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Defy the Night

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
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 o
Paperback, 311 pages
Published February 1st 2014 by Kregel Publications
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Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Whenever I read anything connected to the Holocaust, I am deeply moved. I can't imagine the horrors that happened to an entire race of people simply based on what other people thought of them, that they were less than worthy of living. It is hard not to be impacted in a deep sense that these things really happened and they are not the works of fiction. In the novel, Defy The Night by authors Heather and Lydia Munn, the story chronicles the lives of women who were moved to save the children that ...more
If I had to describe Defy the Night in one word it would have to be addictive. I have a weird wariness for historical fiction set during WWI and WWII but the summary for this one really caught my eye when I got the tour invite, it just sounded like a book I shouldn't miss which I'm glad I didn't because it had me up reading until 5 a.m. yesterday morning. I couldn't put it down until I got to the end and, even then I was left wanting more. I just love that feeling when a book I'm curious but ...more
Apr 19, 2014 Faith rated it it was amazing
One sentence review: This book means something.
Defy the Night is a heart-rending story. It's terrible and wonderful and the characters become strong presences in your mind as you read.

Historical fiction can often seem fluffy, with modern people and poor plots forced back into a different era.
Not so Defy The Night.
This book is written in a serious, steady way, with a tone that captures the tedium and the danger and intensity of life in 1941 Tanieux France.

Magali is a fifteen year old girl li
Lisa Johnson
Apr 28, 2014 Lisa Johnson rated it really liked it
Title: Defy the Night
Author: Heather Munn & Lydia Munn
Pages: 312
Year: 2014
Publisher: Kregel
No matter what age a reader is, unless quite young, this historical fiction is one to take time to read and be reminded of those courageous people who helped save lives. In this writing based on fact, one young women desires to help save lives as she views the work of another aid worker bringing in children from Nazi camps. The point I believe of the novel is how one French girl, Magali, has a distorte
Apr 27, 2014 Jill rated it it was amazing
Defy the Night is set in the year 1941 in France and continues the story begun in How Huge the Night. The country is feeling the effects of war with food rations and much scarcity. At fifteen years old, Magali wants to do something of importance. She doesn't want to to be stuck in a stuffy schoolroom studying; she wants to be out making a difference.

Enter Paquerette who has been bringing refugee children from internment camps. Some have been orphaned and others have been voluntarily given up by
Rambling Readers
Apr 28, 2014 Rambling Readers rated it liked it
"Defy the Night" is a tale to make readers consider true courage and sacrifice. Heather Munn and Lydia Munn teach young adult readers valuable lessons through their teenage protagonist, Magali. The story takes place in 1940s France, when Hitler's regime is beginning to carry out their devastating plot against Jews. The setting provides a different perspective of World War II for both young adult and adult readers, and the Munns describe the political and social environment with clarity and ...more
Victor Gentile
May 01, 2014 Victor Gentile rated it it was amazing
Heather Munn and Lydia Munn in their new book, “Defy The Night” Book Two in The Night series published by Kregel Publications takes us into the life of Magali: In the midst of war, one teenager is determined to make a difference.

From the back cover: 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 friend
Vera Godley
Apr 29, 2014 Vera Godley rated it really liked it
In Defy the Night the reader experiences World War II though the lens of a 15-year-old girl living in France. It is 1941 and Germany is pursuing its goal of becoming the master conquerer. Magali is a young 15 year old that experiences inner anger, turmoil, rebellion, and down-right contrariness. Most of these feelings she manages to keep inside herself, but it is known by all the adults around her that Magali needs to grow up or mature.

There is a movement afoot where an organization is managing
Christian Fiction Addiction
Apr 29, 2014 Christian Fiction Addiction rated it it was amazing
Living in the "free zone" of France in 1941, fifteen-year-old Magali desires nothing more than making a difference, longing to somehow fight against the evil that has swept the land under Nazi rule during World War II. When she meets Paquerette, she is captivated by this young woman who rescues Jewish children from interment camps and from the certain death that awaits them. Magali is overjoyed when Paquerette asks her to help transport the children from the camps, until her impulsive actions ...more
Beckie Burnham
Apr 29, 2014 Beckie Burnham rated it it was amazing
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.

