TMW Book Reviews

Review – Hidden: Nistar


Batya Casper

In Hidden: Nistar, Batya Casper masterfully weaves a tapestry of secrecy and survival, set against the stark backdrop of war. This compelling historical fiction novel tells two interlaced stories, bridging the lives of characters in Israel and England.

The narrative begins in Israel, focusing on young Tikvah. Raised by her grandparents in a world shrouded in unanswered questions and unopened doors, Tikvah is unaware of the reasons behind her parents’ absence. The mysterious death of her grandparents brings a stranger to her doorstep, unraveling secrets hidden to protect from the scars of war and the anguish of lost love.

Parallel to Tikvah’s story is a tale from the past, where a young girl’s romance with a swarthy stranger sets the foundation for a life aspiring simplicity and familial bliss. This narrative beautifully illustrates how friends can become the family we choose, intertwining their lives like vines on a fence.

Meanwhile, miles away across the ocean, families and friends in England unite under the strain of war. In an era marked by religious and political intolerance, three families converge under one roof. They form a sanctuary for children orphaned by war and spouses separated from their partners, all striving to maintain a semblance of normalcy. Each child, a silent bearer of their own hidden story, manifests their experiences in actions and dreams.

Hidden: Nistar offers a vivid exploration of the many facets of hiding – be it physical concealment or emotional suppression. Casper’s narrative skillfully captures the raw emotions of her characters, making the reader acutely feel the turmoil and loss experienced by each. This novel is not just a tale of survival; it’s a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2025