…… as the audience gasps, boos and yells …. Simon Cowell sits stone-faced …. dramatic pause …. I LOVED IT!!!! The audience erupts with shrieks of joy and the contestant falls on the ground in relief. Now, I’m not saying I’m on the same level as Simon Cowell, although, I do believe in being very honest. Just because a book is in the Christian genre, doesn’t mean we have to like it, or say it’s good when it’s mediocre. And there is a much higher standard that we have to put anything called “Christian” up against … the Bible, God’s Word. All that to say … I LOVED Hidden Among The Stars.
First, to explain what a “time slip” story is. Basically, there are two stories in different time periods, with something that bridges between the two. The story may be driven by a family relationship or a quest or any of a number of options, helping to connect the past, present or future. Hidden Among The Stars is this type of story. We read in the present and then we read in the pre-World War II era, when Hitler was just taking over Austria.
Melanie Dobson makes the transitions very clear, by chapters. It helps a lot that the past is written in third person narrative and the present is written in first person.
There is some romance, but it’s handled very well and is nicely incorporated into the story without making it the main focus, and with no “electric cheese”. That deserves a star right there.
I can’t speak of the story, because I leave the author’s summary to do that, they know best what they want to reveal. But I will speak of the craftsmanship of the story telling. It is beautifully laid out, very clear, nothing ambiguous. There was just enough description to help you see where you are and what the people are looking at, without it being cumbersome or repetitive. It was so good, that when the story ended, I didn’t even notice that the plot reveal has been done before, in different variations. Like a magician, who makes a trick that’s been done before look brand new, this is what happened for me. It actually took me a few hours or a day to remember similar scenarios in other stories.
Normally, I don’t like simile and metaphor, but like the plot reveal, it took a while for me to realize that I had been reading a lot of simile and metaphor naturally woven into the story.
Definitely, get this one and Happy Reading!!!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book as a gift. The opinions I express are provided without obligation for a positive review. I receive no compensation for the review, other than a really good read.
About the Book
Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars
Author: Melanie Dobson
Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)
Release date: September 4, 2018
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.
Click here to purchase your copy!
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 www.melaniedobson.com.
Guest Post from Melanie
Hallstatt’s Hiding Places
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.
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The Power of Words, September 7
Multifarious, September 7
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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
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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
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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, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the HERE to enter.