Hidden Among the Stars

Hidden Among the Stars

by Melanie Dobson

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Overview

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496417329
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 208,194
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of more than fifteen historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels, including Chateau of Secrets and Catching the Wind. Three of her novels have won Carol Awards, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010. She loves exploring cemeteries and ghost towns, hiking in the mountains, and playing board games with her family. She lives with her husband and two daughters near Portland, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

ANNIKA

LAKE HALLSTATT, AUSTRIA MARCH 1938

The blade of a shovel, cutting through frosted grass. That's what she remembered most from the spring of 1938. In the year that followed, on the darkest of nights, she could almost hear the whisper of digging again. The sound of Max Dornbach calling her name.

"Annika?" His confident voice bled into the fluid sounds of that evening, but her heart took on a rhythm of its own, twirling like the feathery seeds of dandelion caught in an Alpine storm.

How did Max know she was hidden behind the pines?

When she peeked between the branches, he was looking straight at her. Reluctantly, or at least attempting to appear reluctant, she stepped out from her haven, into the cast of blue moonlight, Vati's winter coat buttoned over her calico chemise.

Temperatures had dipped to near freezing again, but Max wore a linen shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Strength swelled under those sleeves, arms that had rowed a wooden fuhr boat around Lake Hallstatt nearly every summer of his seventeen years, carving his muscles like the fallen birch her father liked to shape into benches and chairs.

"What are you doing out here?" he asked, though she should have been the one questioning him. He'd awakened her when he snuck by the cottage she and her father shared in the woods.

At first she'd thought it was Vati who crept by her window, on his way to the tavern, but then, in the beam of light, she'd seen the threads of blond in Max's brown hair, the shovel resting against his shoulder as if it were a rifle readied for battle. She liked to think he'd purposely rustled the branches because he'd missed her these winter months as much as she'd missed him.

"You woke me." Annika took another step toward him. "I didn't know you'd returned from Vienna."

"My parents wanted a holiday."

The Dornbachs visited at Christmastime, but rarely in the spring while Max was studying in Gymnasium. Unlike Annika's father, his parents thought an education with books and such was important.

"I'll tell Vati you're home," she said. "He can light the furnace."

"It's not necessary." Max stomped the heel of his boot onto the shovel to remove another pile of earth. She imagined the rust-colored clumps yawning after their hibernation this winter, shivering in the frigid air. "My father already lit it."

She hadn't realized Herr Dornbach could do such things on his own, but then again, even after living fifteen years — her entire life — on this estate, Annika knew little about Max's parents. Neither Herr nor Frau Dornbach bothered to befriend someone beneath their rank. Certainly not their caretaker's girl.

Annika scanned this knobby plot of land, harbored between the pines. "Why are you digging at night?"

When he shook his head, refusing to trust her with this, her heart wrenched. She'd never told another soul any of his secrets. Not about the dent in Herr Dornbach's motorboat four summers past or the gash in Max's leg that she'd helped wrap or the evening he'd cried when he lost Pascal, the pet fox he'd rescued from the forest.

Pascal now rested peacefully in this piece of earth along with numerous rabbits, four cats, two squirrels, and a goldfinch, each grave marked by a pyramid of stones that Max collected from the cliffs on Hoher Sarstein, the mountain towering over his family's estate.

When they were younger, Annika had helped Max conduct a service for each animal, solemnly crossing herself as they transferred the care for these animals over to Gott. Once a laugh slipped from her lips, as they'd been reciting the words from Job.

"But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand upon the earth: And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, Then without my flesh shall I see God. ..."

They'd been burying a beetle named Charlie in the dirt, and the thought of this creature standing before a heavenly being, his six spindly legs trembling in awe, made Annika laugh. Looking back, it wasn't funny — irreverent, even — but she was only eight and quite nervous at both the thought of death and the unknowns surrounding the afterlife. All she could see was a frightened Charlie, feeling as small as she would feel under the gaze of the almighty God.

Max hadn't invited her to another funeral since that summer, seven years past. She thought he'd stopped burying his pets, but apparently he'd been burying them in the night, when no one would ridicule him.

She moved closer to the hole. A cloth seed bag rested near the shovel, partially hidden behind Max. "What are you burying?"

