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A Frost in the Night

Review

A Frost in the Night

"There fell a frost in a night of spring, /It fell on the tender young flowers blue, /They withered away and wilted..." In A FROST IN THE NIGHT, Holocaust survivor Edith Baer tips her pen to Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), a fellow Jew and one of Germany's greatest poets, by quoting his poem based on an old German folk song. From the opening pages through to the last, Baer, like Heine, displays a romantic view of her homeland and people, conveyed ever so eloquently through the eyes of 12-year-old Eva Bentheim. Through Eva's observations, Baer chronicles Hitler's rise to power and the eventual end of a way of life. And though the setting of this compelling novel may be fictional, the events therein are anything but.

Born the daughter of a bourgeois Jewish family, Eva lives wrapped in the comforts of family and friends in an idyllic world framed by the familiarity of school, summer break, and holidays. In Thalstadt, where Eva's respected and patriotic family has lived for generations, Jews and Christians live side by side. Their children play together, go to school together, and even share holidays. One thing they don't share is the impending sense of doom felt by all Jews during "the times," as Eva's mother refers to them. From her intellectual father to her steadfast grandfather, Hitler's edicts effect each one differently, including Eva. Over time, Eva is brought face to face with the truth of "the times" and is shaken to her very core.

A FROST IN THE NIGHT was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award and won the Arnold Gingrich Award for Literature when it was first published in 1980. This reissue coincides with the recent publication of its long-awaited companion, WALK THE DARK STREETS.

Reviewed by Tammy L. Currier on October 15, 1998

A Frost in the Night
by Edith Baer

  • Publication Date: October 15, 1998
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
  • ISBN-10: 0374424829
  • ISBN-13: 9780374424824