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Hidden Among the Stars

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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 friend 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.


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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 friend 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.

30 review for Hidden Among the Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kylie D

    A wonderful story that sees Callie, a bookstore owner in small town America, being given an old copy of Felix Saltern's classic children's book "Bambi". Inside she finds the original owner's name, Annika, and also a list amongst the pages, written in German. The list seems to be of valuables such as ruby bracelets, candelabras and the like, but why are they in an old children's book? And who exactly was Annika? We go back in time to Austria in 1938, where Annika is a caretaker, along with her fat A wonderful story that sees Callie, a bookstore owner in small town America, being given an old copy of Felix Saltern's classic children's book "Bambi". Inside she finds the original owner's name, Annika, and also a list amongst the pages, written in German. The list seems to be of valuables such as ruby bracelets, candelabras and the like, but why are they in an old children's book? And who exactly was Annika? We go back in time to Austria in 1938, where Annika is a caretaker, along with her father, of an estate in the lake region of Austria. The castle is owned by a wealthy Viennese family as their summer house. Annika is in love with the owner's son, Max, but does he share her love? Or is there another that has captured his heart? We slide between the two stories as Callie, aided by university lecturer Josh, try to find out what happened to Annika, and what the list is for. She also wants to find any remaining members of Annika's family to return the book to them. Meanwhile, back in 1938 Austria is being taken over by Nazi Germany, and it is a dangerous time for many in Vienna... Melanie Dobson weaves a marvellous tale of two women, separated by an ocean and 80 years, whose lives are brought together by a simple children's book. It is an enduring story, the terror of the Nazi regime and the lives of the Jewish people devastated during the holocaust. And what becomes of Annika? You'll just have to read this book to find out... I was truly captivated by this book, devouring it in one day. I found myself racing through it to find out what happened to Annika and Max. Did they find happiness? Or did the war intervene? And what of Callie, leaving her sheltered life in the bookstore and venturing out of her comfort zone? All in all I found this book to be a remarkable story, recommended to all lovers of Historical Fiction and Family Sagas. I will definitely be seeking out more of this author's works. I rate it at 4.5 stars. My thanks to NetGalley and Tyndale House Publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    “There’s always a cost for standing up against evil…” First, one of my favorite elements of both the past and the present storylines is the significant role of children’s books in the plot. Two books in particular are key to the characters and the poignant tone of the story, but the whole contemporary thread is really a love letter to the power of children’s stories – and our memories associated with them – to anchor us and remind us about what’s important in life. I have always wanted to do what “There’s always a cost for standing up against evil…” First, one of my favorite elements of both the past and the present storylines is the significant role of children’s books in the plot. Two books in particular are key to the characters and the poignant tone of the story, but the whole contemporary thread is really a love letter to the power of children’s stories – and our memories associated with them – to anchor us and remind us about what’s important in life. I have always wanted to do what Callie does – to run a bookstore and be like Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail (#lifegoals) so I instantly latched on to her character and thrilled over all the book references and Story Girl and the old used book she discovers – which connects us to the historical plot thread. Some books, I think, can be like cats. No matter where they’re sent, they have this uncanny ability to find their way back home. The historical storyline is intriguing and bittersweet and incredibly moving. There was more than one moment where I had to stop reading to swipe at the flood of tears before I could continue. The Holocaust and the Nazi regime were horrific and cruel and inhumane, and Hidden Among the Stars doesn’t sugar coat the atrocities. Yet at the same time, Dobson tenderly weaves in grace and hope and light, like the first green shoots of spring. The last few chapters undid me with the beauty of her storytelling and the poignancy of how all the various threads tie together in exquisite perfection. The contemporary part of the plot is noticeably less intense – which lets our hearts settle a bit and lets us see ‘the rest of the story’, as it were. As Callie began to uncover answers to her search for the significance of the Bambi book, my excitement also grew with every step closer and closer to the moment when all the pieces fall into place. The two separate story threads are indispensable to each other and to the novel as a whole. Bottom Line: Make sure that Hidden Among the Stars has a spot on your TBR pile because this is a story that is not to be missed! It is emotional and gripping, and the characters will linger in your heart for a long time to come. Dobson puts faces and hearts to the history we are familiar with, and then takes us even deeper to the stories we may not have known. Along the way, we are reminded of the power of love, of the goodness of God, and of the life-changing embrace of story. It’s a novel about, as the author says, “ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way”. A must read from intriguing start to compelling finish! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Chiavaroli

    With great skill and grace, Melanie Dobson weaves the past and present together in a beautiful story of love that goes far beyond the superficial. Genuine to the core, Hidden Among the Stars captures the painful plight of Austrian individuals beneath the Nazi regime and blends them seamlessly with equally-compelling present day characters, who, amidst their own turmoil, seek answers from the past. A master at storytelling, Melanie leaves readers with an unpredictable and completely satisfying en With great skill and grace, Melanie Dobson weaves the past and present together in a beautiful story of love that goes far beyond the superficial. Genuine to the core, Hidden Among the Stars captures the painful plight of Austrian individuals beneath the Nazi regime and blends them seamlessly with equally-compelling present day characters, who, amidst their own turmoil, seek answers from the past. A master at storytelling, Melanie leaves readers with an unpredictable and completely satisfying ending. This may be my favorite book of hers so far!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Beth Erin

    Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Hidden Among the Stars is crafted with emotional depth, authenticity, and artistry! Everything about this story is beautifully intricate from the characters and their backstories to the intimate depiction of history and breathtaking landscapes. Timeless themes of love, faith, and family make this story a must read for all! This story, these characters, and the inspiring message between these covers touched my reader heart in a way that few stories do... deep, w Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Hidden Among the Stars is crafted with emotional depth, authenticity, and artistry! Everything about this story is beautifully intricate from the characters and their backstories to the intimate depiction of history and breathtaking landscapes. Timeless themes of love, faith, and family make this story a must read for all! This story, these characters, and the inspiring message between these covers touched my reader heart in a way that few stories do... deep, wide adoration! Obviously, this book is going straight to my all-time favorites shelf and I strongly urge readers to experience this story for themselves.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    *I received this book to read from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts in this review are my own.* "Please smile, Luzi." And with Max's words, I know why I allowed myself to pick up another war story and be pulled through the tears and pain of those terrible years in history. I always finish a beautiful book like this one with a gut feeling. How would I have coped in that time? How do I deal with wrong things in front of my right now? It's interesting to c *I received this book to read from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts in this review are my own.* "Please smile, Luzi." And with Max's words, I know why I allowed myself to pick up another war story and be pulled through the tears and pain of those terrible years in history. I always finish a beautiful book like this one with a gut feeling. How would I have coped in that time? How do I deal with wrong things in front of my right now? It's interesting to consider and really encourages me to do what it's right even when it seems impossible. The characters were beautiful in this story, and both the contemporary and past setting swept me away. I didn't quite enjoy the contemporary scenes as much, but they were still sweet and I liked that the author didn't rush Callie's story, even at the end. You are still left with the hope that there will be many happy days ahead for her. On a side note, I LOVED that Callie worked in a bookstore and I adored learning more of the book Bambi and its author. My heart broke in the other scenes. There's a love-triangle of sorts, but I can honestly say it's one of the few that I actually adored. It wasn't cheesy and actually held a strong focus of true love, not just frivolous feelings. The spiritual content was spot on and I loved the strong threads of salvation through Jesus Christ. I can't say a lot without spoiling, but it is indeed a sweet and heartbreaking story. Max, Hermann, Luzi, and Annika all reveal the beauty and expanse of well-rounded characters, while Callie and Josh seek to learn more of their story. I know I would read it again, so I'll be adding it to my wishlist :) Content: one social drinking scene (very brief), a rape scene (written extremely delicately...no details) (view spoiler)[ a woman becomes pregnant following that scene (hide spoiler)] , many emotional scenes, some romance and longing (brief kissing).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Turansky

    I listened to the audio version of Hidden Among the Stars and was so very touched by this WW2 story. Melanie Dobson did an outstanding job bringing that era to life and weaving it together with a modern story. The characters became very real and that made me eager to listen hour after hour. Very well written and narrated. Highly recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    “Some books, I think, can be like cats. No matter where they’re sent, they have this uncanny ability to find their way back home.” This is the story of a book that finds so much more than its way back home. And if, as Callie Randall says at one point, tears are one of the greatest tributes of all, then I spent the last hour of this book paying it immense tribute. I cried anew for the atrocities committed under Hitler’s regime, I cried for the injustice, the cruelty, and the loss, and I cried for “Some books, I think, can be like cats. No matter where they’re sent, they have this uncanny ability to find their way back home.” This is the story of a book that finds so much more than its way back home. And if, as Callie Randall says at one point, tears are one of the greatest tributes of all, then I spent the last hour of this book paying it immense tribute. I cried anew for the atrocities committed under Hitler’s regime, I cried for the injustice, the cruelty, and the loss, and I cried for the bittersweet beauty that only intensified as the story drew to its conclusion. I read the first quarter of this book in fits and starts, thanks to a busy few days, but the further I got into the story, the more spellbound I became—to the point where I knew I was just going to have to sit down and finish it or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else. I was desperate to know what happened to Annika, Max, and Luzia, but at the same time, I found the contrasting pace and feel of the contemporary story almost a relief. Although she’s not a charismatic character (unless she’s wearing her cape and her red-striped Story Girl socks while sharing her love of story with kids), I found myself appreciating Callie’s tendency toward contemplation, and I loved watching her gradually bloom under the right conditions. And the answers she uncovered only fed my hunger to know what happened to the historical characters. I love it when the two settings of a time-slip novel complement each other like that! And the writing. I’m trying to pinpoint exactly what it was that captured me about the writing. I’m not sure I can, but I found myself highlighting all over the place. All these little nuggets that I wanted to come back to and think on later. The best I can do is to say that the writing was almost…musical at times, but effortlessly and unobtrusively so. But I guess you’ve already got the idea that I loved this story, so perhaps that’s all I need to say, except that I will now be searching out more of Melanie Dobson’s books! I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia Wilson

    Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson is both a fascinating and a horrifying Christian contemporary and historical novel. It has dual timelines of 1938 Austria and present day America. It covers the most evil and brutal periods in history as the Nazis march into Austria. Characters and the reader get caught up in the depravity. There are no levels to which man will not sink to do evil. The reader is reminded of the famous words of Edmund Burke "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson is both a fascinating and a horrifying Christian contemporary and historical novel. It has dual timelines of 1938 Austria and present day America. It covers the most evil and brutal periods in history as the Nazis march into Austria. Characters and the reader get caught up in the depravity. There are no levels to which man will not sink to do evil. The reader is reminded of the famous words of Edmund Burke "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." In 1938 it felt like the world had gone mad. Evil lurked around every corner but there were good and brave men and women who were prepared to take a stand. "There's always a cost for standing up against evil." At first people were ignorant of the evil. "Hitler would hardly concern himself with the Jewish Austrians who lived in these Alps." Far too soon the innocents were caught up in the madness. " 'I've done nothing wrong'... 'Innocence is secondary in this Reich.' " The novel shows the search for justice. To right the wrongs as present day collides with the past. There is a mystery to be solved - an ancient children's novel, Bambi holds a secret but what is the key to unlocking it? We all want to know our roots. There is a search for ancestry as identity is important. How far would you go to keep a secret? How far would you travel to unravel the past? What would you do in the name of love? The novel has some difficult to read scenes as it concerns anti Semitism and the Holocaust. "How could anyone hate another person because of their ancestry?" With a time frame of 1938, the reader witnesses Kristallnacht. In present day we meet a young woman passionate about children's books. Several are referenced which is a joy for the modern reader. Family is important. Families were fractured by the Nazis as people were forced to choose the Party above all things. Melanie Dobson has written a fabulous novel that educates, entertains and horrifies. As a historian with a passion for keeping the memory alive of the six million innocents, I found Hidden Among The Stars a marvelous read that highlights the sacrifices of the few and the suffering of the many. May we never repeat the evils of the past. May we always remember the six million men, women and children who perished. And may we salute the brave people who stood up for what is right in the face of pure evil. Thank you Melanie Dobson for your marvelous story. "Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" John 15: 13. I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    A beautifully romantic world (in all senses of the word) is crafted with Dobson's pragmatically lovely style. 1930s Austria--from opulent Vienna to the wooded sea-side Halstatt, spired with castles and surrounded by alps--- are a portrait in immaculate grace tested by the onslaught of war. The treasures hidden in the pages are of grand historical interest and I couldn't wait to seep deeper into the world Maximillian will fight (with his allies) to uphold. For as long as there is art and history, A beautifully romantic world (in all senses of the word) is crafted with Dobson's pragmatically lovely style. 1930s Austria--from opulent Vienna to the wooded sea-side Halstatt, spired with castles and surrounded by alps--- are a portrait in immaculate grace tested by the onslaught of war. The treasures hidden in the pages are of grand historical interest and I couldn't wait to seep deeper into the world Maximillian will fight (with his allies) to uphold. For as long as there is art and history, nothing, not even Hitler and the encroaching Anschluss, can sully the spirit of a nation. Unfortunately, the modern frame of this piece did not resonate with me as deeply and I found myself eager to get back to the expertly woven historical. While Dobson holds a competent pen in both history and contemporary narratives, the reader easily realizes that her passion is infused in the historical portion. Nonetheless, a great, romantic read with a lush and lasting history. With thanks to Tyndale for the review copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    I'm an avid WWII Historical Fiction reader and I was drawn to this book because it deals with lost Jewish relics that the Nazis stole during their occupation. There are two story lines, one during WWII and the other in modern day but I found the story during WWII much more compelling. Callie, in modern day, was a sweet main character but there wasn't much tension in her part of the book. There is a bit of romance that is dangled for the reader, but it mainly stays in the background which I appre I'm an avid WWII Historical Fiction reader and I was drawn to this book because it deals with lost Jewish relics that the Nazis stole during their occupation. There are two story lines, one during WWII and the other in modern day but I found the story during WWII much more compelling. Callie, in modern day, was a sweet main character but there wasn't much tension in her part of the book. There is a bit of romance that is dangled for the reader, but it mainly stays in the background which I appreciated. Callie is a book lover (yay!) who includes many quotes from her favourite childhood books in her dialogue. These were a cute addition and added tidbits of info but became so common that they began to interrupt the flow of her story line. This is also a Christian Fiction read, and while some religious issues are addressed in Max and Annika's story line, this element is much more apparent in Callie's side of the story. There are some good twists in the WWII plot which keep the story trucking along and readers will enjoy seeing the pieces of the puzzle fit together. But I wasn't a fan of one of the big final twists … it just didn't seem probable. When I read it I went ’Wha?! Why?!'. I suppose I didn't think the reasoning given for the sacrifice was enough to warrant such a big act. That said, I think it would also make a good discussion in books groups, so I'll leave it at that. This is a romantic, historical story set in two different time frames and though it is set in a tumultuous time, Hidden Among the Stars is a lighter read and will appeal to readers who enjoy Christian fiction infused with a historical setting. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the publisher for providing me a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)

