Rendezvous with Destiny by Jess Schira
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (42 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
It’s October, 1941. Hitler’s troops are steadily storming across Europe, but in a small Michigan farming community, the war seems too far away to be taken seriously. It’s a source of conversation, not fear. A group of teenagers start a bonfire and celebrate life. As they fall in love and fall apart, they have no idea that the war is much closer than they think. That it lurks in the shadows, watching their every move. Best Friends Forever For 10 years, David and Rosika have been best friends. They always have each other’s back and don’t keep secrets from one another. At least they didn’t until now. David’s Secret He doesn’t know when or how it happened, but somewhere along the line, David fell in love with his best friend. If it were any other girl, David would tell her how he feels and let the chips fall where they may, but its Rosika. If he tells her what’s in his heart, he suspects she’ll panic and turn her back on him forever. It’s a risk David refuses to take. Rosika’s Secret Her American friends might not take the war that’s destroying Europe seriously, but Rosika can’t stop thinking about it. She’s lived in America for most of her life, but she can’t forget she still has family living in Germany. Now, her mother has started to receive letters that make her question which country deserves her allegiance. Part of her wants to share her burden with David, but fear stays her tongue. David and Rosika are determined to hold tight to their secrets, but it doesn’t take long to discover that hidden secrets have bad habit of surfacing and wreaking havoc.
Few things in this world are sweeter than the first time someone falls in love.
Theo’s character development was well done. He was a hard-working guy who cared deeply about the people around him. What made him even more interesting to me, though, was how the plot revealed his flaws. Gradually learning about the things this character struggled with made me like him even more than I would have if they’d been ignored by the narrator or shared all at once with the audience. Sharing them slowly was a good choice.
This story had some pacing issues. The beginning spent a great deal of time showing what life was like on the farm that Theo’s parents own. While I enjoyed seeing how this character spent his time, I would have preferred to move onto the mystery much sooner. A slow pace can work for a novella or a novel, but it felt a little out of place for something this length.
There’s something to be said for a satisfying ending. So many different issues were brought up earlier on in the narrative that at first I wasn’t entirely sure how the author was planning to tie everything together. It was nice to see how Ms. Schira met all of my expectations while still leaving ample room for a sequel. Will she write one? I don’t know, but I would be happy to read it if she ever decides to continue on with these characters!
Rendezvous with Destiny is a good choice for anyone who is fascinated by what it must have been like to live in the early 1940s.