In A Father’s Promise, Donnalynn Hess crafts a powerful story of hope and hanging on. Young Rudi Kaplan is going to school one day but hiding under his bed the next as the Nazis begin to occupy and plunder his country. Before long his home is gone, and any sense of personal safety becomes a memory. Rudi clings to the two most valuable things he still has in this life—his father and a cache of letters left for him by his dying mother to be read on his future birthdays.
But as the harsh realities of war and persecution force Rudi’s father, a Jewish doctor, out of his practice, it becomes increasingly obvious that other arrangements must be made if Rudi and his father are to survive the war. The two of them must endure the searing pain of separation. But one vital source of strength remains constant—the promises of a faithful God. And it is to those promises Dr. Kaplan must entrust the most precious thing he has on earth—Rudi.
After being sent deep into the forest for refuge, Rudi encounters blessings he never expected. In the woods he meets a mix of lively and capable characters, each of whom, in his own way, ushers Rudi into manhood. There are Oscar (the brave resister who’s well-versed in outdoor survival), Anna (the mother figure Rudi has so desperately missed), Ingrid (who never utters a word), and Josef (who has a mind to betray them all). But none has a role as important to Rudi as the hope-sustaining echo of his father’s promise—and the prospect of a reunion that is against all odds.
Read the opening pages of the JourneyForth novel A Father’s Promise, a compelling work of historical fiction for young people ages 9–12.
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