The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

Title: The Sea Before Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Sunrise at Normandy, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Romance (WW2)

Era: 1944 (WW2)

Setting: London, England (prologue set in Texas) with a bit in Edinburgh, Scotland (!!!)

Publisher: Revell

Source: from Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review)

Time Taken to Read: under two days

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars (+!)

Continue reading “The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin”

Advertisements

A Question of Courage by Jesseca Wheaton (Blog Tour)

AQoC Blog tour image

Title: A Question of Courage

Author: Jesseca Wheaton

Series: Questions of War, #2

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure (with light romance)

Era: World War Two

Setting: Kansas and the South Pacific

Publisher: Jesseca Wheaton

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Continue reading “A Question of Courage by Jesseca Wheaton (Blog Tour)”

Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

Title: Hannah’s Moon

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: American Journey, #5

Genre: science fiction (time travel romance)

Era: contemporary & 1945

Setting: Tennessee, United States

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: from author (in exchange for honest review)

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt

34212850

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, Hannah’s Moon, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

I don’t know what to say about this novel. It was amazing, yes, but I don’t know if I can put that amazingness into sentences that make a lick of sense. But I’m going to try, and hopefully I’ll be able to do this book justice.

Let me just say, before I delve into each individual aspect, that it is an amazing book. I cried, I laughed, I shivered – from fear, from worry, from excitement. It’s threatened Indiana Belle‘s place as my favorite Heldt book!

PLOT: 5/5

Incredible.

I’m not going to attempt to recap this book (I rarely do that; it’s just not my style), but let me just say that all the twists and turns were quite amazing. I can honestly say I didn’t see most of the plot twists coming, and even the smallest changes kept me spinning, excited to keep reading, not wanting to stop.

Also, the ending … I don’t want the American Journey series to end, but let me just say, that the final plot twist + seeing all the characters I’ve read about in previous books again if only briefly + how it concluded the series was pretty awesome!

Also, it was pretty clean (that I remember). Which is something I’m technically supposed to talk about later on, but, well, it bears mentioning twice.

CHARACTERS: 5/5

I felt that every character in this book was well-developed and interesting. A few of my favorites were …

Margaret: I loved her to death. Her backstory was heartbreaking, but it really added depth to her character. Also, she was just a sweet, friendly lady. Technically, the main story didn’t revolve around her, but she was a great sideplot.

David: David is awesome! He’s one of those guys you root for and yet want to push into a creek or something.

Claire: Because she’s just so sweet. And I feel so awful for her, poor dear, or at least at the start of the book.

Ron, I’m not putting up there because he annoyed me. He did some pretty stupid things, even if he did them for the right reason. I was impressed with his fortitude in certain situations, though.

SETTING: 5/5

I felt that John A. Heldt did a great job researching for this book and putting that research into this fictional world.

(Minor spoilers!)

One of my favorite parts were the details about the Indianapolis. I am by no means a WW2 buff, but I do know a ton (and I’m not exaggerating) about the USS Indianapolis. Possibly because of Jaws and the sharks. Okay, mostly because of Jaws and the sharks. *sigh*

Also, am I the only one who was just a little disappointed that there was no Jaws reference? That would have been a perfect way to warn Ron. Ah, well, I can go write my own book if I want to use that. 😛

(End of minor spoilers!)

WRITING: 5/5

I thought it was quite well-written. I don’t know if it’s proper reviewer protocol to say this or not, but I really see how the author’s prose, dialogue, etc. has improved from book to book, which is just fun to see.

CONTENT: 3/5

Language: some language, including a few instances of d**n and h*ll as well as possibly oh my g*d (although it’s been a while since I read it). Pretty infrequent.

Violence: talks about the war, people dying, etc. A semi-detailed account of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and what the survivors experienced. A fight in an alley, described in a little detail.

Sexual: several kisses, some a little bit detailed (but not much). Claire and Ron have suffered numerous miscarriages and a stillborn child. Margaret and David kinda-sorta have a romance while Margaret is engaged. Margaret has a backstory; (spoilers ahead) she got pregnant out of wedlock; she gave her child up for adoption. (end of spoilers)

Other: much sadness and drama. *couldn’t think of anything else to put here*

Overall, it was pretty clean. I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens, but I think anyone about 15+ would be able to handle it.

