is determined to make a difference…
Defy The Night
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.
In 1941 France is still “free.” But fifteen-year-old Magali is frustrated by the cruel irony of pretending life is normal when food is rationed, new clothes are a rarity, and most of her friends are refugees. And now the government is actually helping the Nazis. Someone has got to do something, but it seems like no one has the guts—until Paquerette arrives.
Smuggling refugee children is Paquerette’s job. And she asks Magali to help.
Working with Paquerette is scary and exhausting, but Magali never doubts that it is the right thing to do. Until her brash actions put those she loves in danger.
When I was maybe five or six, my Mom read the Little House on the Prairie series aloud to me. This is kind of hilarious in hindsight, but I remember thinking exactly this: “That is so cool how she remembered everything about when she was a little kid and wrote it in a book! I want to do that someday! Oh no… I don’t remember much about when I was a little kid! I have to start remembering more!”
I think that must have been the moment, because when I look back I can’t remember any other one. Through the rest of my childhood it was just assumed… that was always what I was going to be. In French school (I grew up in France–my parents are missionaries there) it’s traditional to have kids do creative writing assignments, fiction or non-fiction, always on this odd-looking double sheet of paper that looks like a tiny book, from first grade on–and that was always my absolute favorite part of school. There was no question what I liked to do.
TELL US 3 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF.
– I was born in Northern Ireland but that’s the only time I ever lived there. My grandparents lived there & my parents were staying with them for a few months during a transitional time. We used to go up there every few summers, because from France where we lived it’s not that far. You just drive up to the north coast and take a ferry.
– I like mayo so much I sometimes just eat a little spoonful of it from the jar.
– I love learning “back-to-nature” skills ever since I moved out to the country, and last winter I learned how to tan deer hides the old Native American way–using the brains of the deer! It’s a ton of work.
WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR “DEFY THE NIGHT”?
I co-write with my Mom (Lydia) and she comes up with the initial situation and plot, so she was the one that had the idea. You might or might not know that Defy the Night is a sequel (though it’s meant to work fine as a standalone) to How Huge the Night, which focuses on the story of Magali’s older brother. Mom started How Huge the Night because she’d heard about the amazing story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small French town near where we lived when I was a kid, which hid and saved many Jewish kids during World War II. What gave her the idea for the specific story in Defy the Night was a book she ran across in her research, which told about the young women who worked tirelessly to get children out of internment camps in France and into decent & safe homes, like Paquerette does in the novel. She was struck with the heroism of these young women and wanted their story to be known.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I’m currently doing research for the third book in the series. Yes, there’ll a third book, Lord willing, and the plan is that I’ll write it on my own with Mom as a consultant, so she’s given me some books to read about events during the next part of the war. Defy the Night ends in 1942 right before things started to really heat up in France–right before the Nazis started actually rounding up Jews & sending them to death camps in Germany. I’ve been reading the amazing story of how a network of aid groups worked together to save a large group of children during the first of these round-ups. Part of why they were able to do it is that there was confusion about whether the Nazi orders said to take the children or not, and one of the rescuers managed to steal the telegram that confirmed the children were to be deported to Germany along with their parents. That story will definitely be in the third book–Paquerette will be involved and will ask Magali to help out with the process of getting the kids to new homes after their rescue.
Jewish girls in the Rivesaltes internment camp (the one in the book.)
Internees arriving at Rivesaltes camp.
Children in an internment camp.
I love this book so much.
Even though it is the second in a series, it can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone. However, now that I have read Defy The Night, I must go back and read book 1- How Huge The Night.
Everything about this story just worked so well together…the setting, the characters, the plot. I could not stop reading! The characters just came to life on the pages in the backdrop of such a powerfully unforgettable time in history. The emotions this book evoked…the fear, the hurt, the anger.
I think this book causes readers to pause and think of their own lives and how they are making a difference to stand against the injustice of the world. Truly an unforgettable story that will stay with readers long after the final page!!!
*****5/5 STARS- LOVE IT; GET YOUR OWN COPY!!!*****