    The author pretty much had me by the book blurb on this novel. I love learning (yes you can learn even though you're reading fiction!) about different time periods, and happen to be fascinated with the time period that Hitler was around. The point of view that was presented in this story - Max and Annika mainly, was amazing. It's men like Max that make you smile, with their strong exterior and soft heart. In a time that was full of violence, persecution, and evil, this story reminds us that ther The author pretty much had me by the book blurb on this novel. I love learning (yes you can learn even though you're reading fiction!) about different time periods, and happen to be fascinated with the time period that Hitler was around. The point of view that was presented in this story - Max and Annika mainly, was amazing. It's men like Max that make you smile, with their strong exterior and soft heart. In a time that was full of violence, persecution, and evil, this story reminds us that there was good stories out there too, if we just look for them. Typically when I read a dual timeline book I find myself hooked on one story line more than the other. Not the case here. Let's start with the historic time period - Dobson makes you feel like you are there, scared for what's to come, but hope that you will make it through. If you stop for just a moment as you are reading, you can see the scene play out vividly in front of you. It will make you cry, it will surprise you, and it will remind you how faith is relevant today just as it was back then. Then there's Callie. First of all, she has my dream job. Owning your own bookstore and being surrounded by so many wonderful books day after day? Um, yes please! The adventure she goes on trying to solve not one, but really two mysteries is fun, exciting, and keeps you on your toes. Both stories come together in a beautiful, perfect way that will leave you sighing when you find the words "the end". I'm thinking that maybe Callie can continue to find mysterious things in old books so that we can have more wonderful stories in the future! ;) The bottom line is that this is a book historic fans and Christian fiction fans are going to devour. You may even want to set aside some time to read most, if not all of it at once. Dobson hooks you right from the beginning and I think you'll find it hard to put down! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    4.5 stars "It's a tale of two books and their owners, stories that didn't end between the covers." Trapped inside Austria during the Nazi occupation in 1938, the lives of three families intersect in a most unusual way; the son of a castle owner, the caretaker's daughter, and a lovely violinist born into a Jewish family become life lines one for another. Annika has loved Max all her life, but Max only has eyes for the one whose music flows effortlessly between the strings and the bow. When the unt 4.5 stars "It's a tale of two books and their owners, stories that didn't end between the covers." Trapped inside Austria during the Nazi occupation in 1938, the lives of three families intersect in a most unusual way; the son of a castle owner, the caretaker's daughter, and a lovely violinist born into a Jewish family become life lines one for another. Annika has loved Max all her life, but Max only has eyes for the one whose music flows effortlessly between the strings and the bow. When the unthinkable happens and families are ripped apart, it's the books that will ultimately tell the story. Years pass before Ohio bookshop operator Callie Randall runs across a vintage book, finding pages inscribed with a curious listing of valuables, carefully scripted in such a manner that the items have remained hidden in plain view. When Callie's research surrounding the antique book connects her with a nearby professor, whose own search for answers to the past includes an old picture taken on the grounds of an Austrian castle, the walls that she has so carefully constructed around her heart threaten to crumble. "You have to relive the pain to tell the stories." Thankfully, "God is infinitely more beautiful and loving and tender and kind than anything we can imagine of Him". What a lovely tribute to those whose family members became "hidden among the stars". I receive a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Clara

    I have to be honest here - this is a sad book. Immensely so. The characters' personalities, journeys and feelings are deeply woven through the pages. Added to the heartbreaking historical setting of a nation being torn, there's much to bring tears into your heart and make you question why? and how could we could have come to this? Still, the author's bravery for writing such a story is a remembrance that we are allowed and should grieve. AND we are allowed and should hope. For there is hope to be I have to be honest here - this is a sad book. Immensely so. The characters' personalities, journeys and feelings are deeply woven through the pages. Added to the heartbreaking historical setting of a nation being torn, there's much to bring tears into your heart and make you question why? and how could we could have come to this? Still, the author's bravery for writing such a story is a remembrance that we are allowed and should grieve. AND we are allowed and should hope. For there is hope to be found in the darkest of places. It takes time, boundaries, surrendering. One day at a time. But legacies can be built and that's what we strive to remember. Holding on to these great examples of courage and also the The Greatest Expectation for the future. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy. This is my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    4.5