"Oh, Kätzchen," he said, shaking his head. He'd called her kitten since she was in kindergarten. As if she were one of his pets.

Annika's hands balled into fists, and she buried them deep in Vati's pockets. "I am not a kitten."

Max resumed his work. Blade against earth, determined to conquer the soil. When she lifted the bag, he swatted her away. "That's not for you."

"Did you lose another animal?" she asked, still holding the cloth rim. It was heavier than she'd expected.

He shook his head again, this time more slowly. "I fear we're about to lose everything."

This new tone frightened her. "I don't understand."

He scooped out two more mounds of dirt, and she dropped the bag into the hole. Then he pushed the dirt in and smoothed his shovel back and forth over the ground as if he were trying to iron out the wrinkles. "Come along," he finally said, hiking toward the wall of pine trees that separated this plot from Schloss Schwansee, his family's castle.

"What's wrong, Max?"

"The parliament approved our annexation into Germany."

"I know," she replied, glad she was already privy to this bit of news. "Vati is pleased."

"The German Reich is no longer willing to tolerate the suppression of ten million Germans across the border."

That's what Hitler had said on the wireless last month. Salvation was what he promised, the rescue of Austrians who'd been mistreated. Anschluss — as he called it — was prohibited by the Treaty of Versailles, but their new Führer didn't seem to be daunted by treaties or the fact that the Austrian chancellor wasn't interested in a union between his country and Germany.

Her father had celebrated the Anschluss at the beer hall. He'd fought as a foot soldier in the Great War, and this new union, he thought, not only would revitalize Austria, it was reparation for their empire's bitter losses twenty years ago. This time, Vati said, no one would defeat a unified Germany.

Max stopped at the edge of the trees, light from the castle's windows filtering out onto the lawn, erasing the blue haze of moon. "Your father's pleased because he isn't Jewish."

Annika shrugged. "None of us are Jewish." Except her friend Sarah, but Hitler would hardly concern himself with the Jewish Austrians who lived back in these Alps. Only summer tourists — and the occasional skier — visited their mountains and lake.

Max planted his hands on her shoulders, anchoring them so she couldn't shrug again. She tried to focus on his eyes, but his touch electrified her, a jolt that ricocheted between her fingers, her toes.

"Adolf Hitler isn't a savior. He's the devil incarnate." Max's eyes flashed, the fierce edge in his voice frightening her. "And he won't be satisfied with the devotion of our country, Kätzchen. He'll want the hearts of our people, too."

She'd heard the stories about Hitler and his thugs, about the years Hitler stirred up trouble in the streets of Austria, but still she protested. "Hitler's home is in Berlin now."

Max released her shoulders and stepped out from the mantle of pine. "It won't stop him from trying to build his Reich here."

Annika shivered as she followed him toward the cottage she shared with her father, though she tried to pretend that the trembling deep inside her, flaring across her skin, was from the cold. She'd never heard Max speak of politics before. Usually he talked about his animals or school or the music he loved in Vienna. She, his devoted audience, listened to his stories every summer and in the winter weeks when he came to ski.

To her right, the gray slate on the castle's turrets glowed in the moonlight. Back in the seventeenth century, the owner of the local salt mine had built this place as a fortress between the mountains and the lake. The upkeep and expansions kept her father and now her employed year round, though one day she dreamed of being the mistress of this castle, sipping tea in the parlor instead of scrubbing its floors.

Max tucked his shovel into the large shed where Vati kept his tools and equipment. "You'd best go home. Before your father begins to worry."

Annika dug her hands into the coat pockets. "I'm glad you're here."

"It's only for a day."

"Still, I'm glad."

He lifted her right hand from the warmth of her pocket and pressed his lips against it. "Don't let one of Hitler's men steal your heart, Annika."

He released her hand, but it stayed before her, suspended in the air.

Shouting erupted inside the main house, Herr Dornbach swearing. And then the voice of Frau Dornbach stole through the open library window, yelling back at him. Max moved quickly through a side door that led into the castle, and then he closed the window to silence the fight, at least to her ears.

Annika shuffled across the ice-glazed grass, to the lakeshore. Birch benches were scattered across the property, but this bench near the reeds was her favorite.

