I could not put this book down, more than a page turner, I consider it to be an outstanding story and one I will not forget!
This book was provided for free to me for review by LitFuse Group and Kregel Publications.
Published April 30, 2011 by Kregel Publications
Fiction but based on real events/304 pages
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If you would like to read more information about the true story based on this book, I found a few links:
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.
"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.
I highly recommend this book! This book would be excellent for book discussion in a school classroom, or book club. I recommend this book for ages 5th grade and up.