OVERALL: 5/5

I’m starting to feel a little guilty about not thinking up something negative to say about this book, but I honestly can’t! It’s a little heavier than the other Heldt books, but it’s really, really good. Heartbreaking … and yet leaves you with a satisfied feeling.

Hmm … I guess it’s not out in paperback, so I could moan about that a little. I really want to own a physical copy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John A. Heldt

John A. Heldt is the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series. The former reference librarian and award-winning sportswriter has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, Heldt is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.

Blog (social media links on sidebar)


~Kellyn Roth~

Bloglovin’ · Goodreads · Facebook

p.s.

Have you ever read anything by John A. Heldt? Do you enjoy time travel fiction? What about WW2 fiction?

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

Title: Anchor in the Storm

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom, #2

Genre: Christian Historical Romance/Mystery

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts (USA)

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. No language. It’s set during a war. Some violence and such connected with that, though nothing graphic. There’s a drug ring. Mentions of drinking and taking drugs, and Arch goes to a bar. Kisses and such. It’s mentioned that a man tried to take advantage of Lilly once. No details at all.

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

27066853

One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance — and Danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy — even if he “is” her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves — and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

This is going to be a short review due to limited time and me being behind on reviewing and struggling to catch up. However, I don’t have a lot to say about Sarah Sundin’s books that I haven’t said before (not that they’re the same, but that they all have the same level of awesomeness, and I tend to forget the differences in ranting about the awesomeness …), so that’s actually quite fitting. 🙂

That was another great story by Sarah Sundin! I can’t wait until book three of the Waves of Freedom trilogy comes out!

Lillian and Arch were both great characters. All the characters are, but these two were my favorite.

I loved Arch in book one. He’s a swell guy, pretty serious most of the time, always a perfect gentleman (that scene in the bar was hilarious!), but he is prone to depression and very insecure about being loved for his money/social position/looks instead of for himself. Of course we love him for his faults. Yeah, I know, in my last review I was going on about this guy who was perfect despite his lack of faults … well, Arch was perfect because of his faults. It makes sense. Just trust me on this one.

Lillian is also pretty insecure (if you didn’t guess!). As a kid, she lost her leg and now wears a prosthesis. You can imagine how that makes her feel! Overall, however, she’s pretty confident about that, which surprised me. Her main problem is her ‘wooden heart.’ She shuts people out, pushes herself too hard, goes through life bluntly and without feeling. At least, his (evil!) twin sister thinks so …

Which reminds me, I hate Lillian’s twin sister’s guts. I don’t know why, but I just do. I suppose because I can’t stand people who whine. Drives me crazy. I’m a lot more like Lillian; I’d die before I’d cry or complain or let anyone know I need help. 😛

The plot was, of course, fantastic. Another mystery, which I didn’t mind one bit! Very exciting, intriguing, etc.

It was also great to see Jim and Mary again, however briefly. I’m a bit surprised they’re only dating, though, not engaged. Wait a minute … no. I’m not surprised one bit! Thinking back, they just got around to actually confessing their love (after months … and months … and months … not that it was irritating, but that their personalities are just like that!), and knowing their personalities … this is gonna take a while. But they have to get engaged in the next book, mmkay, Ms. Sundin? They just have to! Please?

Well, that’s about all I have to say. I hope you enjoyed this review, and I hope you’ll go pick up a copy of the book yourself so we can fangirl together. XD

~Kellyn Roth

The Show by John A. Heldt

Title: The Show

Author: John A. Heldt

Series: Northwest Passage, #3

Genre: Science Fiction Romance (time travel)

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2), contemporary, and 1918 (post-WW1)

Setting: London, England

Publisher: John A. Heldt

Source: author (in exchange for an honest review)

Rating: 3/5 stars

Content: 3/5. Some language (just a few times, though). Little/no violence (though mention of wars, etc.). Kisses (somewhat detailed), mentions of pregnancy. There’s a scene on Joel and Grace’s wedding night which I skipped and therefore couldn’t tell you about. So … no idea what went on there. *coughs* And then … Grace kinda gives her mother ‘the talk.’ I skimmed this as well, but I didn’t see anything explicit.