Sitting, she pulled her arms out of the large sleeves and wrapped them tightly over her chest. Tiny clouds rose with her breath, each one climbing in the air as if it wanted to scale the mountain ridge that curled around the lake, a glorious sea creature guarding its den.

Moonlight shimmered on the water, and several lights flickered on the other side of the lake in the village called Hallstatt. When they were children, she and Max had dreamed about one day swimming across this expanse of lake together, racing to see who would win. They'd never done it, of course. Vati wouldn't have cared if she tried, but Frau Dornbach took great care in keeping her only son safe.

Why had Herr Dornbach been yelling tonight? The arguing between him and Frau Dornbach had escalated this past summer, their words escaping through the windows and finding Annika in the garden or hammering nails into a board as she helped Vati build a bench or fix a wall.

Herr Dornbach yelled at Vati last summer as well, though usually because Vati didn't arrive early enough for work, too sluggish after a night in the beer hall.

Sometimes she wondered if her parents would have fought like the Dornbachs if her mother had lived. Or perhaps Vati wouldn't drink if her mother were still alive. Sometimes her father still called out to Kathrin — her mother — in his dreams, his sorrow a storm that shook the cottage rafters and pine walls.

When her father woke, he often called Annika's name, but only because he wanted her to bring black coffee to chase away the fog in his brain.

She closed her eyes, the cold settling over her face as her thoughts returned to the young man who'd been digging in the forest. If only Max could have seen her with her hair properly curled, dressed in the pale-pink summer frock she'd sewn for his return, instead of lumped up inside Vati's ragged coat.

Her gaze wandered back over her shoulder to the light on the ground floor of the castle, to the library where Max enjoyed reading one of the many books that trimmed its shelves. Was he looking out at the lake like her? Or perhaps he was missing whatever he'd buried.

The thought of buried bones made her stomach roll, but these animals were important to Max, so they were important to her — just as important as keeping his secrets.

A breeze rustled through the branches, stirring up the depths of this lake before her and the longings in her heart. And her mind wandered back to Max's hands on her shoulders, his lips pressed against her hand.

No one else could steal her heart because it had already been stolen. And nothing could ever change her love for Max Dornbach.

Nothing at all.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Hidden Among the Stars"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Melanie Dobson.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Sandra Byrd

A stunning family mystery, this novel is poignant, resonant, and long after the last page, its breathtaking twist will have you asking, ‘What would I have done?’

Heidi Chiavaroli

With great skill and grace, Melanie Dobson weaves the past and present together in a beautiful story of love . . . [with] an unpredictable and completely satisfying ending.

Mesu Andrews

[A] glorious treasure hunt, uniting past and present with each delightful revelation. Dobson celebrates faith and the strength of human spirit in true-to-life settings, high-stakes decisions, and heart-gripping characters. It’s must-read historical fiction that left me pondering well-crafted twists for days.

Cathy Gohlke

Star-crossed, forbidden love and the disappearance of family members and hidden treasure make a compelling WWII storyline and set the stage for modern-day detective work in Dobson’s latest time-slip novel. [This] is Dobson at her best.

