Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens.
Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria. Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux, France, dangerously ill and in despair.
Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.
Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.
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Growing up as a youth in war-torn, Nazi-occupied France, Julien Losier finds his very identity threatened by the horrifying and devastating effects of war. At the young age of fifteen, this can be extremely daunting for a teenager and can inflict huge psychological damage.
In "How Huge the Night," Heather and Lydia Munn portray the unseen and unsung heroes of World War 2, as they grapple with hunger, racism and war, in a world not of their own making, struggling to come to terms with heart-searching questions about the goodness of God in the midst of conflicting ethnic tensions in communities torn apart by war.
The devastating horrors of war, the selfless heroism of adolescents triumphing in the face of overwhelming adversity and the significant choices they made are vividly portrayed as the authors deftly weave together the lives of ordinary people who promptly chose to focus their immediate attention on those in dire danger and protect them safely from harm. This historical novel, a most inspiring and compelling coming-of-age drama, will inspire people to reflect thoughtfully on the choices they make each day and the cost they have to pay to make those choices.
Whenever I read a historical fiction story that is based on true events I always love the fact that I am learning a bit about history that perhaps I might never really know alot about otherwise. With How Huge The Night the authors do an amazing job of weaving together fact and fiction, to transport us back to the days of WWII, seeing the events of the time thru the eyes of two teenagers Nina and Julian, while I knew at some point their stories would meld I wasn't sure how they would connect.
The characters in this story are completely believable and it is very easy to imagine the things that they are going thru. Julian is your typical teenager, he isn't a man but neither is he really a boy. He isn't really happy that his family left their home in Paris to move to the farm in southern France with his grandfather, he is dealing with issues such as trying to fit in at school, not to mention trying to get along with Benjamin the Jewish boy who has also moved in with his grandfather. As Nina's father is lying on his deathbed he makes Nina promise that she will take her brother and leave Austria.For me their parts of their story was heart wrenching, and I found myself praying that they would be all right.
I found this to be a compelling story that has many lessons woven in. A coming of age story during a difficult time period where the characters display great courage faith and hope. While this book is geared toward young adults I would easily recommend it to older adults as well.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 3 for How Huge the Night
An Exceptional Debut Novel with a Compelling Story
One of my topics of great interest is the treatment of the Jewish people during World War II. My interest was spurred by the assigned reading of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ in sixth grade. So when I read the synopsis of ‘How Huge the Night’ by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn, my curiosity was piqued. Here is the synopsis of this novel: Based on Actual Events. When Had God Ever Stopped A War Because A Teenager Asked Him To? For fifteen-year-old Julien Losier, life will never be the same. His family has relocated to southern France to outrun Hitler’s menace. But Julien doesn’t want to run. He doesn’t want to huddle around the radio at night, waiting to hear news through buzzing static. Julien doesn’t want to wait. Angry, frustrated, and itching to do something, Julien finds a battle everywhere he turns. Soon after his family opens their home to a Jewish boy needing refuge, Julien meets Nina, a young Austrian who has fled her home by her father’s dying command. Nina’s situation is grave and Julien suddenly realizes the enormity of having someone’s life or death depend on…him. Thrown together by a conflict that’s too big for them to understand, each one struggles to know what to do, even if it is not enough. Is there a greater purpose in the shadows of this terrible war? Or will their choices put them in greater danger? Here are the biographies of this daughter/mother author duo: Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland of American parents and grew up in the south of France where her parents and grandparents worked as missionaries. She decided to be a writer at the age of five when her mother read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books aloud, but worried that she couldn’t write about her childhood because she couldn’t remember it. When she was young, her favorite time of day was after supper when the family would gather and her father would read a chapter from a novel. Heather went to French school until her teens, and grew up hearing the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, only an hour’s drive away. She has a BA in literature from Wheaton College and lives in a Christian international community in rural Illinois with her husband, Paul, where they offer free spiritual retreats to people coming out of homelessness and addiction. She