The Show by John A. Heldt

27858685

Seattle, 1941.

Grace Vandenberg, 21, is having a bad day. Minutes after Pearl Harbor is attacked, she learns that her boyfriend is a time traveler from 2000 who has abandoned her for a future he insists they cannot share. Determined to save their love, she follows him into the new century. But just when happiness is within her grasp, she accidentally enters a second time portal and exits in 1918.

Distraught and heartbroken, Grace starts a new life in the age of Woodrow Wilson, silent movies, and the Spanish flu.

She meets her parents as young, single adults and befriends a handsome, wounded Army captain just back from the war. In THE SHOW, the sequel to THE MINE, Grace finds love and friendship in the ashes of tragedy as she endures the trial of her life.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

This was a somewhat disappointing novel, mostly because of Grace’s actions in 1918. I was especially confused by her actions towards the end regarding her parents. I didn’t get how that could be possible until the way time travel works in these books was explained in The Mirror. Now that I understand that, however, I’m able to understand this novel much better.

I must say, I loved Grace’s parents as teens. They were amusing, especially her mother. I had no idea ‘Mrs. Vandenburg’ was such a kick as a kid!

I also found it difficult to believe that Grace got over Joel that quickly. Joel was her everything. Sure, she needed to move on … but she was married to him regardless of differences in time and space. Moving on doesn’t necessarily have to involve another man, okay?

I found the whole idea of the theater interesting. Very cool concept. One of the best things about this story other than seeing Grace and Joel again, hearing Grace’s side of the story, etc.

I’m not going to go on more (because I had rating less than four stars … even though three stars is honestly a decent rating …). I’ll just say that this is a good story, but not quite as good as some of Heldt’s others.

~Kellyn Roth

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Title: Blue Skies Tomorrow

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series Wings of Glory, #3

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: California (USA), England, France/Germany

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5 stars. No language. There’s a war going on, which Jack participates in. People are dying, planes are being shot down, etc. Wife-beating (highlight to read spoilers): Jim (Helen’s now-dead husband) used to beat Helen and Jim’s father beats Jim’s mother. Helen has a couple memories about this and is scarred by it. No details. As far as sexual content, some pretty detailed kisses/wanting to kiss and all the falling in love stuff. Nothing really inappropriate for anyone 13+, without parental guidance and younger with parental guidance (although Ray mentions Helen is “used to a lot more than kisses.” Me: “Mmkay … I know she was married … so you didn’t have to mention that …”).

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

9467346

In a time of peril, can they find the courage to confront their fears and embrace a love that lasts?

When her husband becomes a casualty of the war in the Pacific, Helen Carlisle throws herself into volunteering for the war effort to conceal her feelings. But keeping up appearances as the grieving widow of a hometown hero is taking its toll. Soon something is going to give.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit. His stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life–and a convenient excuse to ignore his deepest fear. When the beautiful Helen catches his eye and captures his heart, he is determined to win her hand.

But when Ray and Helen are called upon to step out in faith and put their reputations and their lives on the line, can they meet the challenges that face them? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with drama, daring, and all the romance of the WWII era, Blue Skies Tomorrow is the captivating final book in the popular Wings of Glory series.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

I can’t believe this fantastic series is over! Three books is really too few! I can’t stand it! *chokes*

Okay, so, this was a fantastic book. I didn’t like it as much A Memory Between Us, but it was as heartbreaking if not more so. Being hurt by someone you neither love nor trust is very different from being hurt by someone whom you love and trust, and … gosh. I was in tears … especially that scene where (highlight) Helen drives Ray away because he found out Jim used to beat her and she doesn’t want to dishonor his memory, etc. and that scene where Helen finds out that Ray is ‘dead.’