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Hidden Among the Stars 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
J_Augustine 2 days ago
The past and present come full circle... I honestly don't remember which Melanie Dobson book was my first. I just know that I've read every one I could get my hands on and I've become especially fond of her time-slip novels involving WWII. Hidden Among The Stars is a trademark Melanie Dobson tale, bittersweet, fascinating, and thought provoking. Whether you call this type of fiction time-slip or dual timeline, there is no denying that this author is a master at blending the poignant and sometimes painful events of the past and the effects of those events on the characters of the present. I absolutely loved the historical part as I've read and heard very little about Austria during WWII, but, it was the modern-era Callie and her tentative steps outside of her comfort zone that I identified a little more with. Hidden Among The Stars is a book to take your time with, to ponder, possibly shed a tear or two, and to simply enjoy. I did so and it was well worth spending the extra time to truly appreciate the depth of this story and the inspiring characters within... (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Mandy Elliott 2 days ago
HIDDEN TREASURE, SECRETS, FRIENDSHIP AND A STORY THAT WILL CAPTIVATE READERS HEARTS AND IMAGINATIONS… *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts below are my own. As history unfolds in this gripping, new novel by author Melanie Dobson, readers will find themselves not only captivated by Hidden Among the Stars endearing characters, and absorbed in this time slip book’s two simultaneous stories that are masterfully tied together by an imaginative and creative author. While rich in WWII history, this book takes place in 1930’s Austria as the Germans invade and in the life of present day bookstore owner, Callie Randall. With subtle, yet powerful morals such as friendship, loyalty, equality and choosing what is right, this novel is perfect for both contemporary and historical fiction readers. I’ll be the first to admit, the Hidden Among the Stars cover is what initially drew me in for this novel. (…And they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.) With my love of historical fiction and a particular interest in WWII fiction, I was excited to begin this novel. From the first three chapters, I was completely hooked; it was quite the page turner! This time slip novel has two stories happening simultaneously, one that happened near Lake Hallstatt in Austria in the late 1930’s, and a second story that takes place in current day, both of which I found completely intriguing. The characters are both endearing and relatable. As a book lover, I enjoyed Callie’s character very much and as an introvert, found my self connecting with her on a deeper level. Author Melanie Dobson weaves a heartwarming story through her characters as they face loss, overcome trials, maintain loyal friendships and fight to choose what is right. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this novel. It was all I’d hoped for and more. I’d no sooner finished the story and I wanted to read it again! The story was entertaining, moved along at a pace that kept me interested, held a bit of mystery and suspense as well as certain elements of faith and friendship that were very impactful. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and descriptiveness very much. So much, in fact, that I’ve already searched our local library for her other books as well. I know much time, work and love goes into creating a story of this magnitude and I think Melanie Dobson executed this piece magnificently.
thall5 3 days ago
A captivating story of history, romance, and suspense, this book just drew me in! A long time fan of stories set in the time of WWII and the horrible time in America's history, of Hitler and the horrible treatment of the Jews, I new I wanted to read this book. While I am not always a fan of time slip novels because they can be so hard to keep up with, this author did an exceptional job of telling a wonderfully engaging story through characters and times set 80 apart. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this book is a must read! As a first book to read of Melanie Dobson, it will definitely not be my last! I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit, but was not required to give a positive review. This is my honest opinion of this book.
Deana0326 5 days ago
I couldn't get through the book without crying several times. The author has written an historical story that sweeps across time from 1938 to present. It was easy to follow when going from time period to time period. Each character had a special place in my heart with their fierce determination to survive. I have read several books about how Hitler treated the Jewish citizens and each time my heart weeps for them. This book was especially emotional because the characters seemed so alive and jumped off the pages. Annika was a special person who wanted to help her friend Max hide treasures so that Hitler's men couldn't find them. It was such a risk for her and I feared that she would be found out. Would you risk your life to help a friend? The author describes the terror that the Jews faced with deep emotional words. I can't imagine having to hide from people who hated you. The story is very intriguing and I couldn't put the book down. When the book goes to present day, I saw the brilliance of how gifted the writer is. It is a seamless jump from past to present . Callie is a wonderful character and I liked her instantly. How fun it was to read how much Callie enjoys being at the bookstore everyday. She does story time with children which they all look forward to. When she discovers a very old children's book, she finds something very special hidden in the pages. This will take her on a journey that will span years and impact many lives. I really enjoyed finding out more about "ownerless treasures" and how desperate people wanted to preserve them. Are there still treasures hidden today that are waiting to be found? Callie goes to great lengths to discover who Annika was and what the hidden message in the book meant. It's a wonderful story filled with faith, danger, sadness and for me an unexpected ending to the story. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 5 days ago