enjoys wandering in the woods, gardening, writing, and splitting wood. Lydia Munn was homeschooled for five years because there was no school where her parents served as missionaries in the savannahs of northern Brazil. There was no public library either, but Lydia read every book she could get her hands on. This led naturally to her choice of an English major at Wheaton College, where she earned a BA in literature. Her original plan to teach high school in English gradually transitioned into a lifelong love of teaching the Bible to both adults and young people in southern France, where she has also been church planting, since 1983. Ten of those years were spent in St. Etienne, near the small town in the central mountains of France that provides the settings of How Huge the Night. She and her husband, Jim, have two children: their son, Robin, and their daughter, Heather. Here is the trailer for this interesting book: <iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QW8jYcMsHHI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> Several characters have a strong faith in God. Here is Julien, one of the main characters, early on in the story: Julien looked up. The moon was gone, and so were the stars, and he was on his knees. “God,” he whispered. His voice was dry. “God. Please don’t let them get to Paris. Please keep…everybody…safe.” He sounded like a child – and God bless Mommy. When had God ever stopped a war because a teenager asked him to? The image came back, the tanks firing, the recoil, Vincent’s face grinning. He could never be a soldier. Never drive a tank. It was unbearable. I want to do something, God. Let me do something. Please. The word serve rose in his mind, the word protect, but he couldn’t even think them; it sounded stupid. What did he know how to do? Do the dishes, play soccer. Split wood. (pp. 16-17) Another strong man of faith was Pastor Alex. He advocated action against evil: Then Pastor Alex spoke of evil. He spoke of the Nazis and the things they did. He spoke of Kristallnacht, and Julien clenched his teeth. He asked if we must sit passively by while evil overcomes good. Julien lifted his head. Pastor Alex leaned forward. Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t kill your enemies.” Would Jesus simply command us not to act in the face of evil, he who won the greatest victory, who conquered sin and death? No, friends, no. What did Jesus tell us to do to our enemies? Love them. “Jesus,” said Pastor Alex, and his voice almost shook. “Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Father, offers us this chance to be his brothers and his sisters and to fight as he fought; he gives us his weapons, the Father’s weapons, the weapons of the Spirit.” He sounded reverent, almost in awe. “The weapons of love,” he said. “Fearless love.” Julien sat straighter. Fearless love. Even if he was never a soldier. Was that what Pastor Alex was saying? He could still fight. (p. 101) There were two different storylines alternating through the book – that of Julien and his family, and that of the brother and sister, Gustav and Nina. It was interesting how the two stories converged toward the end of the book. In the Historical Note (by Heather) at the end of the book, she explains how much of the history is based on fact. She also explained why she (along with her mother) wrote a book set in this time period: One of the reasons this period of history fascinates me is choices. In France under the Nazis, people made all kinds of choices. Some got rich off the black market; some through collaboration. Some used the Nazis for revenge, feeding them true or false information against their enemies. Some followed Petain unquestioningly; some just survived, as attentistes, “wait-ists,” who chose not to get involved. Some vowed to fight the Germans to the bitter end and started the Resistance, which in those early days seemed completely doomed. And a few, like the people of a village in central France called Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, chose to focus on those in the deepest need and danger, and protect them from harm. (p. 302) Heather closes out her Historical Note this way: At the end of the book, Julien expects his country to be under Nazi domination for the rest of his life. This also is accurate. There was no good reason, then, to think otherwise. It is with no hope in sight that the people of Le Chambon trusted God and did what they could for the people they saw being persecuted. Sixty-five years later what they did is still remembered. I hope it always will be. (p. 304) I really liked this book. It was interesting to get inside the mind of young people who lived in France in 1940. It must have been a scary time, both in terms of what was happening with Hitler and Germany, as well as the normal hormonal trials of teenagers. Although this book is categorized as Teen Fiction, I think it appeals to all age groups. It is a terrific book to encourage a young person to read; they may not have previously been aware of the events of World War II and Hitler’s persecution of God’s Chosen People. This book would be a great introduction. And it is written in an interesting and engaging style, which would appeal to all ages. This book was published by Kregel Publications and provided by them for review purposes. Reviewed by Andrea Schultz – Ponderings by Andrea blog – http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com
A teenager's choices during the darkness of World War II will change him forever.
