Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Review: How Huge the Night by Heather and Lydia Munn

How Huge the Night is a WWII story of a little town in southern France and the people who live there. The authors (mother and daughter team) have lived in France and write this story from true events.

I quickly became engrossed in this book as I read about young people who find themselves caught up in a war that they know little about. There are different types of characters, such as Benjamin who is a German Jew seeking refuge; Julien, a native of France who wants to do the right thing but who comes to realize the depths of his sin and struggles with right and wrong; and Nina, a girl from Austria who, along with her brother, Gustav, is also seeking a place to escape the Nazis. All of these young people face trials that even the bravest adults would have trouble enduring.

Once again, I like how the gospel is woven throughout this book. One of the best passages in the book is:

"'Sin is for real, Julien. In you, in me, in Victor Bernard. We are bad people.' Grandpa was looking at him, his eyes deep with sorrow. Julien watched the wind whip the trees.
How Huge the Night: A Novel
'Tell me what you believe about Jesus, Julien. What he did.'

'He...' His voice was a whisper. 'He died for our sins.'

'Do you believe that?' 

Did he? Jesus died. Jesus died for what I've done.

'It's true.'

It's true.

'He meant to, Julien. Nobody made him do it. He did it for what he wanted the most - for you and me to be able to come to him. After what we've done. It was worth that to him. That's what he wants. Us. To welcome us back.'

There were times as I was reading that I didn't understand who was speaking or what the authors were talking about for several sentences. It slowed down my reading and confused me a little. And the plot was fully developed, even though I thought the ending was somewhat unsatisfying.

Most readers who are interested in WWII novels would probably like this book. I give How Huge the Night 4 out of 5 stars.

(I received this book from LitFuse for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)

About the Munn's:

Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in southern France where her parents were missionaries like their parents before them. She has a BA in literature from Wheaton College and now lives in a Christian intentional community in rural Illinois, where she and her husband, Paul, host free spiritual retreats for the poor, especially those transitioning out of homelessness or addiction. When not writing or hosting, she works on the communal farm.

Lydia Munn, daughter of missionary parents, grew up in Brazil. She received a BA in literature from Wheaton College, and an MA in Bible from Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. With her husband, Jim, she has worked in church planting and Bible teaching since 1983, notably in St. Etienne, near the small town in the central mountains of France which forms the background of How Huge the Night. The Munns now live in Grenoble, France.


Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

This book sounds interesting. And I admire the authors, especially Heather for what she does for the poor. Very admirable.

Great review!

Heather Munn said...

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing our book! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

I'm curious. What do you wish would have happened at the ending? If you feel like it, you could drop in and tell me in the forum at (Or here.)

I'm so glad you liked that passage you quoted. We were kind of trying to show how even kids who grow up with the gospel can reach a point where they suddenly get a much deeper understanding of it. (I think when they get a deeper understanding of sin/evil. Young children don't really understand that, it's something you learn as you grow up.)