Stepping into the pages of Melanie Dobson’s new book release, Hidden Among the Stars, catches the reader up in the story line at the outset. Dobson is the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which was called “unforgettable” and a “must-read” by Publishers Weekly. This latest work, like Catching the Wind, is a time-slip novel you won’t want to put down.
Dobson’s writing draws the reader into the story with intriguing character development, historical context, and settings that go back and forth between the Magic Balloon Bookshop in Mount Vernon, Ohio, in the present day, and a picturesque village located at Lake Hallstatt, Austria, in 1938.
Dobson gives you a window into the rapid changes that occur in the beautiful idyllic settings in Austria as Germany (under Adolph Hitler) begins to take control of the country and then its people. Those glimpses will come through the eyes of Max Dornbach and his family living in a castle on an estate nestled next to the mountains; Annika, who takes care of the Dornbach estate along with her father and has been a childhood friend of Max; and Luzi Weiss, an accomplished violinist, whose Jewish heritage and family’s talents and gifts have been appreciated until events in 1938 begin to change everything.
In the Magic Balloon Bookshop in Mount Vernon, Ohio, you will get acquainted with Callie and her sister, Brie, who own this delightful bookshop more akin to lovely local bookshops of an earlier time. Callie reads books to children every Saturday dressed in costume as “The Story Girl” and delights in some of the used books they offer. Many times the used books contain something that belonged to the former owner and she loves trying to discover the owners to return those things whenever she can. But she is about to be enticed to go on the biggest treasure hunt of her life.
The two settings and story lines connect when Callie is given the gift of a first edition book of Bambi and discovers an inscription and writing inside that opens a possible adventure to discover what secrets might be unearthed. It will be the biggest treasure hunt of all if Callie can risk stepping out of her comfort zone of a quiet life in the bookshop. The secret coded messages in the old edition will connect her to Annika and Luzi and the possibility of how they might reveal the parents of her dear friend, Charlotte, who grew up in an orphanage in France just prior to the beginning of WW II.
I love a good story and this surely is one! The backdrop Melanie Dobson paints of true information about what was happening in Austria in 1938 was of special interest to me as a lover of history. I look forward to reading more of her stories and couldn’t put this one down. She has quickly become my favorite fiction writer.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.