Magali Losier is a young woman determined to make a dif
May 31, 2014 Gayle rated it liked it

The author did a good job of letting you feel like you were there. You could feel the Nazis closing in and you knew that they would threaten your life, your home and the ones you loved. I could feel the cold of winter as the soldiers had no way to get out of the cold. It was enough to make you feel cold. You could smell the stench of the Nazi death camps. The truth of the book is saddening, but real. The author presented something that I didn't know. During the first part of the war, chi
Apr 06, 2014 Mirrani rated it liked it
The only way to start off when talking about a book like this is to say that you really got caught up in the story, that you felt the pressure of the Nazis drawing closer to the safety of your life, that you could smell the death of the camps, or experience the bone-chilling cold of winter in wartime. It's all true. Not just the events, but the fact that you really do seem to experience them while you read, just a little bit.

What's more important is that you get to experience the "softer" side o
Jun 08, 2014 Andi rated it it was ok
I guess what I have to say most about this book is that it has an awful lot of potential.

As far as I can tell, it's one of the first books ever written by these authors. And to be honest, my main quibble with it was the fact that it strolled along aimlessly.

Don't get me wrong. Stuff happened. But it was just stuff. It was sort of like "Oh this happened. That happened. How horrible. I am changing."

There was no plot. People said things, did things, changed, the world changed, but there wasn't a re
Meagan Myhren-bennett
May 02, 2014 Meagan Myhren-bennett rated it it was amazing
Defy the Night: A Novel
By Heather Munn and Lydia Munn

War has come to France and the lives of the innocent are in danger simply because they were born into a world that now wants to destroy them. Freedom is an illusion that they are living under with the hope that it will one day return.

When refugees begin coming into her mountain village Magali sees a need. There are babies and children to help settle. But Magali wants to do more. When Paquerette gives her this opportunity Magali is determined t
Apr 28, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing and heart-wrenching story and yet totally beautiful! It is based on an historical town in France and the sacrificial efforts given toDefy the Night book cover save others – children being the focus of this novel. The characters are complex, most with back stories of pain and yet figuring out how to truly live during this war.

Magali is only 15 years old, but she has a burning desire to help. She is finally able to join Paquerette, her hero, in smuggling refugee children from i
Mazzou B
May 03, 2014 Mazzou B rated it it was ok
It is the tumultuous year of 1941 and the people of France are living in apprehension, fear and confusion. Fifteen-year old Magali is restless because of the inactivity of the regular citizens. Hitler has taken over her homeland and yet she can do nothing. Or so she thinks. Soon an opportunity arises involving legally rescuing children from internment camps. Magali is overcome by her admiration for Paquette, the young woman in charge of these missions whose desire is to save as many lives as ...more
Amanda Stephan
Apr 25, 2014 Amanda Stephan rated it it was amazing
A coming of age story set in France, early 1941.
There were so many things I loved about this story. I'm not a history buff by any stretch of the term, but there are a few historical periods I can't learn enough about. World War 2 is one of those times. Magali is a young fifteen year old French girl who wants to fight back against the Nazis and Germans and scorns anyone whom she deems weak. Like her mother, her friend, and another young girl she doesn't know very well and doesn't care to.

She's a
Oct 26, 2015 Tammy rated it it was amazing
Having read How Huge the Night by this wonderful mother/daughter writing team I knew that I wanted to read Defy the Night also.
Defy the Night is written in the first person. In the "voice" of Magali the main character.
Hate! Torture! Hunger! Love! Faith! wow! this book brings "it" all to the table. So many feelings . . . and these feelings are "given" to the reader.
To be honest I had to set this book down at times because I became so heartbroken.
I cheered Magali on. She is a teenager who just w
Cindy Sproles
Apr 28, 2014 Cindy Sproles rated it really liked it
Wow! Was I ever surprised. Defy the Night certainly did just that. The Munn ladies opened my eyes to the atrocities of war and the saving grace of kindness. The authors have taken real time events and towns, then carefully extracted the perfect balance of fact and fiction drawing us into a moving story of two women whose desire was to make "but a small difference."
Paquerette and fifteen-year-old Magali, make it their goal to save as many as they can. The selfless ambition proved successful as th
Aug 02, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
What a heart-wrenching story. When I have thought of the camps in WWII I always thought of Jewish people and some children but I never defy the nightgave much thought to the babies.