Julien is a fifteen year old, dismayed at having to relocate from Paris to Tanieux, his father's hometown in southern France. His father will teach in a new school in this village. In the early stages of World War II, Julien's father is hoping that the Germans will not invade that far into southern France. Julien is treated like an outsider, a condition that worsens as his parents take in a Jewish boy, Benjamin. Julien sits in church on Sunday but has trouble refraining from fighting his antagonistic schoolmates during the week. Julien's family listen to the news of the Germans invading Holland and Belgium. Despite the heroic actions of the Dutch, the Germans are on their way to France. Julien faces a serious decision. Is he willing to have Benjamin stay, even if it puts his own family in danger? The situation becomes all the more serious as Paris falls to the Nazis and the French government surrenders. Unknown to the people in Tanieux, their lives are about to become more complicated. Julien sees two ragged teenagers get off the Tanieux train. The stationmaster is determined to send them back to where they came from. Food in Tanieux was rationed and there was no extra for refugees. But Julien helps to see that they are able to stay in the village, hidden from the antagonistic mayor, stationmaster and his son, Henri. When the Henri finds out the refugees are still in the village, he confronts Julien, whom he despises. Julien must face his own hatred of Henri. Can he love his enemies, as his faith in Jesus requires? What will happen to the refugees? Will Henri tell his dad who will see them sent to the Jewish camp?
In the Munns' novel, the village of Tanieux represents Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a village of 3,000 people in southern France. Far from the occupied section of France, this village saved, over the course of the war, the lives of more than 3,000 Jews. They took people into their own homes and fed them, even as the French government was collaborating with the Nazis. Every home hid Jews, sometimes for years. No refugee was ever turned away or denounced.
This is a great novel for teen readers. Issues of loyalty, prejudice, and forgiveness are dealt with in the story. A great discussion guide at book's website makes this novel a fine choice for teen reading groups. You'll also find a glossary for the foreign words at that site.
I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review.
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Review 5 for How Huge the Night
True to life writing!
Date:June 18, 2011
NIGHT by Heather Munn & Lydia Munn This book really caught my attention. It is the story of war, and how it affects many different young people, who aren't quite adult enough to fight, but are old enough to know what war is about.
Julien is unhappy, he didn't want to move from Paris France, where his friends were, to the little town in Southern France where his father was born. He knows no one there, and can't understand why his father insisted they move. Benjamin, a young Jewish boy, doesn't want to be there, he wants to stay with his parents in Paris, and go to school, but his parents insist he live with the Losier family to be safe from the Nazis..
Nina and Gustov, who left home when their father passed away, according to his instuctions, and suffered hunger formany weeks, before finally arriving in Tanieux.
It isn't a light read, it is very realistic, and very well written. I really feel that the authors knew of what they were telling, and I give them high marks for making the book something that they can be very proud to have their name on the cover.
I recieved this book from Kregel Publications to read and review. No other compensation was given. All opinions expressed here are my own, and I am not required to give a favorable review.
Holy moly, this was a FANTASTIC book! It's a light read by any means. With a subject line of Nazi's and WWII, it is FAR from light. In fact, it has more of a slower, dark feel to it. But, with that said, Heather and Lydia Munn have put their talented authoring skills together and created one captivating, emotional read!!!
This book was written in a way that EVERYONE, young readers and old, can fully grasp the knowledge of the happenings during WWII. It truly amazes me that that time in history was as bad as it was. When I read a book like this, I can completely engross myself so that I feel the actual turmoil of each and every character. They become real to me.
Julien and Nina's characters were both so compelling. I loved how their stories unfolded in an incredibly deep way. I watched both of these young people grow to understand the deeper meaning of kindness and acceptance. I watched how they learned right from wrong, how they help onto the faith and over came the many horrific obstacles of unkind intentions from those around them, in a time when the world was so filled with hatred and cruelty. It was truly amazing.
I recommend this based on true events book with the highest 5 star praise. I warn you, though. This book is not a LIGHT read. It is a wonderful novel if you are looking for that historical book filled with wonderful characters and deep meaning. It is a book that will be with me for a long, long time to come, and one that I will pass along to my friends and family. These talented ladies have taken a horrific piece of history and turned it into a meaningful, emotional, and fully gripping novel. Well done, ladies!
