post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Hidden Rainbow
Author: Christmas Carol Kauffman
Major Themes: Yugoslavia, Serbia
Synopsis: Living in a strongly Catholic village in Serbia in the early 1900s, the Olesh family had a difficult time learning the truth.
Christmas Carol Kauffman is one of my all-time favorite authors. I believe I was first introduced to her books when I was about eight or nine years old, when a friend loaned us Hidden Rainbow. Ever since, I have loved them. I only wish she had written more! All of her books, except one which is pure historical fiction (Not Regina), tell the true story of a person or family who lives through very hard situations and finds God to be very real. They are written as a novel, and keep your attention all the way through. Every character is real and the story will stick with you for a long time.
I hadn’t read Hidden Rainbow in a long time, but decided to pick it up this week. I enjoyed it as much this time as the last! This is the incredible, true story of a family in Serbia (part of Yugoslavia at some points in history). John and Anna Olesh, a young couple deeply in love with each other, lived in a small, close-knit village in the early years of the 20th century. Because they were so poor, hardly able to make ends meet, John went to America for a year and a half to earn money so they could buy their own house and field. When he came home, he met, for the first time, his firstborn child, little Mary. Soon after his return, as they were about to sit down for the first meal in their own home, a man knocked on the door and asked for a meal. He offered a New Testament in return for the meal, but they were too afraid of the Father and the other villagers to accept it.
Soon after Mr. Lutz’s visit, little Mary fell and hurt her knee, crippling her leg permanently. The witchdoctor’s treatment didn’t help, and the medical doctor said they waited too long. John had to go to America again for work, and to ask for a second opinion. While he was gone, Anna met Mr. Lutz again and accepted a Testament. Reading it, however, raised more questions in her mind than she had before, and plunged her even deeper into turmoil. Where would she ever find the answers to her questions? Would she and John ever be able to find peace?
One thing that I had totally forgotten about in this story was the role that World War I played in the family’s life. Several of the chapters give a vivid picture of the effects of the war on the civilians in Serbia. Life was incredibly hard for them.
Hidden Rainbow is a very inspiring story of God working in the hearts of people who know nothing about Him and who live in a very repressed, fearful culture. I have always loved this book and I predict that you will, too.
A note of interest: We receive occasional emails from a man named Peter Hoover, who lives in a Christian community in Tasmania. In 2013 he went with a group of people on a tour of Europe. One of the places they visited was the village that the Olesh family had lived in. Amazingly, there were people there who remembered the story of the Olesh family and that they had immigrated to America, although they knew nothing about what happened to John and Anna’s family after leaving Yugoslavia!
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy Hidden Rainbow:
Christian Light Publications:
Keywords: Serbia, Yugoslavia