When a brave woman arrives in town with several terrified, starving children, 15-year-old Magali knows she's found her purpose. She joins Paquerette in persuading the Nazis to release children from concentration camps---so they can lead the little ones to freedom in France. But will Magali's courageous actions bring danger to her family? 320 pages, softcover from Kregel.
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Whenever I read anything connected to the Holocaust, I am deeply moved. I can't imagine the horrors that happened to an entire race of people simply based on what other people thought of them, that they were less than worthy of living. It is hard not to be impacted in a deep sense that these things really happened and they are not the works of fiction. In the novel, Defy The Night by authors Heather and Lydia Munn, the story chronicles the lives of women who were moved to save the children that found themselves in refugee camps and later became detention camps. This happened before these camps would later be turned into concentration camps by the middle of 1945 and would involve the mass murder of men, women and children in the Holocaust.
While many people still died in these camps, due to lack of food and water and health care, this story is about the time when people running these camps still had compassion on children and would allow them to be released into the care of women who would care for them and find suitable homes for them. Most of these children would remain orphans and would carry with them the memories of these camps for the rest of their lives.
This novel centers around a young girl Magali who knows she must do something more with her life than simply find a husband and begin a family. On the whispers of a pending war, France still remains free while Hilter and his army slowly begin to absorb taking over country's one by one. Food rationing is a must and Magali grows frustrated with her life. She can't stand the fact that they have to do without while Hilter takes everything that doesn't belong to him and makes her and her family have to struggle just to find ways to survive. She hopes that some day things will be different. She grows frustrated that even her closest friends are refugees from other countries and they remain shell shocked by the horrors that they have brought to their town, always on the watch for German soldiers.
Magali gets an idea to find a way to help those hurt most by the war when a young woman named Paquerette arrives on the train with orphans from a detention camp. Malnourished and in desperate need of medical care, she helps her arrange to have the children cared for by the town's mission homes. She learns that Paquerette is legally moving these children away from those camps and giving them a second chance at life, even if their parents never leave. It is a offer of hope that Magali finds too hard to pass up. She learns that Paquerette could use her help if only she convince her parents to let her. But after seeing what Hilter can do, her parents are hard to convince. They do offer to let Magali go once her studies have been completed just so she can see the horrors of what is really going on outside their small town in hopes, she will never want to return. But that will not be the case!
I received Defy the Night by Heather and Lydia Munn compliments of Kregel Publications for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are strictly my own. I love how elegantly these women did their research into what was happening to Jewish families just prior to WWII, how they were at first moved to these camps as refugees, then were detained as a way of cleansing the country of their presence and moved into detention camps where families were forced to endure deplorable conditions and serve in labor camps. Most people died just based on the conditions of the camps, the lack of food and water being given just bread and water most times to survive on. The French did it as a way of appeasing Hitler so that the French Jews would hopefully be left alone. It shows the basis for what would later be deporting this people to Germany as a way of meeting Hitler's quota for Jews to be exterminated in concentration/death camps later as the war progressed. I applaud their efforts to share this novel and the basis for creating an awareness that most never knew about or even considered. It makes us all wonder just what we would do should something like this occur again. I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and hope that everyone picks this one up!
I will finish the book but it seems to be written for the tweens age group. It is rather childlike and boring to me. Except for the French expressions that you won't know what they mean if you don't speak French. I am not impressed with this book. Too much money for what you get and not a very long book.