This was a delightful book. I enjoyed the historical context very much. I've been going through many of my father's old slides and even some old 8mm film from his days while stationed in Germany in 1952-53. Even though it's fifteen years later, seeing and listening to stories about that time make it seem all that much more real to one who was born long after the fact.
The Munns do an excellent job of bringing pre-war France to life through description of both places and characters. Lydia (the mother) had originally written this story quite some years ago. Heather now brings it even more to life and together, they provide a story that is both believable as well as engaging.
When Julien, the main character, goes through a variety of experiences (rejection, discouragement, elation, anger, a near-death experience and more), his faith is tested each time. Being able to "look in" on Him and these trials helped bring an awareness to me of the way I deal with the testing of my faith. Julien doesn't always appear to sail through each time with a God-pleasing focus; neither do I. There is a delightful reality to his faith that I found brought a tremendous piece of real life to this novelization of real events.
While Julien is the main character, I think one of my favorite people in this story is his grandfather. He is a man, shaped by many years of work and faith, filled with wisdom forged in the fires of life, and an anchor for Julien in the early days of World War II.
Due to the threat of Hitler’s war, fifteen-year-old Julien Losier and his family moved from Paris to the small town of his father’s upbringing, Tanieux, France, but it is not to his liking. He’s treated like an outcast at school, but perseveres to make friends. The family opens their home to a Jewish boy, Benjamin Keller, who is also from Paris, and he, too, is immediately ostracized at school.
Nina Krenkel of Vienna follows her father’s death-bed command to take herself and her brother, Gustav, to Austria and to burn their papers–they were Jewish. Through deep trials, they arrive at Tanieux, France. Nina is sick and emaciated, lying on death’s door. Julien befriends them, and through the help of the pastor’s wife and his mother, they attempt to hide them from the town.
Although this book is mostly a confined read about the intensity of a small family and their interactions to hide Jewish children, it is definitely far from boring or mundane! It brings to light the extremes a family will go through to help the helpless in a time of war and extreme danger. The choice of Julien’s family to hide Jewish children is portrayed in such a warm, caring and loving way, though it was a dangerous proposition.
The whole story is believable as the circumstances and conversations unroll. The danger is palpable, the animosity true to life. Tension builds as France surrenders to Hitler. Though Tanieux is unoccupied, demands of the regime keep unfolding. It brings to light the horrors of WWII right into your living room. The war makes you question yourself, whether you would be willing to do the same amidst the animosity and the threats of death. Your faith is tested just as Julien’s family. What would your response be? What would God require of you?
This story is based on the true story of the town, Le Chambon, the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust.
This book was provided by Amy Lathrop, of Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
I loved this book, we tend to forget what these poor people went through with Hitler coming to power. This is Julien Losier story, a fifteen year old from Southern France, and Nina Krenkel [Niko] a Jewish girl from Austria. There is also the Losier family, and Benjamin Keller a Jewish boy who comes to live with them. The story includes every day life before the thick clouds of danger start to descend on the people of Tanieux. The people of Tanieux show what it is to be a Christian. They give whatever they to those in need, and people live out their faith in Jesus no matter the cost
I really loved the fact that even though this story is fictional it is really based on fact according to the Historical Notes at the end of the book. Wish there was another book in the story, would like to know how all of the character's stories finish.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications and Litfuse Blog Tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Reading "How Huge the Night" was like reading two books at the same time. Chapters alternate between Julien’s story and Nina’s story. The two seem unrelated through much of the book and don’t intersect for quite some time.
Julien’s story fascinated me. A teenage boy taken from his home in Paris to live with his grandfather in his father’s hometown, Julien is quite upset. He tries to fit in, but, though his family is from the area originally, the other boys in town see him as an outsider. Things only get worse when Benjamin, a German Jewish teenager, comes to live with his family for safety’s sake.
Did I mention the story is set in World War II?
