NEW RELEASE: REMEMBER THE STARS by Marisa Oldham and Carraine Oldham
In 1941, Estherly Krauss, a seventeen-year-old Jewish girl, documents her struggles during the Holocaust. With Hitler’s reign coming down on Estherly and her family, her days of being a typical teen are over. While fighting for a forbidden love, the atrocities and horrors Estherly endures force her to grow up in an uncertain and dangerous time.
Estherly’s voice echoes through time when Ferrin Frazier discovers her diaries. Without realizing the effect these small books will have, a door opens for Ferrin to explore her own life and love. Consumed by Estherly’s story of survival, the secrets she kept, and the desire to know what became of her, Ferrin embarks on an adventure of discovery. Will she find the answers she’s looking for? Or will it end up leading her down a path she never predicted?
Here’s an excerpt from Remember the Stars
Chapter 2 - Estherly
2 October 1941
“Estherly?” Mae asks, as she shakes me.
I finally look up from daydreaming and watching two young boys run across the schoolyard to see what she wants. Mae and I have been friends since we were eight years old. She’s dear to me. I’ve never met someone as kind-hearted and genuine as her. Since we started school, Mae and I have eaten lunch together each day on the lawn. Sometimes my ten-year-old sister, Anika, joins us, but today she’s home ill.
“What is it?” I ask.
“He’s staring at you again. He can’t keep his eyes off you. Nazi pig!” she says under her breath, barely loud enough for me to hear.
I roll my eyes and let out a groan.
“No, he’s not… he’s watching everyone. That’s his job. Finish your lunch before we have to get back to class.”
Satisfied with my lack of interest in the soldier, she flips her long brown hair to one side and continues eating.
I pop a piece of cold boiled potato into my mouth. I run my hand over the soft, cool grass as the fall sunshine kisses my face and soaks into my skin. For one moment, in the warmth of the striking sun, my life is normal.
Catching my breath, I think of simpler times. I long for the days of my childhood, running barefoot during summertime, playing with my sisters, and being teased by my brother. I can still smell the sweet fragrance of wildflowers floating in the warm breeze that speckled the grounds around our two-story farmhouse on the outskirts of Berlin. We enjoyed being outside together until it was time for dinner.
I remember nights when my mother would call us to the table; the aroma of what she prepared filled the air. I would inhale, taking in the scent, as the six of us sat down to enjoy the meal that greeted us.
Gathered together for dinner, we told stories of our days, shared dreams for our future, and reminisced about times gone by. Sometimes, after dinner, my father would get out his guitar and sing to us. His perfect pitch soothed me.
I close my eyes and think about what he sang to me. The memory warms my heart.
As he would strum, my brother Gavi would chime in with his harmonica, creating an ambient melody. Sometimes the music would stir in my soul, causing me to take to my feet and flutter around the room, my family in awe of the dance I performed. At times my sisters and I sang along, searching for the right harmony, taking turns singing the lead. My mother, not the best singer, clapped along with impeccable rhythm, the love she had for each of us shining in her eyes. Our house was filled with joy. Our house was filled with hope.
Often at night, my sisters and I would go out and lay on the grass. The night was always alive with chirping crickets, an owl in the distance and even the occasional bark from the neighbor’s dog. The sky was lit with thousands of stars, twinkling as if competing with the brilliance of the moon.
“Look right there. It’s a heart,” I said on one of those nights, pointing towards the sky.
“Uhh, Estherly, you always see hearts!” my older sister, Oma, said, laughing.
“It sort of looks like a heart, if you squint and look at it sideways.” Anika giggled.
“It’s as plain as day! Right there over the tree, a big, beautiful heart! I can’t believe you don’t see it!” I said, standing up and pointing again.
Laughing, they grabbed my arms and pulled me back down to the soft, dewy grass. Hand in hand, we would spend hours lying under the night sky, sharing our hearts as only sisters can. Our bond, our loyalty, and our love was solidified under those stars shared with the whispering winds.
A gun fires, jolting me from my memories. Grabbing my hand, Mae looks at me with wide, petrified eyes. Searching for Henry, our eyes meet, and I’m reminded how much I’m in love. Even during this horrible time, his subtle smile lets me know that, for now, we are not in imminent danger. On cue, soldiers rush our way and usher me, Mae, and our schoolmates back to class, breaking the stare between Henry and me.
“Gather your things. Get back inside. Move it!” demands one of the men.
Making our way back to the brick schoolhouse, more shots ring out. Panic sets in once again as the sound moves in closer. I stare up at what used to be a beautiful, historic building, the schoolhouse I’ve always been fortunate to call my home away from home. The broken windows almost look as though they weep for the grand presence the building once was. The two-story schoolhouse used to have twenty classrooms. Now, with most of the students and their families either deported or murdered, they cram what is left of us into one room on the bottom floor.
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About the Authors:
Marisa Oldham is an Amazon bestselling author of the popular The Falling Series - The Falling of Love, The Falling of Grace, and The Falling of Hope. A passionate writer with immense depth, Marisa published a highly emotional spinoff of the series, Learning to Breathe, that connected her readers with her by sharing her personal experiences in a fictional manner. In a short story collection, After We Fell, that follows Learning to Breathe, Marisa continued to dive into the trials and tribulations of her characters’ lives with Falling in Paris, Falling Apart, and Falling Forever. Marisa has also contributed to anthologies and has many works in progress.
Marisa lives in a small town in Tennessee with her sister Carraine and her adorable Yorkshire Terrier mix, Winnie. Outside of writing, Marisa enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, horror movies, and crafting. One of Marisa’s favorite aspects of being a writer is connecting with her readers. You may reach Marisa via social media or email.
Carraine Oldham is a first-time author who discovered her talent and joy for writing as a teenager. While she kept her writing to herself, over the years she penned short stories in a journal that she only shared with Marisa. Carraine embarked on writing her first novel after pitching the idea for Remember the Stars to her sister and published author, Marisa Oldham. After thirteen-years of research, life-altering changes, and surviving tragedy, Carraine's poetic writing has captured the hearts of her readers.
Carraine lives in a small Tennessee town with her sister Marisa and the love of her life, a six-pound Yorkshire Terrier mix, Winnie. When she's not writing, Carraine enjoys travel, singing, crafting, and relaxing on the couch with Winnie and her favorite TV shows.
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Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.