Until I read this book.

As Magali goes and rescues her first baby my heart twisted in pain. What would it be like to hold your baby and know that if you don’t let it go it will die? That if you do let it go you may never see it again? I just can’t imagine making that choice. But I am sure there were women who had to do
Sarah Wolfe
May 06, 2014 Sarah Wolfe rated it really liked it
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. Oftentimes, it was sad but at times very thrilling and exciting! At first, however, it took me a little while to get into it, but by the end I loved the story and found Magali more and more relatable.

Magali is such a strong character and I really love her for that. I think she's also very complex. Her guilt made her self-torture, both mentally and physically. I thought that was a very interesting layer to add to her, because honestly, I would have felt th
Mar 11, 2014 Laurel rated it liked it
I give this book more a 3.5 stars than a 3 but it would be incorrect to say it was 4 stars. I enjoyed how this book gave me a different perspective on life in this time period and I enjoyed that but Magali's actions often seemed misguided. To me she just wanted to be a hero and everyone else was less righteous or less helpful than her. She idolized Paquerette to the point where she was blinded to the fact that she makes mistakes like everyone else. Magali threw herself into danger multiple times ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Ceh131973 rated it liked it
[Defy the Night] by [Heather and Lydia Munn] was a very telling coming of age story. In fact throughout most of the book I really did not like the main character, Magali. I thought she was selfish and egotistical. I guess that was the point though.

The setting of "free" France during early World War II is something most people are not aware of because it was when most of the world was in denial. The people there fought on silently doing what they could for whom they could. This was not the Resist
Jun 08, 2014 Jamila rated it liked it
This book put me in the biggest reading slump I have ever been in. I did not want to read simply because I was reading this book.

In terms of the book in general it was good, it was not my kind of book which is probably why I did not enjoy it that much. Usually with historical fiction I like some kind of interesting twist but this was just straight history. Although I do think this is an important book for people to read perhaps for school. I do think that others who love historical fiction woul
JoJo Sutis
Apr 29, 2014 JoJo Sutis rated it it was amazing
WOW!!! where to begin....
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 evo
May 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed discovering about the resistance activity of rescuing and saving children and specifically Jewish children in southern France I in the beginning of ww2. I was very impressed by Lydia and Heather's talents. I know Lydia a little bit because they are missionaries in France we have been supporting for many years and not much of Heather but I find out that their descriptions of Magali and Paquerette the two heroines are very good. a bit melo dramatic but isn't it how adolescents ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
A great read. Set in France during the early years of WWII (1941-42), this historical young adult fiction tells the story of a teenage girl and her aspirations to make a difference. She partners with a volunteer from a humanitarian organization and helps rescue children from internment camps and get them settled in temporary homes. It's a coming of age story that explores the themes of evil/good, friendship, loyalty, and gender roles to name a few. I also love books written in first-person ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Joan rated it really liked it
This is a good novel for teens about the early years of WW II in France. It shows that teens were making a difference in that young women were helping transport children who had been released from detainment camps. It is a good character study of a young teen coming of age also. The book is a sequel but it reads well on its own.
See my full review at
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Apr 15, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This is the 2nd (but can standalone) in this series about a town in France that saves thousands of Jews during WWII. Specifically, this story highlights a woman and teenage girl who bring kids out of prison camps. It was also a coming-of-age and coming-to-God story for the teenage girl. I loved it and sobbed thru most of it!
Claud (fictionalgeek)
It was an intresting read, especially to see the point of view from a French girl instead of hone in Germany. Overall entertaining but not a favorite
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