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Baranski

    Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson. Hidden Among The Stars is a wonderful work of historical fiction that will tug at your heart strings. You will travel back in time and then come back to present day times. Be taken on a whirlwind of a ride with this story Hidden Among The Stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    There are many books about WWII and to make another book on the subject stand out it has to bring something unexplored. What this book brings is an “ownerless treasure” and encrypted messages to record what belongs to whom. Encrypted messages were also used by partisans, they had to be creative in finding new ways of communication, be it through stamps or words inserted in poems. (Explored in the book The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor). “After the annexation of Austria in 1938, the Nazis began ex There are many books about WWII and to make another book on the subject stand out it has to bring something unexplored. What this book brings is an “ownerless treasure” and encrypted messages to record what belongs to whom. Encrypted messages were also used by partisans, they had to be creative in finding new ways of communication, be it through stamps or words inserted in poems. (Explored in the book The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor). “After the annexation of Austria in 1938, the Nazis began expropriating Austrian Jewish property to use for their war preparations. Many Nazi officials kept a portion of these assets for their own pockets.” The story is presented through three characters. Present day, Mount Vernon, Ohio. Callie Randall runs a bookstore with her sister and a blog for the store. She comes across a German edition of Bambi with owner’s name of Anika Knopf dated 1932, and with unique list inscribed on the pages. She makes a post on her blog in hopes of identifying the original owner or her family. Schloss Schwansee castle on the banks of Lake Hallstatt, Austria, 1938. Annika’s father is the caretaker of the castle belonging to Darnbach family. One day, Anika stumbles upon photographs in a shoe box and a star necklace. A necklace her father confiscates. And he is a greedy man. Annika’s schooling falls short as after the death of her mother, her father needed her to take over the mother’s duties and according to him schooling was a waste of time. What gives her comfort is a book of Bambi gifted by her mom. She reads about the author, Felix Salten, in the papers. A Jewish writer who lived in Vienna. And she wonders if he left Vienna like many others. Vienna, 1938. Max Dornbach of aristocratic bloodline sees growing antisemitism, and his eyes are on a talented violinist Luzi Weiss of Jewish bloodline. Her father is a doctor, who helps his Jewish patients hide their valuables with the help of Max. As the story starts with introduction of three people, the pieces of the puzzle are spread. And as the story progresses, the pieces start coming together beautifully. And when you think you already see the whole puzzle together, it gets reshuffled again. As I mentioned at the beginning, there are so many books on the subject of WWII that when I see a new book I’m skeptical if I want to read another book about WWII. But the cover grabbed my attention and the story turned out to be very engrossing with interesting well-developed characters. What happened to Felix Salten and many other Jewish authors including German authors Margret and Hans Rey of the Curious George? “Necessity demanded that Salten disappeared from Austria, but he left behind a treasure trove of stories for children and their parents to remember what might be lost today if we don’t stand against the evil in our midst.” Felix Salten immigrated to Switzerland. Some were able to immigrate to the US, including Margret and Hans Rey. @FB/BestHistoricalFiction https://bestinhistoricalfiction.blogs...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Geaney (Christian Shelf-Esteem)