I couldn't get through the book without crying several times. The author has written an historical story that sweeps across time from 1938 to present. It was easy to follow when going from time period to time period. Each character had a special place in my heart with their fierce determination to survive. I have read several books about how Hitler treated the Jewish citizens and each time my heart weeps for them. This book was especially emotional because the characters seemed so alive and jumped off the pages. Annika was a special person who wanted to help her friend Max hide treasures so that Hitler's men couldn't find them. It was such a risk for her and I feared that she would be found out. Would you risk your life to help a friend? The author describes the terror that the Jews faced with deep emotional words. I can't imagine having to hide from people who hated you. The story is very intriguing and I couldn't put the book down. When the book goes to present day, I saw the brilliance of how gifted the writer is. It is a seamless jump from past to present . Callie is a wonderful character and I liked her instantly. How fun it was to read how much Callie enjoys being at the bookstore everyday. She does story time with children which they all look forward to. When she discovers a very old children's book, she finds something very special hidden in the pages. This will take her on a journey that will span years and impact many lives. I really enjoyed finding out more about "ownerless treasures" and how desperate people wanted to preserve them. Are there still treasures hidden today that are waiting to be found? Callie goes to great lengths to discover who Annika was and what the hidden message in the book meant. It's a wonderful story filled with faith, danger, sadness and for me an unexpected ending to the story. I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
swissgranny 5 days ago
Hidden Among the Stars is a compelling, riveting, and haunting story featuring one of the darkest periods of time the human race has ever been exposed to—that of WWII with the rise of Hitler and the persecution and extermination of the Jewish people in Europe. That Melanie Dobson has done much research is evident, as this book is rich in historical detail. The setting in Vienna and Hallstatt, Austria was particularly interesting to me, because I’ve visited Austria and fell in love with the quaint, beautiful town of Hallstatt. Dobson is skilled at creating realistic, interesting characters. Annika, Max, and Luzia were richly drawn and their intertwining story was deeply absorbing. Across the ocean in small-town Ohio eighty years later, a bookstore owner named Callie is linked by an old book to the story that unfolded decades before in Austria. This time-slip story connects the two scenarios with a mystery involving the old book. As Callie and a professor named Josh attempt to solve the mystery of that book, their story evolves and connects with the one in Austria. Although I enjoyed both of the story lines, I felt that the one in Austria was more compelling and gripping, probably mainly because I love historical fiction. I think dual time lines are hard to correlate, but I think Dobson did a fine job of it. The only thing that was a little distracting to me was going from the historical told in the past tense to the contemporary told in present tense. It pulled me out of the story a bit. This is the first book I’ve read by Melanie Dobson, but I definitely want to read more. She is a talented and creative author. 4.5 stars rounded to 5. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.
MzKCKitty 5 days ago
This story takes us back and forth between the present and a bookstore owner who gets an antique book with some intriguing notes in it and starts to research the origin and the people whose lives were affected by the circumstances surrounding the book. The second part takes place in Austria leading up to WWII. I can’t say enough good things about this book. The story was intriguing and solving the mystery was not a simple task. This book kept me wondering throughout. I am normally not a fan of WWII books, mostly because my daughter is a big fan and I’ve read way too many of them already, but this one was a cut above the rest. The research this author must have done was phenomenal and her story-crafting was exceptional. I would definitely read another book by this author in a heartbeat. I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for a review and I am so glad I did!
SeasonsofGrace 6 days ago
From the first chapter, Melanie peaked my curiosity about the book and the plot. Right away I was caught up in the lives of the characters both past and present. I loved the whole book shop that the sisters run together, and could totally picture myself going there. I was also able to envision the castle in Austria with Anika and her dad, as well as, her childhood friend who lived there, and the whole Nazi takeover of the country. I am not sure I can say I favored the historical over the present, because both caught and kept my interest. I wanted to see the characters succeed in their endevours. I enjoyed the characters from both time periods, and felt able to relate to various aspects of each. I felt like Melanie did a wonderful job with the romance, sacrifice, adventure, and twists and turns in the story. It was perfectly believable in the grand scheme of things. If you are a history buff, WWII aficionado, and like split timelines, then you will surely enjoy this book as I did. I was blessed with an advanced copy of this book for my reading pleasure by Celebrate Lit and the publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not asked to review this book positively.
