Book Review: Defy The Night

29 Apr

443213In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference.

If no one will do anything, she’ll have to do it herself.

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.



HeatherOp1Heather 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.

LydiaOp1Lydia 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.



My Impressions:

Sharing the little known story of courageous French citizens determined to save the children caught in the brutality of the Nazi regime, the mother daughter writing team of Lydia and Heather Munn have created a deeply moving and very personal novel. The second book to focus on the Losier family, Defy The Night can be read as a stand alone novel. Perfect for a book discussion group or a mother/daughter read, I highly recommend Defy The Night.

girls in Rivesaltes campMagali Losier is a young woman determined to make a difference in a world that seems to have gone crazy overnight. Although living in the free zone of France, Magali’s community is caught up in the realities of war following the German invasion of France. All around her, she senses the fear that grips her friends and family, but she wants to be a hero. When she begins traveling with Pacquerette, an aid worker who transports children from detention camps to safe homes, Magali believes she has found her calling. But the brash cleverness she sees as her greatest asset puts many in danger.

Defy The Night is told in the first person voice of Magali. She holds nothing back in her examination of friends and family. Her attitudes, of course, reflect on their character, but also expose the flaws in her own. The reader can see the danger that awaits Magali as she does most things in her own power without the healthy fear that Pacquerette says is necessary for their work. It is the evolution of Magali that keeps the reader engaged.

Le ChambonThe historical importance of the story is also significant. The amazingly brave work that the town of Chambon (the real-life town the story is based on) did on behalf of Jews, especially children is one that all should know. The time of the story, 1941-1942, is described as a softer period in the course of WWII. The inhumane treatment of people during this time was just a taste of what was to come.

Gripping, moving, thought-provoking — all terms I would use to describe Defy The Night. The target audience is young adults, but I would recommend this book to anyone.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy and to Heather for sharing the pictures. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below. The Kindle version is only $1.99!

One Response to “Book Review: Defy The Night”


  1. Top 10 Tuesday — Best Books Read This Year | BY THE BOOK - June 10, 2014

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