Nina’s story disturbed me. When her father dies, she cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy, and flees Austria through Italy to France with her younger brother. Two Jewish teenagers, alone and destitute, travelling through Europe, seeking safety, and trusting no one, one is hopeful and determined, one is terrified to the brink of near insanity.
Though I heartily recommend the book for adults, I have to question whether Nina’s part of the story is appropriate for all adolescents, the age group this book was written for. Maybe it’s okay. I recommend that parents preview the book and carefully consider what their kids are ready to read. Teenagers should know that World War II was atrocious, but they don’t need all the specifics. Parents should determine what their kids are ready to know.
"How Huge the Night" is a well-written historical fiction story based on actual events. It presents World War II through the eyes of teenagers trying to escape its horrors, trying to find God at work in the midst of them, trying to do right in the midst of so much wrong. Julien’s mentors—his parents, his grandfather, and his pastor—are strong, giving him just enough guidance as he makes big life choices. Overall, I recommend this book.
The Litfuse Publicity Group sent me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
How Huge the Night by Heather & Lydia Munn is a compelling story of the German occupation of France during World War II through the eyes of two teenagers. Julien is angry when his family moves from Paris into the countryside of Tanieux to escape from Hitler's growing power. He resents the loss of his friends and what is familiar for hard farm work and a new school where the boys are led by arrogant Henri. He is even more upset when his parents take in a Jewish boy named Benjamin who will also attend the school and never seems to look up from his books, except to insult Julien or give an answer in class to show up the rest of the boys. Meanwhile in Austria, Nina's father's dying wish is for her to take her younger brother Gustav, pretend to be a boy, and get out of the country before they are captured and sent to a camp for being Jewish. The plan seems doomed from the start when the rabbi who was to help the siblings to safety has been arrested, and the man they turn to for aid instead attempts to rape Nina, sending them on a wild race for their lives into the night. The story alternates between Julien's growing maturity as he struggles to understand how to fight someone with weapons of love as his pastor suggests and Nina's battle to keep her brother alive that soon becomes a giving up on life for herself. The stories come together when the siblings arrive in Tanieux and Julien helps them find safe refuge but even that is questioned when Henri threatens to turn them over to his father who will send them to a refugee camp, where Nina will most certainly die. The daughter/mother author team, Heather and Lydia Munn have really brought these based on real events to life, by sharing them through the eyes of Julien and Nina. Julien seems like a very average teenage boy, obsessed with soccer and fitting in with the other boys, angry at his parents uprooting him from all he knows, torn at his grandfather's stories of their Huguenot heritage. He matures as the story unfolds, learning to think about someone other than himself, deeply regretting words spoken in the heat of the moment, and finally coming to understand that you can't win someone's heart by fighting them. Nina's story is haunting and chilling as she experiences so much evil, more than any young girl should see, so much that she decides to give up on life. This is a quiet, yet powerful story of personal strength, faith, and sacrifice.
Live the life of a French youth during the years of World War 2…. Julian Losier, a 15 year old, think life will never be normal again. New home, new school and dealing with new friends is all part of his struggles. He finds himself resenting the young Jewish boy that his family has taken in. But as time goes on, Julian finds himself growing and learning when to not bend and what is worthwhile to stand up for. Meanwhile, you get the story of Nina and her brother, trying to escape and survive at her father’s dying wish.
This story was incredible! You will find that you will see this era in a whole new light, from the southern French side of it. You read of the struggle to survive and best of all, this book is written without any fluff or romance for those who are looking for clean historical novels for their teen readers. Written by a mother and daughter, this book is amazing! I felt like you could feel the worry, the hunger, the parts they had to play during this time. I highly recommend this read!-
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Review 13 for How Huge the Night
This book is a really good read.
Date:May 15, 2011
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This is the first historic novel I have ever read about what it would be like living in Europe during World War 2. My parents lived in Holland during this war and have told me some of their experience so I thought having the opportunity to read How Huge the Night might fill me in with more details. Many people who live in war times, don't like to express their experiences so I appreciated reading this book. In the back of the novel, the authors do provide references of what information is actual facts. If you like to know more about this war, then How Huge the Night will be of some help to you. How Huge the Night is a fiction book but based on real events.