Although Helen was reacting incorrectly to what happened to her (heroizing Jim), it was really realistic! I totally understood why she did it. In fact, it’s fantastic how well we got into both the main characters’ heads.

I loved Ray. He was a simply fantastic character, a great guy. Sure, he had his problems, but I was like, “I DON’T CARE. YOU’RE PERFECT. STOP TRYING TO PERFECT THE PERFECTION, MAN!!!”

Helen … oh, Helen. You’re so messed up! Your child needs spanked. I wanted to give you a talking to. ‘A spanked child is a happy child.’ That’s what I’d tell you. Drag him along the straight and narrow (which basically means make him do what you want him to do because he’s a toddler and a toddler is like, “That’s mine and that’s mine and that’s mine although it’s actually yours …” and that’s not life!) when he’s too little not to stray, and eventually he’ll get up and walk it himself. You can’t make him into the perfect man, but …

And … I just realized the thing I thought Helen was most messed-up about was not spanking her kid …

Anyway, I really sympathized with Helen, even as I was frustrated with her. ‘Cause being scared of a kid a quarter your size? That’s … just sad. But I guess it’s understandable considering the circumstances.

The way Helen and Ray met and got to know each other and everything … I must say that was just perfect! I loved it.

I was a little upset with Mr. Novak about not interfering when he knew what was happening. I mean, he’s the pastor. I know he can’t force anything on anyone, but … he should definitely have dealt with it. It wasn’t ‘none of his business.’ When someone’s being hurt, it’s always your business to interfere and try to help them!

I found it hilarious how Jack and Walt didn’t recognize Ray until he mentioned the stain on the runner! Best (happy) scene in the book!

Anyway, this is a fantastic novel – though not quite the same as A Memory Between Us; nothing’s gonna trump that – and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get my hands on something new by Sarah Sundin! 😀

~Kellyn Roth

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Title: A Memory Between Us

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Wings of Glory, #2

Genre: Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 15+ (upper young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: England

Publisher: Revell Books

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. First, obviously, there is a war going on, planes are being shot down, people are dying/almost dying/being gravely wounded. However, it’s never graphic. So, yep, violence and thematic elements. No language. Then … there’s Ruth’s back story. (SPOILER) Basically, she was raped as a young girl. (SPOILER ENDS) It’s never described (no flashbacks or anything). It was tastefully handled (just like ’40s movies always handled that kind of thing), but it’s still there and she’s pretty broken, obviously. Also, (SPOILER) a man tries to take advantage of Ruth later on, but nothing comes of it and the guy goes to jail. (SPOILER ENDS)

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

7685251

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge–until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth’s heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him.

Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man.

Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

 Wow. Just wow.

I’m sorry. It’s been almost two months, and I still can’t form words into sentences to describe this book.

It is so emotional.

It is so heartbreaking.

It is so beautiful.

I am almost crying while I write this, guys. Just thinking about the book is making me tear up.

I can’t really tell you a lot about the book itself, therefore. It’s … it’s just amazing. Read it. Now.

Except … well, I do have some content concerns (which are mentioned up there ^^). Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger teens without parental guidance. Older teens, however, should be able to handle it. It’s very delicately written, just like any ’40s movie. Except this is a ’40s book. And it wasn’t written during the ’40s. Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Sundin is incredibly talented.

This is an incredible story, from wonderful characters – every one like a real person with their ups, their downs, their ghosts – to fast-paced action scenes, to slower romance scenes (that were often cute … or heartbreaking … or both …).

Because I’m not capable of being organized just now (having fond reminisces about this book), I’ll list my favorite things.

