This year, I’ve started reading World War II fiction in addition to the non-fiction I usually read. My first foray into this fiction was Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson.
The story switches between 1939 and throughout the war to current times. In the World War II era, the story follows Max Dornbach, and Austrian in love with a Jewish woman. At Max’s family’s summer home, Annika Knopf is the caretaker’s daughter who has been secretly in love with Max for years. At first, Max covertly hides valuables on the summer estate; the valuables have been given to him by Jewish people who are afraid of losing their possessions. Then, he enlists Annika’s help, though helping Max is dangerous as her father is a staunch supporter of the Nazis.
Then, when Max shows up at the estate with his Jewish girlfriend, Luzia, Annika agrees to help hide her. Because she loves Max so deeply, Annika takes care of Luzia and befriends her.
The present time story follows Callie Randall, a woman who runs a bookstore with her sister and is unmarried and without children. She orders an old edition of Bambi and finds a list inside the book that she wonders may be a list of items hidden during the Holocaust. The list is Annika’s, which leads Callie, along with a local university professor, on a hunt to Max’s summer estate to try to find the hidden items.
They find much more, including the complete story of Max, Annika, and Luiza.
I greatly enjoyed this book though it felt a little forced and contrived at times. Rarely in life do things come full circle in a perfect way as they do in this book.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.