Hate can be powerful. But, so is love.
The Light in Hidden Places, by Sharon Cameron was published earlier this year. The novel tells the story of Stefania Podgórska, a Polish-Catholic teenager who saved the lives of thirteen Jews during World War II.
In 1943, Stefania is working for the Diamants, a Jewish family who owns a grocery store in Przemyśl, a small town in Poland. Over the previous four years, she has become like family to her employers. That relationship includes a secret engagement to one of their sons.
Then the Germans invade and everything changes. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto with thousands of other Jewish residents from the area. Now Stefania is on her own with the responsibility of taking care of her younger sister. A knock on the door reveals that Max, one of the Diamant’s sons is alive. He is the first of thirteen Jews that the the sisters will hide.
As the war progresses, the danger increases. Anyone found hiding Jews will be executed. The danger grows exponentially when Stefania is forced to house German soldiers. Up to this point, she has been forced to make decisions that are painful and difficult. The final decision will be the most painful and difficult to make.
I loved this book. It was well written, gripping, and a wonderful reminder that love can still exist when hate takes over. On a personal note, I was touched by the book because it hit close to home. Przemyśl is close to Dobromil, the shtetl that my mother’s maternal line called home for generations.
I absolutely recommend it.