Ourpugs 6 days ago
Hidden among the Stars The book is set in present time in America and also in 1938,1939 in Austria. I love books like this one. Callie receives an book from her sister for her birthday and there is lot of history to it. As Callie tries to figure out the history of it, the story takes us back to the time to the original owner of the book. In 1938 was when Hitler was in power and trying to get rid of the Jews. Definitely a very hard time. I loved the character of Annika, she was the caretaker’s daughter. She is very brave, so inspiring. The book was interesting from start to finish. Then there was Luzia who her parents is very protective of. I loved that she played violin. I received an complementary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review.
Ourpugs 6 days ago
Hidden among the Stars The book is set in present time in America and also in 1938,1939 in Austria. I love books like this one. Callie receives an book from her sister for her birthday and there is lot of history to it. As Callie tries to figure out the history of it, the story takes us back to the time to the original owner of the book. In 1938 was when Hitler was in power and trying to get rid of the Jews. Definitely a very hard time. I loved the character of Annika, she was the caretaker’s daughter. She is very brave, so inspiring. The book was interesting from start to finish. Then there was Luzia who her parents is very protective of. I loved that she played violin. I received an complementary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write an positive review.
Virginiaw 7 days ago
I loved this story. I loved the characters in both the present and the past. I was never confused as to which characters I was reading about. I loved Annika and Max and Luzia. There were many twists and turns throughout this present day/ historical mystery. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Laundry_Whispers 7 days ago
Truth. I love dual time line stories, when they are done right. Truth. World War 2 era fiction is a favorite historical time period of mine (after Civil War - hello Gone with the Wind!). Truth. Nothing can be wrong when a character in a book happens to own a book store, I mean all the books IN the book. I'm new to Melanie Dobson but this won't be my only book by her. You can tell she did her research both historically on currently. Set at the cusp of WWII when Austria voluntarily let Germany into their borders and the Jewish population that had only recently been granted the opportunity for citizenship (again) scrambled to find their footing. You can tell she loved her people even when she had to weave in their hardships the love was evident. Loved people become loved characters in a reader's hands. Just sayin'. Let's talk for a minute about the things that didn't work for me however. Girl meets boy over an antique book with some unusual writing in it. Boy is a university professor studying the history of the time of the book. Girl is part owner of a book store whose hobby includes digging up information on writers of previous generations. Boy and girl meet a handful of times and he invites her to join him on the trip to Austria to dive for the Jewish treasures that history tells us the Nazis threw into the lakes when they were being closed in on. Boy trusts girl he barely knows to fly to a foreign country with his daughter. Really?!? Boy and girl share conversations about faith and God in settings and situations that just didn't feel authentic. Awkward. Boy and girl fall in love in Austria. Now that I've given you the long story, the modern parts of the story is where I struggled. I can't begin to imagine in the short time they knew each other with such brief meetings before he left that he was totally on board with letting his child fly to Europe with, for all reality, a stranger. The faith elements in the modern story felt forced and awkward as well, they lacked a naturalness. For all the hiccups in the modern story the history engaged me. The authenticity of the relationships and the palpable fear and concern of the individuals at play. The true depth of all the emotions that brought these characters to life. Some of the twists I figured out before the revel, though a few kept me *thinking* but not certain until time to know. Overall, the truly is a well written book of two generations of individuals exploring life, finding themselves and to some degree finding out who they were. Healing the hurts of the past and reconnecting the faith of the future. This is a must read for anyone who has an interest in WWII history. It's definitely one I know I'll read again as I know there are more nuances I missed (sick reading ya know). But it's also unique from the perspective of Austria which isn't as common for history of this era. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
ARS8 9 days ago
Hidden Among the Stars is another story that showcases author Dobson’s writing skills to pull you into a story and not let you go till the very last page. This is a time slip novel, present day America and Austria during World War 2. The horrors of that time were unimaginable: neighbor turning against neighbor, families against their own, all for the rhetoric of a regime that was bent on destroying a group of people. For whatever cruel reason, I will never know, and I am not sure anyone will this side of eternity. The story takes us on a journey from the past and weaves so masterfully into the present that one storyline cannot exist without the other. I really enjoyed the references to the children’s books and I even put Bambi on my wish list to read at a later date. Not the Disney version but the one written by a Jewish man, causing this book to be part of the Nazi’s book burning. The author really did her research and I am always appreciative of learning new historical information. What really stood out for me in this novel was the message of love. The message Jesus spoke about in John 15:13 really shined forth in this story in spite of man’s inhumanity towards man. Even though this is a fictional account the message will stay with me for a long time to come, that even when the world seems so dark, there is love and that shines ever brighter. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