    Hidden Among the Stars is the story of a children’s bookstore owner who receives an early edition of Bambi: A Life in the Woods for her 30th birthday. From the moment Callie notices the handwritten list hidden in the text, she begins to make inquiries about the original owner. Together she and college professor Josh Nemeth are drawn into a mystery spanning back to World War II and the Nazi occupation of Vienna. Melanie Dobson has a way of drawing you into a scene; whether it’s the quaint intimacy Hidden Among the Stars is the story of a children’s bookstore owner who receives an early edition of Bambi: A Life in the Woods for her 30th birthday. From the moment Callie notices the handwritten list hidden in the text, she begins to make inquiries about the original owner. Together she and college professor Josh Nemeth are drawn into a mystery spanning back to World War II and the Nazi occupation of Vienna. Melanie Dobson has a way of drawing you into a scene; whether it’s the quaint intimacy of the Magic Balloon Bookshop or the grand beauty of Lake Hallstatt. Although there’s a stark contrast between Story Girl reading to a group of children and the Gestapo reigning terror during Kristallnacht, I could picture as well as feel the mood of each scene. Having read and enjoyed Catching the Wind (Dobson, 2017), I was looking forward to this new book. While I found some similarity in story structure, the dual timeline of Hidden Among the Stars lacked balance. For me, the historical plot was far more compelling than its modern-day counterpart. The danger, drama, and depravity plaguing the historical characters—Annika Knopf, Max Dornbach, and Luzia Weiss—beckoned me to read quickly through the more lullingly paced transformation of Callie Randall. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Callie’s character… on the contrary, the relationship she shared with her sister and Charlotte was tender. I also enjoyed how lines from children’s books would randomly pop into her mind. The bulk of the tension, prior to the last 100 pages, resided in the plight of the Jews and the interesting dynamic among the three characters of the past. Any student of history will be aware of the families broken and the lives savagely extinguished by the Holocaust. Through this story, we see that time doesn’t heal all wounds. It’s a somber and sobering warning of what we stand to lose if we don’t stand against the evil in our midst. 3.5/5 stars Christian Shelf-Esteem received a book to facilitate this review. The views and opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255 Guidelines, concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    A GREAT BOOK!!! Time-slip novels are becoming a popular way to combine a historical romance story with a contemporary timeline. Authors like Kristy Cambron, Rachel Hauck, Heidi Chiavaroli , and Melanie Dobson have used them in their writing. I do enjoy Dobson's stories because they take place during World War II and the present. As a fan of the horrors of World War II, I have come to adore these stories Dobson crafts. Her newest book, Hidden Among the Stars, is no exception. I love the plot. A tr A GREAT BOOK!!! Time-slip novels are becoming a popular way to combine a historical romance story with a contemporary timeline. Authors like Kristy Cambron, Rachel Hauck, Heidi Chiavaroli , and Melanie Dobson have used them in their writing. I do enjoy Dobson's stories because they take place during World War II and the present. As a fan of the horrors of World War II, I have come to adore these stories Dobson crafts. Her newest book, Hidden Among the Stars, is no exception. I love the plot. A treasure hunt in a castle by a lake. How interesting. The past timeline captures my attention and doesn't let go. I love learning about Annika, Luzi, and Max as the story unfolds, showing their troubles and their dilemma. I loved each of the characters and enjoyed spending time with them as they moved through the issues arising during the Nazi's reign of terror. As for the contemporary timeline, I really love how Dobson introduces Callie and Brie with the bookstore. It reached out to my book-loving heart and made me want to visit a bookstore with a castle in the back. What would be better than to slide down a slide in a bookstore? I want to visit this bookstore in Ohio. The present story didn't disappoint either. It flowed nicely, and I loved following Callie as she hunts for answers from her copy of Bambi. The romance in the past is a love triangle. Max loves someone. Annika loves someone. But does Luzi love someone? Have to read to find out. The romance wasn't overdone. It moved at a natural pace, even though there were plenty of roadblocks in the way. The present day romance is not too forceful either. I do think the ending was a little rushed for Callie and a certain someone, but I bought it because the story was leaning toward that way anyway. Overall, Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson is a nicely woven together plot featuring a treasure hunt from World War II that affects the modern day timeline. The end result is a truly unforgettable story populated with heroic characters, a love of literature, and the God who holds the key to true beauty. I believe fans of Dobson's other works, Sarah Sundin, Kristy Cambron, and Susan Anne Mason would love spending time lost in this story. I know I sure did. I received a complimentary copy of Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson from Tyndale Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

    I could not put this book down! From the very first page this story gripped me thoroughly. Reading anything set in such a place and time can sometimes be difficult and emotional, but I found it to be very uplifting and hopeful. I have always been interested in the history of the Second World War, so I had great expectations about this book and wow it did not disappoint! I recommend this book for all lovers of history.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Just Commonly

    O, what history lines the pages of Melanie Dobson's Hidden Among the Stars! Read with caution, but be assured there will be satisfaction by book's end that it was indeed a good book. A book transpires back and forth between modern day and the evil days when more than life was lost, fear reign and faith sparked courage. I love the beginning of the story. I love how it's a search in a book, stemmed from the character of a bookseller, to what is history divulging itself. And might it add it was from O, what history lines the pages of Melanie Dobson's Hidden Among the Stars! Read with caution, but be assured there will be satisfaction by book's end that it was indeed a good book. A book transpires back and forth between modern day and the evil days when more than life was lost, fear reign and faith sparked courage. I love the beginning of the story. I love how it's a search in a book, stemmed from the character of a bookseller, to what is history divulging itself. And might it add it was from a classic children's book nonetheless? There's a juxtaposition on how heavy the premise and setting (WWII portion of this dual-time novel) to what is just pure and light children literature can be. Yet, the parallel and the choice of Bambi in Hidden Among the Stars is not lost on me (or is it me reading too much into it). What we read soon goes into a treasure hunt, a story of bravery in the midst of chaos and a bit of historical horrors to a message of hope, of light in the midst of all. There'll be moments our hearts flutter with intrigue, but also ache with grief and distress. There will be distrust and despair, but also an anticipation to see to the end, knowing and trusting the end will be there. In the midst of devastation, still finding hope. It was a hard book for me to read. It's so beautifully woven together, though one may be drawn into late 1930s Austria and refuse to go back to modern day Callie, but it was hard for me to continue because of the emotional grasp it held. It's always difficult for me to read war-time novels, especially those of such historical details and relative accuracy in the feel. Callie's story acts as a connecting piece, but also one to break up the dramatic poignancy of Annika's, while giving readers a moment to take a deep breath. Hidden Among the Stars is well crafted, brutally honest in its rendition of historical accounts in a time best to let go, but never forget. Brutally may be too strong, but it'll impassioned readers in nearly 400 pages of heartfelt entertainment for sure. Literary indulgence and fervor in this novel that will take more than days to release from your mind! This review first appeared on Just Commonly blog. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denise Hershberger