It took me a few days to open the book because I was not sure of what the book would involve. Going through these type of experiences, causes feelings of fear on behalf of many. My son is a member of the Armed Forces so I was unsure of how I would react. After being introduced to the various main teenage characters, who are Julien, Nina, and Gusta, each person had to face their own conflicts of hiding, running, death, and fears. They are challenged about God's existence and His goodness. Don't we face the same issues in our days as teens and adults? The authors cleverly deals with these issues and helps us out too in handling these situations. At the end, we could ask ourself, if I was placed in a war, would I be willing to help the persecuted or not be involved with the welfare of others.
How Huge the Night keeps your interest from beginning to end and is written for young adults and adults. It's a book that gets my recommendation for good reading!
This book was provided for free to me for review by LitFuse Group and Kregel Publications. Julien Losier age 15 has recently moved with his parents and younger sister from Paris to the town of Tanieux. Tanieux is a small town in southeastern France. Tanieux is the town where his father was born and his paternal grandfather still lives. Julien's only memories of this town was visiting his grandfather during Christmas time, "a winter town, a cold, stone village huddled on its hillside." Julien's father is a teacher and his mother originally from Italy has a beautiful operatic voice. The year is 1940 and Hitler's Wehrmacht is marching across Europe, and soon they will be in France. Julien's parents have taken in a boarder, a young Jewish boy named Benjamin. Also weaved in to the story is Nina and Gustav. They are young teenage siblings living in Austria. Their ill father makes Nina promise to leave the country after his death. Nina and Gustav's plight is out of desperation and obedience to their father. I read this book in 48 hours. I could not put the book down!
There are 3 significant things that I loved about this book. 1. The story is based on real events that happened during World War II. The town of Le Chambon sur-Lignon saved 5,000 Jewish children from death. This to me was miraculous! A town of Protestant people, descended from the Huguenot's defended, protected and kept safe 5,000 children. They were Jewish children unloved and hated by the many (Nazi's) that were intent on eradicating them. 2. The use of environment or facial expressions, or props to deepen the impact of the story for the reader. Some examples are: Julien asked his mother about her experiences during World War I. "Moma looked at him, her face half in shadow.... She was looking at the candle as if it was the last light on earth. He stared at her.... She did not look at him. They sat for a long time, watching the candle quiver in the dark..... She looked at him, and her mouth lifted in the ghost of a smile." This way of writing has a huge impact, it grips the reader drawing you in, grabbing your heart and twisting it a little. Another example: "They sat in silence, while outside the open window, the evening sky darkened slowly into night." We know from this that the characters fear what lies ahead. They also feel their lives are descending in to the night--the abyss of uncertainty. 3. Christian belief lived out in action. How often I read fiction books that are full of Bible verses (which I love God's Word), yet the characters are mere puppetry. How Huge The Night makes an unforgettable impact because the people live out their faith in Jesus no matter the cost. I am reminded of what Ed McCulley stated in Beyond Gates of Splendor, "I have 1 desire now to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength in to it." That my reader is bold, vibrant, FAITH!
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Review 15 for How Huge the Night
Gripping and believable
Date:May 10, 2011
Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier is not excited to find himself stuck in a tiny village in southern France. He’d rather be back in Paris. But that is not possible. Hitler is on the move, and the family’s ancestral village is much safer. Julien must adjust to being an “outsider,” and there are plenty of village youths ready to remind him of his low status. It doesn’t help when his family takes in a Jewish boy. How will Julien ever get accepted now?
This coming-of-age story drew me in quickly with vivid characters and a compelling storyline (based on actual events). The writing is crisp, descriptive, and gave me a sense of what everyday people had to endure during Hitler’s occupation of France in World War II. Along with Julien’s story, the book alternates with the gripping story of a Jewish brother and sister escaping Austria. The author ties in these two plot lines very well, and Julien comes to grips with who he is and how he should face his problems. A great book, which kept me turning the pages. (And I loved the historical note at the end!) This book would work great as a novel for a unit study on WW2.