MaureenST 10 days ago
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.
TrishRobertson 11 days ago
This poignant story wove around my heart and has left a lasting imprint that is sure to remain. Like a master orchestral composition, this story started in broad lyrical strokes and gradually build upon itself into a sweeping masterpiece. Past and present blend together seamlessly in this sweeping saga of love, loss and the power of restoration. My copy of this book is awash in colorful highlights and page-flags noting parts that I especially enjoyed, quotes, and important details. The setting of the story sets the tone, but its the dynamic characters that carry the plot along, setting the tempo and the lyrical melody. I found myself simultaneously reaching for the tissue box and hugging the book when I finished. Faith in God plays a central role in the characters lives. This gentle reminder weaved into the story, “God is infinitely more beautiful and loving and tender and kind than anything we can imagine of Him.” Both vibrant and enduring, this dual-timeline story that is set primarily in Austria during World War II is one that you won’t want to miss! I give this story 5 enthusiastic stars. Order your copy today, or request it from your local library. (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)
MelissaF 11 days ago
Anyone who enjoys World War II novels will enjoy this book. I moved pretty quickly with hoping back and forth to present time and the past. The point of view and seeing what was happening in Austria was heart breaking. Jewish people who lived peaceful lives, the were pillars in the community suddenly being thrown out. Melanie did a great job of depicting the brainwashing the took place from Hilter and how people's mind were swayed to his way of thinking. A copy of this book was given to me through the Celebrate Lit Team. All opinions are my own. 
Baranski1987 12 days ago
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.
BMace 12 days ago
This book was impossible to put down! A time-slip novel bringing the terror, secrets and the horribleness of Hitler's takeover of Austria together with a cape-clad, red-striped sock wearing Story Girl who wants to return treasures and memories more than 70 years later. Annika, Max, Luzia and many others had physical and emotional scars from what they had to do to survive. Many, as we know, did not survive, and those who did, do not want to talk about it, so finding the owners of the notes, little treasures and pictures found in old books was a labor of love for Callie, the co-owner of the Magic Ballon Bookshop. An orphan, now grown, an imposter, a professor and the bookstore owner all find answers and family in this fabulous story of resilience and faith. I received this ebook through CelebrateLit and this review gives my personal impressions and opinions.
amybooksy 12 days ago
Hidden Among the Stars is yet another fabulous book by Melanie Dobson. It gives me another reason why she is among my favorite list of must read authors. She has the talent of keeping a reader engaged, want to keep turning the pages and have a hard time putting a book down. I love time slip novels and she has definitely mastered on how to write them. Like always, there is an element of mystery and suspense where the reader does not find out how it is solved until the last few pages. I could not have predicted how it all worked out in the end. Hidden Among the Stars gets a well deserved 5 plus stars from me. I would give it 100 stars if I could. It is one of the favorite books I have read for the year. I most definitely highly highly recommend Hidden Among the Stars. I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
BethErin 12 days ago
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.
SBMC 14 days ago
“No one can stop this music. Its journey continues, I think, throughout the earth and up into the heavens. An eternal, sacred song.” Hidden Among the Stars is another winner from this masterful author. Melanie Dobson’s haunting, lyrical, and musical voice is powerful and beautiful. She creates a vivid world of 1938 Vienna and Austria - its music, beauty, and culture clashing against hatred and anger against the Jews. This dual timeline story unites 1938 Austria with present day Ohio and one antique book brings strangers and families together for an unforgettable journey. The slow unraveling of the past and present as they intertwine is delicious and full of intrigue and anticipation. The multiple twists and turns in the plot heightens the anticipation. The present day is from Callie’s first person perspective in present tense. The past is from Max, Luzi, and Annika’s limited third person perspective in past tense. The writing switches perspectives and times fluidly to create an incredible tale. I loved the way the author used well-known quotes from children’s books in the story and how the antique books central to the story are also children’s books. The characters Callie and Josh from present day Ohio will charm you. The characters Max, Luzi, and Annika from pre-WWII Austria will make you cry and hurt and love with them. The themes of sacrifice, justice, full trust in our God, and letting go of fear are real and prominent in all the characters’ lives. If you enjoy historical romance, especially dual timeline ones, you will absolutely love this book. It’s a must-read! I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to write a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Bookworm_Debbie 15 days ago
