Remembrancy, September 12
Inklings and notions, September 12
amandainpa, September 12
Maureen’s Musing, September 13
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13
Just Commonly, September 13
Book by Book, September 13
Connect in Fiction, September 14
Pause for Tales, September 14
Have A Wonderful Day, September 14
Splashes of Joy, September 14
The Christian Fiction Girl, September 15
Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 15
To Everything A Season, September 15
A Baker’s Perspective, September 15
proud to be an autism mom, September 16
Bibliophile Reviews, September 16
Bigreadersite, September 16
Aryn The Libraryan, September 16
By The Book, September 17
Christian author, J.E. Grace, September 17
Janices book reviews, September 17
Texas Book-aholic, September 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18
Carpe Diem, September 18
Godly Book Reviews, September 19
For The Love of Books, September 19
Live. Love. Read., September 19
Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 19
To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes:
- a $25 Amazon gift card
- Catching the Wind paperback
- Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.