Thursday, September 2, 2021

Review: The Light in Hidden Places

The Light in Hidden Places The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wow. I began reading this book yesterday and finished it today. I didn’t realize it was based on a true story until I started getting to ugly parts of hat the Germans were doing and there were no resolutions to the horror. I also liked the author’s voice. Told in first person, the author tells the experiences of Fusia’s life in Poland during WWII with the slight detachment of a person that lived through the horrors of that time and place. It is abundantly clear that the author immersed herself in the life and times of this woman. The “voice” and POV sounds like an Eastern European woman that tells her story but does not belabor the ugly parts. But they are there. Stephania “Fusia” last name a Polish name that I can’t spell or say became an unwitting savior for 13 Jews due to her experiences and God given goodness. She finds herself living with a Jewish family that have her working in their store when the Germans invade. There is too much in this book to cover in one review so I will give broad strokes of the most striking moments, which is difficult to do.

Fusia’s story gives the POV of a Christian teenager in a German occupied Poland. She is left alone at the age of 16 after her Jewish “family” are put into a ghetto, deported, or just disappeared. She goes to her childhood and family home to find her mother and siblings gone. They have been sent to work for the Fatherland. Except Helena. Helena is the youngest of the children at six years old. She was left in the unfortunate care of a neighbor then saved after some months by Fusia. I loved, LOVED Helena. I can’t say more except that she is clever and observant. She understands the part she must play and uses her childish innocence to fool the officers. Most of the time it works. Apparently, the author spent quite a bit of time with the real Helena in order to write this book about her sister. 

Honestly, the story is amazing but not unbelievable. The author injects Fusia’s concerns about the risks she is taking as she slowly realizes the true danger she is putting herself and, above all, her sister in. I also loved those three moments described in the book when Fusia feels completely hopeless and overwhelmed and the world goes quiet around her as she is somehow encircled by the arms of God and the path opens up to her.

Beautiful story of heroism of a teenage girl who takes on the responsibilities of adulthood far too young but with her eyes wide open.

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