It’s time for another blog tour hosted by the wonderful The Write Reads! Today is my stop and I’m excited to share my thoughts about an interesting tale. It’s a historical fiction with a splash of folklore that had me completely wrapped up in the story: The Book of Uriel by Elyse Hoffman! I wasn’t sure what to expect diving into this one, but I soon found myself enthralled.
But, before I get to my review, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads (and all the behind-the-scenes folks!), the publisher, and the author for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for an honest review and my participation in this tour. It is very much appreciated ❤
Now, let’s get to my tour stop!
“In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…
Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.
In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.
With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger. The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.”
About the Author
Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.
I’m not gonna lie… I’m not much of a historical fiction reader. I like them every once in awhile, but it’s not a genre towards which I gravitate. But, when I saw the cover of this book, I just had to give it a try. I’m so glad I did, too, because this book was much more than I was expecting!
We follow the story of two principle players: Uwe, a German linguist assigned to help the Nazi Order Police during WWII and Uriel, a young, mute Jewish boy who has just suffered a devastating loss. Uriel’s entire town has been decimated in a vicious attack. Alone and afraid, he is visited by angels and given a heavenly task: find and free the Archangel Michael, the guardian angel of the Jewish people. In the process of completing his quest, Uriel is found and hidden by Uwe, who is starting to realize that the Nazis are worse than he could have imagined. Uriel is determined to save his people, but will his efforts put the man trying to protect him at risk?
This was such an enthralling read! From the moment the angels appeared until the end of the book, I was completely wrapped up in Uriel and Uwe’s stories. I loved all the Jewish folklore strewn throughout this story and how it was interwoven into the world. There are several times, of course, were this was not an easy read. We are dealing with Nazis in occupied Poland. There were bound to some pretty brutal scenes. I feel like they were handled with such care, though. These are very real events that happened to very real people and I like that the book highlights it in a way that grabs your attention and makes you think. But I also enjoyed the overall hopeful note that runs throughout this story, especially when it comes to little Uriel.
Uriel is such a gem of a character. He’s smart and resourceful, sweet and kind, and he’s willing to do anything to help his people. There’s so much placed on him at the beginning of this book, but he just nods and takes it one step at a time. I also loved his relationship with Uwe. It’s interesting watching him interact with all these legendary items that, to Uwe, are just worn down pieces of junk. I loved how their stories interweaved and, though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the end of their story, it still left me with a warm feeling in my heart.
Final thoughts: This was such an engaging story! I was completely immersed by the end of the first page and sped through the rest. The pacing is great, the characters are magnificent, and I love the mixture of historical topics and folklore. My favorite part has to be the relationship between our titular character, Uriel and the German that tries to help him, Uwe. I also loved following Uriel on his quest as he solved puzzles and gathers artifacts. Even though historical fiction is not usually my jam, this hit just the right notes to make me love it. If you enjoy historical fiction that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of WWII and mixes in just the right amount of the otherworldly, I think you would like The Book of Uriel!