  • Charlie and May, Jack and Ruth. Cutest foursome ever! Every scene with these guys … wow.
  • Charlie. AAAAAH!!!!! *sobs and laughs at the same time* And his friendship with Jack was amazing. I want a friend like that! No, wait, I already have one … *grins at various friends* *leaves them to speculate which one I’m talking about* 😉
  • May. Wow. Wow. Wow.
  • Jack. I love his character, and I especially love this flaw! I am incredibly prideful, and his story … it touched me here. *points to heart* He’s a wild ride, a hilarious guy, too. Lots of layers. Like an onion. That’s why I was crying, probably … not like I actually got emotional or anything …
  • Ruth. Okay, I’m going to stop listing the characters after her. She is really a standup gal. I can understand getting so obsessed with something that you ignore everything else. I … do that. Not for the reasons she did, though, of course; I’m just naturally obsessive. XD She was so realistic, too! I had to keep reminding myself she never actually existed … nor did her pain … so I could stop crying …
  • Glimpses at Walt and Allie again. I loved these guys (not as much as Jack and Ruth), and whenever I heard of them, it was really cool.
  • That scene where Jack confronts Ruth. Not to give away spoilers, but that one is so heartbreaking … I love it and hate it and aaah!!!!
  • First kiss. You’ll understand after reading the book …
  • “Long ago she’d clamped an iron shell around her heart and nothing and no one could pry it lose, but deep inside the tender flesh still beat.” Why do I love this quote so much!?!?!
  • Everything I haven’t mentioned so far.

I’d recommend A Memory Between Us to any lover of books. Why? Because I’m not required to give specifics for a novel as good as this. ANY lover of books – and quite a few book-haters, too – would love this novel.

~Kellyn Roth

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

Title: Through Waters Deep

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Waves of Freedom, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure/Romance/Mystery

Age-Range: 13+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 2/5. Some violence, nothing too graphic. A lot of suspense. No real sexual content except a few kisses, attraction, etc. No language. I can’t quite vouch for the content, though, because it’s been a month since I read it.

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

23411607

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood.

Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Perhaps you think that everything I say about this novel will sound redundant. It’s a book by the author of A Distant Melody, which I reviewed just a few days ago. They’re both set during WW2, both are adventure/romances with very strong (amazing!) Christian messages, and both were absolutely adored by the person who’s writing this review. However, these two stories are very different.

First, the obvious. A Distant Melody is about an airforce man; Through Waters Deep is about a member of the navy. This, in itself, makes it a very different story. Not a better or worse story, though. The details on navy life were just as fantastic as the details on airforce life.

Then there’s the added mystery/thriller element of Through Waters Deep. The main characters are investigating (unofficially and unwantedly) a supposed sabotage at the Boston Navy Yard. Very exciting. That scene in the dry (well, once-dry) dock was fantastic! I admired Mary so much then! And all those references to Nancy Drew books … *cracks up* Yeah, how many Nancy Drew books HAVE you read? I wondered something.

And Mary’s “scarred past” … I’m sorry, but I laughed. Partially because I could totally be scarred if that’s all that’s required to be scarred. One time when I was five … *dies of shame* Seriously, though, it was refreshing. Little things – and even if it was dreadfully embarrassing, it was a little thing – can have a huge effect on our lives … and take control over us if we don’t give them to God!

And Jim … he “floats.” *cracks up* I’m sorry … I just can’t be serious about these guys’ problems! That’s not a bad thing, either. I mean it as a good thing. I enjoyed it very much. They had amusing problems … but they were serious to me, too. Though not sad (except the root of Jim’s, a little … but everyone knew it wasn’t his fault! He was just being an awesome brother!). Backstories don’t have to be sad/absolutely terrible to be effective. Well-played, Sarah Sundin!

I liked Mary very much. I get along best when I’m working behind the scenes, too, although I admit I like to be recognized. For some reason, seeming to be competent really helps me cope with difficult situations. But Mary … private, humble Mary. She’s a sweetheart. She needed to learn to accept praise, but she was such a sweetheart! She’s an awesome lady.

And, you know, she’s obviously better than Quintessa. MARY is GOLDEN!!!

Jim … he was a really cool guy and … amusing, I admit. I can’t wait to read book 2 of the Waves of Freedom story and read more about Arch. He was an interesting guy. Although, for heaven’s sake, find a girl who doesn’t care about money, won’t you?!?!