WOW! An incredible historical/contemporary time-slip novel! Since much of this book is set in Austria in 1938 the story is very heavy. It is so well written that I was caught up in it and had trouble putting it down at times. I loved all of the main characters. They all had understandable problems. Some of them were directly connected to Hitler’s rise to power in Austria. Others were typical girl and boy issues. The two time periods were beautifully woven together. I was fascinated with the way the present time period was used to reveal parts of the historical period’s story. I have watched the movie Bambi many times. I was intrigued by all of the information about the book and the author that were included in this novel. I had no idea that it was written by an Austrian. I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
JLYoung 15 days ago
 Wow! This story is addicting in the best way. From the first page I was hooked. A day later I finished the book. Ms. Dobson does the time-slip novel so well. The two time periods are interwoven so seemlessly. The movement of the story is at just the right pace to keep you guessing, learning new things, and falling more in love with the characters on every page. The writing is so well crafted, characters are deep and struggle with real life things in real life ways, and the locations described come to life in your imagination. It's like I visited the castle and the bookstore as I was reading. I loved the mystery, the history, the romance, and the family ties. I found myself reading it every chance I got. The only thing that slightly disappointed me was the ending. I wish it were drawn out a little more. There was such a huge culmination and it took a long time to get there (and every minute of it was excellent!). However, after you crest the hill it's like you fall so fast you feel like you need to go back and read it again because it zoomed by so fast. I felt sure I missed something... like some pages fell out of the book! I wanted more explanation. More story at the end. I loved the book so much I wanted just a bit more explanation. It felt too fast to me compared to the pace of the rest of the book. Overall the book was excellent. I couldn't put it down. I would definitely read it again! It's a keeper. It gets priority shelf space on my bookshelf for sure. Check it out. You won't be disappointed. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.
TheBeccaFiles 16 days ago
Once again, Melanie Dobson has proved herself as an amazingly talented author! I was introduced to her writing through her book Catching the Wind earlier this year, and she has once again written a masterpiece. As with any other book taking place during WWII, the story will slowly break your heart, then attempt to sew some of the pieces back together. Families that survived the war carried their scars (both physical and emotional) with them as painful reminders of their pasts, but no one really escaped whole. They slowly learned how to live life again despite the gaping holes in their hearts. Hidden Among the Stars flips between the late 1930’s and the present day. It’s told in first-person through Callie, and third person through Annika, Max, and Luzia. Each character’s perspective adds another layer to the pain and complexity of just how devastating the war was and how it had a lasting impact on the generations following. I can only imagine how emotional it was for Melanie to write this story considering how emotional it was reading it. I can’t share specific details or else I’d be spoiling, but something that really struck me in this story was people’s abilities to make selfless decisions even at the risk of death. It’s no secret that today we live in a “ME” world. To some, thinking of others first is even a foreign concept. How natural do those feelings really come though? Do we care about ourselves first and others second? If given the choice between saving ourselves and saving another, would we even have to think? Thankfully I’ve never had to face a situation like that, but my hope would be that I wouldn’t think selfishly. My hope would be that death wouldn’t scare me. If I’m being honest though, it terrifies me. There are many told and untold stories of people during WWII and the Holocaust who gave up their own lives to save others. It’s their stories that deserve to be told, and it’s their voices that deserve to be heard. Hopefully the more people learn of history, the less likely it is to be repeated. Melanie Dobson has written a raw, heart-wrenching story of love and loss in WWII. I honestly don’t think I can recommend it enough! I also recommend checking out some of her other stories that take place during the same time period. One thing is for sure though, Melanie Dobson knows how to write a story that you feel and not just read words on a page. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit Tours and the author through NetGalley. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
JudyinHuntsvilleAL 16 days ago
I can admit that I've never been very interested in historical fiction - but Melanie Dobson may have changed that for me. I so enjoyed how she wove the stories of Max, Annika, Herrman, and Luzia from the Nazi invasion 80 years ago with Callie's and her dear friend and mentor, Charlotte. This is a story of the horror of the Nazi invasion of Austria and the endearing friendships that hold love and trust sacred regardless of how the world around is telling us how we should feel. It was frightening to see how those who were held in high esteem were suddenly treated as worthless only because of their ethnicity. It's scary to me to see how quickly minds could be shifted to destroy those who were perceived as different. And it concerns me that this is possible in this 'us against them' world that we live in today. We can learn much from history, and the characters Melanie Dobson created help it come to life for me. And yes. I read it in one day. It's that good.