A Place to Hide

A Novel

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Pub Date 17 Sep 2024 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2024


From the winner of the National Jewish Book Award

Theodore “Teddy” Hartigan is the scion of a wealthy Washington, D.C. family who place him into a comfortable job at the State Department and a placid diplomat’s career. In 1938, as Hitler’s inexorable rise continues, Teddy is re-assigned to the US Consulate in Amsterdam to replace fleeing staff.

Teddy’s job is to process visa applications, and by 1939, refugees from Nazi-conquered Poland, Austria, and other countries are desperate to secure safe passage to America. As Hitler sweeps through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, and Holland, the screws tighten and law after virulent law is passed to threaten the lives, indeed the very existence of the Jewish people. When Teddy and his girlfriend Sara are introduced to an orphaned young girl named Katy, who has been abandoned on the grounds of a nursery school, they agree to adopt her. Teddy comes to realize that he holds the key to saving lives, whether five, fifty, or five hundred—and makes the dangerous and selfless decision to join with underground groups and use his position at the Consulate to rescue those with no other avenue of escape.

Powerful and dramatic, National Jewish Book Award winner Ronald H. Balson’s A Place to Hide explores the deeply-moving actions of an ordinary man who resolves, under perilous circumstances, to make a difference.

From the winner of the National Jewish Book Award

Theodore “Teddy” Hartigan is the scion of a wealthy Washington, D.C. family who place him into a comfortable job at the State Department and a placid...

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Average rating from 35 members

Featured Reviews

Ronald Balson has done it again! Every book of his is thoughtfully written, engaging and A Place to Hide is no exception. Teddy Hartigan is sent to Amsterdam during World War II to work in the US Consulate. Throughout the book, Teddy is confronted with the complicated intricacies of immigration during war time, exploring moral questions and themes that are relevant to this day. The book is great historical fiction with the twist of a perspective that is not commonly written about. The book was engaging and filled with suspense from the first page to the last. Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book early.

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Ronald H. Balson is one of my very favorite writers. He has written so many historical fiction stories about World War 2 that on their face seem very similar but always end up being unique. The characters are exquisitely well-developed, and by locating each story in a different European country, I have learned so much about the war.

A Place to Hide was no exception. I was familiar with the Dutch occupation, mainly because of Anne Frank, but this story was very different than hers. The frame story was also captivating. Balson manages time and again to write the most endearing curmudgeons who inevitably have excellent reason for their surliness and withdrawal from the world.

As with all stories about the Holocaust, I grew increasingly anxious as time passed, but particularly as the book progressed (and I knew I was nearing the end), I waited for the other shoe to drop.

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This is historical fiction at its finest.

Most didn’t believe Hitler would take the Netherlands next during WWII. He already had control of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Poland, Denmark, Norway and France. It was a neutral country and many figured it would never happen to them.

We look back on how this occurred many years ago and how incredibly sad it was. And we think: how could this happen? Yet, we never seem to grasp that history could repeat itself with a war that could again cost millions of lives. Read this book! While it’s in the past, it could happen with an evil dictator in charge. The book is expertly written with a handful of characters during this horrific time.

It starts when Karyn Sachnoff agreed to write Teddy Hartigan’s story in exchange for help in finding her sister, Annie. She lost track of her when they were separated as young children during WWII in Amsterdam. Teddy still had contacts that she hoped would be useful. He was in his 90s and his health wasn’t great. But his memory was right on with details that weren’t yet told to his adult children. Now he was ready to give them the full story of his life.

This isn’t filled with descriptions of blood on the streets. It’s a beautiful love story about a time when people had courage to resist and help others. It’s well researched and makes the reader think about how quickly this dictator gained power and was able to take over. Hitler and his German leaders wiped out most of the Dutch Jews in the Netherlands along with citizens willing to fight back. It’s disturbing and thought provoking.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book with an expected release date of September 17, 2024.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for allowing me to read A Place To Hide. Ronald H. Balson writes an amazing story about how ordinary people came together to save innocent lives during World War II. This is a beautiful book about fighting back and fighting for what's right. This book is a must read.

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This was such a good book! I loved the characters, and their story. The dialogue was realistic and enjoyable. I was very surprised by the ending!

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