I don’t have much more to say, as I don’t want to go on saying clichĂ© things that anyone could say about any book. I’ll just say that if you like WW2, exciting adventures, intriguing mysteries, sweet romances, mouth-watering descriptions of dresses (what? I loved Mary’s clothes! Let’s go further: I NEED MARY’S CLOTHES!!! And to live in the ’40s, too, please!), and an amazing Christian message, read this novel! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Title: A Distant Melody

Author: Sarah Sundin

Series: Wings of Glory, #1

Genre: Christian Historical Adventure/Romance

Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)

Era: 1940s (WW2)

Setting: California (USA) and England

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell

Source: library

Rating: 5/5 stars

Content: 3/5. It’s actually really clean. I tried to explain it up here, but it got too long. Find my summary of the content in the review itself. 🙂

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

18406858

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval–even marry a man she doesn’t love. Lt. Walter Novak–fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women–takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

Buy on Amazon ~ Add on Goodreads

Simply fantastic story. I can’t get over it. I just loved it to death. Now, time to explain why A Distant Melody is now among my favorite novels ever. Not that I’ll be able to describe it in words, of course. You’ll just have to read the book and join my shrill fangirl shrieking. *dances happily*

Now, I just expected to read another sweet, light historical romance with a tiny bit of Christian faith. Was I ever surprised! The Christian message is strong! REALLY strong. Yet it’s not preachy. It’s amazing. Sundin didn’t bleach the truth; she handled it straightforwardly, never wincing at the way things are.

The romance … adorable. I loved how, although Walt and Allie were physically attracted to each other (healthily; more on that later), neither of them were described as handsome/beautiful. Quite interesting. They really had a solid friendship before they moved on to romance. They depended on each other, they knew each other, they were awesome together … *grins* I’m just so happy thinking about this book right now. 😀

Before I go any farther, a bit about the content (as promised):

I felt like I had to content-rate this 3/5 although it just didn’t feel unclean! It was a very sweet book, and everything that was wrong (even little white lies/not telling the whole true being a lie) was dealt with exactly as it should be, and wow! Just wow.

Walt was attracted to Allie (and visa-versa, I think; I don’t remember exactly), but he wasn’t gawking at her all the time; he was healthily attracted to her, I’d say. That’s really the first time I’ve seen that in a book. I was like, “Wow … that’s cool!” A few kisses, but nothing that made me squirm.

Also, there’s some gossip about Baxter (that he might be homosexual) that is never exactly disproved, though Allie is sure it’s not true; it’s just gossip. No language. Some violence; nothing really graphic, but it might disturb the weak-hearted. It’s war, guys. People die. Get over it. 

Back to the actual story.

Time to talk about characters. You know how I feel about characters, guys. I love ’em. I adore ’em. But I rarely find characters that satisfy my needs! These guys did. Walt, Allie, Frank, and every other character in this book was amazing. They were very real people, none of them completely perfect, none of them (except Baxter, maybe) completely evil.

I especially felt bad for Allie. I think it’s best if you read this book not knowing a ton about it (it’s one of those books that unfolds best if you don’t know a ton about it when you start reading), but I emphasized with her every step of the way.

And Walt … I don’t really have a problem with lying (not even “little white” ones) … but this still touched me. I do stretch the truth sometimes, I guess, come to think of it, but I’m a storyteller. What do you expect?

And there I am making excuses for myself again.

More than anything, this is a story of character growth – growth in personality, growth toward God, etc. Not that the romance wasn’t fantastic … but the character growth was the coolest part.

If you don’t like character-based stories, you’re an idiot that’s okay. This is a fantastic adventure story. We spend a lot of time in England, flying over France, almost dying, etc. I was so proud of knowing a bit about bombers due to a story my friend wrote. I was all like, “I don’t need to read this paragraph describing the plane! I already know what it looks like! HA!!!” 😛

Overall, I would recommend this book to any teen/adult who loves WW2, romance, adventure, the ’40s in general (research for both the ’40s as an era and WW2 was amazing, by the way! Sundin captured the ’40s!), bombers, action, a strong Christian message (that will change the way you think), touching stories, occasionally funny stories, sweet stories, or just trusts me to know a good book when I read it! 🙂

~Kellyn Roth