A Father’s Promise
Author: Donna Lynn Hess
Published: February 1987
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“[You are] either a German or a Christian; you cannot be both.”
Adolph Hitler’s ominous statements seem only a distant threat to eleven-year-old Rudi Kaplan. But when the Nazi forces invade Poland and bomb his home city of Warsaw, Rudi finds out that he is Hitler’s enemy not only because he is a Pole but also because he’s a Jew and a Christian.
The next few years change Rudi’s life forever. With only his imprisoned father’s promise that they will be reunited after the war, Rudi must learn how to survive in hiding, how to be truly brave, and how to overcome the hatred of his enemies. He must learn to die to himself and to trust the God who is mightier than any army.
I read this book so many times as a kid! My mom always loved it, it was assigned reading in elementary school, it’s published by BJUP, so of course I was gonna read it, but then I fell in love and read it over and over again through my school years. It’s such a great book to help teach kids about WWII and the Holocaust without being too graphic.
**Fair Warning**: It is a very Christian book and if a kid hasn’t had any exposure to the Bible, then they aren’t going to understand certain portions of this book.
This reading completely surprised me by making me cry through the whole book. Never once have I shed a tear when reading A Father’s Promise. But this time, the same story that I’ve known and loved almost my whole life, made me weepy! Rudi and his father’s faith never wavered, even in a time of such horrible circumstances. Seeing the struggles of the Polish people under the Nazis, even before deportations, and in a way that is appropriate for kids, hit me in a new way. I would absolutely recommend this to any kid, even those who haven’t heard Bible lessons. It’s such a great educational tool!
In 2017, both Kim and I read and reviewed Santa Claus is For Real by Charles Edward Hall. Kim reads it every year and even writes to Mr. Hall! This is a book that shows the magic that Christmas can and does have! This year Kim decided to have a video review:
Silence for the Dead
Author: Simone St. James
Published: April 1, 2014
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?
Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.
If you want a good ghost story, St. James provides! I have read multiple books by her and she satisfies every time! Occasionally, she throws in a little too much drama that has nothing to do with the ghost story itself, but thankfully it’s never enough to ruin any of the books for me. I absolutely adored Jack Yates, England’s hero of WW1. Is it weird that I had Henry Cavill in my head every time Jack walked in??
Kitty is a strong protagonist that carries the story so well. I thought the resolution to the supernatural problems at Portis House was a little anticlimactic, but all my questions were answered. Even the things separate from the ghosts ended in a good way that I enjoyed. Portis House is an amazing setting and all the patients were complimentary to the story. I wouldn’t suggest faking a nursing resume . . . But if I find a mental institution like Portis House, I may have to just pretend! And there were many times while Kitty was on night shift that creeped the crap outta me! St. James is the queen of the chilling scenario. I would recommend Silence for the Dead to anyone who likes historical fiction and even occasionally a good ghost story! I very much enjoyed this book.