A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own.  Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.


Hidden treasure, secrets, friendship and a story that will captivate readers hearts and imaginations…

As history unfolds in this gripping, new novel by author Melanie Dobson, readers will find themselves not only captivated by Hidden Among the Stars endearing characters, but absorbed in this time slip book’s two simultaneous stories that are masterfully tied together by an imaginative and creative author. While rich in WWII history, this book takes place in 1930’s Austria as the Germans invade and in the life of present day bookstore owner, Callie Randall. With subtle, yet powerful morals such as friendship, loyalty, equality and choosing what is right, this novel is perfect for both contemporary and historical fiction readers.


A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a Tyndale House Publishers historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

A ★★★★★ Book Review of Hidden Among the Stars, a Tyndale House Publishers historical fiction novel by Melanie Dobson

★★★★★ || I’ll be the first to admit, the Hidden Among the Stars cover is what initially drew me in for this novel. (…And they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.) With my love of historical fiction and a particular interest in WWII fiction, I was excited to begin this novel. From the first three chapters, I was completely hooked; it was quite the page turner! This time slip novel has two stories happening simultaneously, one that happened near Lake Hallstatt in Austria in the late 1930’s, and a second story that takes place in current day, both of which I found completely intriguing.

The characters are both endearing and relatable. As a book lover, I enjoyed Callie’s character very much and as an introvert, found my self connecting with her on a deeper level. Author Melanie Dobson weaves a heartwarming story through her characters as they face loss, overcome trials, maintain loyal friendships and fight to choose what is right.

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this novel. It was all I’d hoped for and more. I’d no sooner finished the story and I wanted to read it again! The story was entertaining, moved along at a pace that kept me interested, held a bit of mystery and suspense as well as certain elements of faith and friendship that were very impactful. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and descriptiveness very much. So much, in fact, that I’ve already searched our local library for her other books as well.

While reading the story, I saw this post from Crazy4Fiction.com on social media about the author’s trip that sparked the idea for this novel which I found fascinating. I know much time, work and love goes into creating a story of this magnitude and I think Melanie Dobson executed this piece magnificently.


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.. - Synopsis from Hidden Among the Stars


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Image courtesy of  http://melaniedobson.com .

Image courtesy of http://melaniedobson.com.

Writing historical and time-slip fiction is Melanie Dobson’s excuse to immerse herself into the past by reading old books, interviewing experts, and exploring fascinating places across the United States and Europe.

Melanie is the award-winning author of twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels. Three of her novels, Chateau of SecretsThe Silent Order and Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, have received Carol Awards, Catching the Wind received the Inspirational Fiction Audie Award, and The Black Cloister was named the ForeWord Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, she was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of Dobson Media Group.

Melanie met her husband, Jon, in Colorado Springs, but since they’ve been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times with Jon’s work including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. Along with their two daughters, Karlyn and Kiki, they now enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific, and they enjoy serving together with the orphan care ministry in their church.

When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys teaching, dancing, and reading inspirational novels.

Learn more about Melanie at http://melaniedobson.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


Lastly, pick up your own copy of Hidden Among the Stars or borrow it from your local library.  Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below! 


 

A ★★★ Book Review of Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

* Note: All thoughts below are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.  However, this blog post does include affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Image via Goodreads.com

Image via Goodreads.com

★★★ Book Number 44/50  |  In keeping with my WWII themed books, I chose Love Finds You in Victory Heights via my online library. This story opens a look into the life of the women and men who made a difference here in the United States while many fought the war abroad.  The main character, Rosalie, a riveter at the Boeing plant in Seattle, WA struggles after the death of her fiancé and a family member as a result of the war.   In the midst of her struggles, she finds God's salvation, freedom from her the weight of guilt, and love, all while touted as Seattle's own "Rosie the Riveter". 

I gave this book three stars because it was cute and an easy read.  I loved that Rosalie found salvation early in the story.  I enjoyed the characters and learning about each one more as the story unwound.  At times, I felt much of the book was written after a major event had already happened in the characters' lives.  I would rather have read the story as they walked through those major events, but it was still a great book and yet another accurate look at life during World War II. 

My favorite part was perhaps the peek into the women who worked so hard to build the incredible machines that helped end the war and make America one of the leading Allied forces.  These women paved the way for women's rights, women's independence and equal rights in the workforce. 

Mama taught me that a girl’s good looks soon fade, while what’s in her heart just keeps getting more beautiful.
— Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss, Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington

Pick up your own copy of Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington here or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

Learn more about Tricia Goyer here and about Ocieanna Fleiss here.


 

 

A ★★★★ Book Review of When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom Book #3) by Sarah Sundin

* Note: All thoughts below are my own. I was not compensated to write this review.  However, this blog post does include affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Image courtesy of www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

★★★★ Book Number 43/50  |  With America in the throes of World War II, this story allows us a personal glimpse of the brave men and women who stepped up, doing whatever it took, to aid the war effort.  This book opened an exciting look into the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), the U.S. Navy's reserve program for women. 

Like Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm (see my review here), this book was a love story/mystery.  After having read the Wings of Glory series by same author, I found myself wishing these books were simply love stories with more complex characters.  In When Tides Turn, as well in Through Water Deep (Book #1), I didn't feel like the mystery added anything to the story. I found myself wanting to rush through those parts of the books so I could get back to the beautiful dynamic between these two characters and their innermost thoughts.  Sarah Sundin did a great job of creating characters that we could easily identify with in their personal struggles.  While the characters' backgrounds weren't complex, they did discover more about themselves and about each other throughout the story.  In addition, I enjoyed the fact that "gang" from the first two books continued their stories in this one and we are able to read more about where they left off. 

I gave this book four stars because it is a delightful, easy read with likable characters and fantastic history, thoroughly researched by the author.  However, I wanted, and even expected, a little more from this author for the characters in this book and the Waves of Freedom stories.  Again, I wish the mystery had just been left out all together, but overall, I still found myself laughing or feeling distraught as Sarah Sundin brought the characters to life. And any author who has Pinterest boards available for her readers to coordinate with each book is a winner in my opinion! It was so fun to browse those boards while reading these stories!

Even if you take side trips or spin around or veer off the path, the compass stays true. You can always find your way.
— Sarah Sundin, When Tides Turn

Pick up your own copy of When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3) here or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below!

P.S.  I also highly recommend the Wings of Glory series also by Sarah Sundin!

Learn more about Sarah Sundin here