    This was an interesting perspective on WWII. I've read a lot of WWII era novels and this was the first one I've read where the premise was specifically more about lost heirlooms being returned to people. Timeslip novels are always a little risky. Sometimes I only end up liking half of the book and barely even skim the other half. Dobson did a great job of keeping me engaged in both parts of her book. I think it really helped me a lot how interwoven the two were. Throwing in a mystery certainly di This was an interesting perspective on WWII. I've read a lot of WWII era novels and this was the first one I've read where the premise was specifically more about lost heirlooms being returned to people. Timeslip novels are always a little risky. Sometimes I only end up liking half of the book and barely even skim the other half. Dobson did a great job of keeping me engaged in both parts of her book. I think it really helped me a lot how interwoven the two were. Throwing in a mystery certainly didn't hurt anything either! One of my favorite parts about this book was the bookstore that Callie and her sister own. I was really impressed by it even just through the pages of the book. I loved that she did a story time with kids. I also love her website - but I'll let you read the book to figure out why! I really enjoy WWII era books because they can be educational or at the very least reminders of things that happened in the past that we must truly never forget. They usually aren't easy books to read - but they are important. Because even in fiction we can remember the atrocities and be reminded that we must do better. I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    Hidden Among the Stars is a beautifully crafted story that takes the reader from the pleasant stacks of a lovely bookstore and its gracious ladies through time to Austria and the years just prior to World War II. The descriptive language of Melanie Dobson prevailed upon this reader to take my time and bathe in the lovely scenes and word pictures. The emotions of contemporary protagonist Callie as she reads to children in the bookstore - children that include the young child of the man that left h Hidden Among the Stars is a beautifully crafted story that takes the reader from the pleasant stacks of a lovely bookstore and its gracious ladies through time to Austria and the years just prior to World War II. The descriptive language of Melanie Dobson prevailed upon this reader to take my time and bathe in the lovely scenes and word pictures. The emotions of contemporary protagonist Callie as she reads to children in the bookstore - children that include the young child of the man that left her at the alter, are hurting and tender, accepting and gracious. The terror and daunting fears of Jewish Austrians at the encroaching Nazi onslaught bring the reader to breathless anticipation and tears. As I said, a beautifully crafted story the conclusion of which was a true surprise and joy. I highly recommend. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the Tyndale Blog Network reviewers program on behalf of the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    The author has woven a story that begins in 1938 and flashes to the present eighty years later, and when we begin we know that the characters are somehow connected, but how, yes, we think one way and then another. Through the written words we experience the beautiful area of Austria, and unfortunately, also the evil that is lurking to destroy a group of people because of their beliefs. I found the bookstore charming, and could just see the rapture in the eyes of those children as they enjoyed the The author has woven a story that begins in 1938 and flashes to the present eighty years later, and when we begin we know that the characters are somehow connected, but how, yes, we think one way and then another. Through the written words we experience the beautiful area of Austria, and unfortunately, also the evil that is lurking to destroy a group of people because of their beliefs. I found the bookstore charming, and could just see the rapture in the eyes of those children as they enjoyed the stories read to them. We see how the children’s story Bambi, written by a Jewish author, helps bring this book together, and in the end, works to bring families together. Lest we forget, a book that is a reminder of a dark time, and also of a rebirth. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Tyndale, and was not required to give a positive review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lizzy Bueckert

    This book was hard to read in the sense that it hurt my heart so much. Such a terrible time it must have been to live through. A wonderful book even though at times it was hard to read through the tears. I loved it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roseanna White

    Just WOW. Beautiful, masterfully crafted story! I enjoyed the time-slip aspect and how they two stories wove together. This one packed a punch! Some of the twists I anticipated and some I DEFINITELY did not!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    Incredibly powerful. One of my favorite reads of the year.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Owl._.

    have to say, I really enjoyed this book. The story was well told and flowed beautifully from past to present throughout the entire book. It was story not often told about WWII and I loved how it didn't focus on the concentration camps but rather on the lost treasures of so many families. It was a moving story about sacrifice, love, hope, and survival. This is my favorite genre of historical fiction to read. I have read many books that take place during the Holocaust and this is one I will defini have to say, I really enjoyed this book. The story was well told and flowed beautifully from past to present throughout the entire book. It was story not often told about WWII and I loved how it didn't focus on the concentration camps but rather on the lost treasures of so many families. It was a moving story about sacrifice, love, hope, and survival. This is my favorite genre of historical fiction to read. I have read many books that take place during the Holocaust and this is one I will definitely recommend. Thank you #netgalley and #tyndale for the eARC.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    This book was amazing! I loved the dual timelines and I loved the search for answers. WWII is one of my favorite time periods, and this had one timeline in WWII and the other in the modern day. I loved how the stories connected. I received a copy from the publisher to share my thoughts and opinions. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jodie Norquist

    First off, there was much I enjoyed at first about this book - the plot, the characters, the writing. I loved that Callie had a bookstore and classic children’s books were featured prominently in this book. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished with the book when I discovered it was considered Christian historical fiction and I realized what bothered me about this book. The author detailed the feelings and thoughts about faith when it came to the Gentile characters, but where were the Jewish tra First off, there was much I enjoyed at first about this book - the plot, the characters, the writing. I loved that Callie had a bookstore and classic children’s books were featured prominently in this book. It wasn’t until I was nearly finished with the book when I discovered it was considered Christian historical fiction and I realized what bothered me about this book. The author detailed the feelings and thoughts about faith when it came to the Gentile characters, but where were the Jewish traditions and equally profound faith of the Jewish characters? It’s about Jews being persecuted during the Holocaust for crying out loud! If it was there, it was superficial at best. Look, I’m Christian and I have enjoyed some Christian-based fiction. But I felt a bit duped reading this book. Perhaps I should have done more research and known earlier it had a Christian slant, or maybe I should read it again and I missed the parts where the Jewish characters cling to their faith in times of great peril as tightly as the Christian characters. But I’d rather read historical fiction that is more balanced. I wish I loved this book, I truly do. It’s the type of fiction I enjoy. But this book was off mark.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Erickson

    The story starts off right before WWII breaks out. I have not read too many WWII books set in Austria so it was interesting to read about the Nazi Occupation in Austria during that time. Annika, Hermann, Luzia, and Max are the main characters in the story. Each of them has an important part in the story. Annika is a young girl that is secretly in love with Max Dubach- her childhood friend. Though Max is deeply in love with Luzia. - a Jewish girl. I liked Annika's character but she kind of bugged The story starts off right before WWII breaks out. I have not read too many WWII books set in Austria so it was interesting to read about the Nazi Occupation in Austria during that time. Annika, Hermann, Luzia, and Max are the main characters in the story. Each of them has an important part in the story. Annika is a young girl that is secretly in love with Max Dubach- her childhood friend. Though Max is deeply in love with Luzia. - a Jewish girl. I liked Annika's character but she kind of bugged me at the beginning. She let her jealousy get the best of her. Annika's family is the caretaker of Dubach's estate. One evening she finds a Star of David among Max mother's things. Is Max family Jewish? And what does that mean for her friend? Max and Hermann are helping the Jewish by rescuing their precious gold and heirlooms and burying them in the Lake so the Nazi's can't find them. Soon they enlist Annika in helping them. She, of course, agrees because she would do anything for Max. In the modern day story, we are introduced to Callie. Callie owns a bookstore with her sister Brie. Callie is a lover of books and has often dreamed of escaping to the places mentioned in her books. Growing up her childhood wasn't the greatest. Her father was absent most of her life and she never knew her mother. She raised Brie practically on her own. She met Charlotte when she was just a little girl and Charlotte became the 'mother' she desperately needed. Charlotte I think is suppose to be in her 80s (she was 7 when the Nazi's raided the orphanage). She was adopted and never knew her birth mother/family. She always has wanted to know but never could find them. When Callie meets Josh- a history professor will she have the chance to reunite Charlotte with her family? First off, this book starts off very slow. Not really much happens during the first half of the book. What occurs during these pages sets up the rest of the book and it speeds up from there. So you have to be patient when reading this book. However, the end is so worth it. I teared up at the end! With that being said, it is a hard book to read. It's set during a dark time in our history and not many people want to think about it or talk about it. I won't spoil the ending but the mystery of Charlotte and who her mother was - is heartwrenching. This book reminds us to love our neighbor. No matter their lifestyle, sex, race, religion, etc. Human life is something that is precious and sacred. What we do for others speaks volumes about our character and love for each other. Each character grew a lot in this story. Especially Annika. She started off being very timid and Naive. Through all the trials she faced in the story - she grew up and became more confident and courageous. Luzi wasn't really written into the story that much in the first half but she became an important character later on. So much bad things happened to her- I just wanted to give her a hug! Though despite of it all, she pushed through and I admired that about her character. The one thing that did gripe me just a little is that Melanie tended to describe everything. From what the people were wearing (not just the color but shape, brand, etc.) to what the subject was viewing or doing. While I don't mind some descriptive writing - I felt it was a tad overdone. Also, this was a dual time period story. I thought both time periods were well written. I didn't feel like a preferred one story over the other. I found that Callie mirrored Annika in many ways. Both in personality and life mission/purpose. Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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