Posted in 1940's, Books, Revell Reads

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2)

 

“The Sky Above Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Sunrise At Normandy series//WWII fiction

Review copy through the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About the Book:

Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.
Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

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My Thoughts:

 

Ah, you just cannot go wrong with a Sarah Sundin novel! She writes some of the best and most satisfying WWII that I have ever read. <3 “The Sky Above Us” was no exception! Beautifully written with fantastic messages and amazing characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There is so much depth and reality to this story, and the characters are so beautifully flawed that this easily becomes a five star read for me.  “The Sky Above Us” provided a true read with real struggles and still left me with such a happy feeling.
I loved the characters, as always. They are each so unique and just so…believable. I am continually amazed at each new release of Sarah Sundin’s. And waiting for the third book is going to be so hard! I love the Paxton brothers so much, and the heroines are amazing!!
I thought the journey Violet and Adler both were on spiritually was portrayed so well. The faith message was truly marvelous and deeply touching.
Also might I add that I really want a novella or something of Adler and Violet’s life after the last page?! That would be amazing <3
All in all, a fantastic read and I highly recommend this series!
Posted in 1940's, character introduction

Character Introduction: Wyatt Paxton

 

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Welcome to the first CI post that features the hero of a book rather than heroine such as the past two months! When I read “The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin, I knew Wyatt had to be my next character I introduced her on the blog – he’s amazing. ^.^  (If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could.) 

 

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 I tried really hard to find a picture to represent Wyatt, but I couldn’t! I know, sad. But his picture is in my mind and I can’t find much that comes close. However, you can visit Sarah Sundin’s Pinterest Page to see a photo she found that does definitely very closely resemble Wyatt! See here.  

 

 

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Wyatt is one of those ‘strong and silent’ types. He’s not boisterous, but he is very kind-hearted. He’s harsh on himself as he yearns for forgiveness that he has to learn to give himself too.

I definitely relate to him in wanting to be perfect and getting frustrated with ourself when we can’t achieve that. But I loved his journey of truth, learning to truly accept the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness that makes us whole.

Wyatt is eager to help, eager to serve – as I said, he has got a very good heart. And a strong moral compass. He strives to always do what is right, no matter what.

 

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In short, I just love him so much :D Do not miss out on meeting him for yourself!!

 

 

Books I’d recommend to Wyatt:

Okay, so this section was harder this month because of the character…I’m not really sure what books he’d like, or if he would like the ones I’ve listed below. But we’ll go for it. ^.^

 

Brothers in Arms by Jack Lewis Baillot

Where Tree Tops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman, and Sarah Sundin

Shadowed by Grace by Cara Putman

 

 

 

 

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Get to know Wyatt Paxton in “The Sea Before Us”:

 

The Sea Before Us

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

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Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of ten novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

 

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And check out the Author-Interview with Sarah Sundin, and my review of the book by clicking on the graphics below:

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Posted in 1940's, Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Sarah Sundin

 

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Welcome to the third Author-Interview Monday on this blog! I can’t wait to share this lovely interview with author Sarah Sundin herself! Like, so excited. I’m a huge fan, and so to have her here on the blog – yep, pretty amazing!! I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…here’s the interview!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

My name is Sarah Sundin, and I write historical romance set during World War II.

 

 

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Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

I relate to all my main characters. When I write a novel, I really try to get into the skin of my hero and heroine. Before I begin the rough draft, I explore their lives up until the story begins, their personalities, fears, secrets, dreams, and hopes. In the process of writing, I imagine the story through the lens of their experiences. I feel like I get very close to them.

 

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Names are very important to me. Sometimes the character’s name is just there, and other times I have to work to find it. Baby name books are very helpful, and I look at timeliness of names, ethnicity, and meaning as well as if it seems to fit the character. For Wyatt Paxton’s name in The Sea Before Us, I thought I might want a name with a meaning related to the sea, since he’s a naval officer. I found Wyatt, which means water, and it sounded like an appropriate name for my hero from Texas! For Dorothy Fairfax, I chose Dorothy because it was very popular in that time period and it just fit her.

 

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I do a lot of pre-writing. I fill out character charts, plot charts, and more. Lists and color-coding and timelines make me very happy!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It usually energizes me. The plotting phase sometimes feels like a wrestling match as I’m trying to make the story and history and characters fit a structure, but it’s thrilling when it comes together. And the rest of the writing process is a blast—I love character development, research, the rough draft, and editing.

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

Very important. Each of my main characters has an issue to deal with—a sin issue, a faith issue, or a flaw he hasn’t dealt with. The events of the story forces him to turn to the Lord in order to grow and change.

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

Snicker. My husband is a pharmacist and he married a pharmacist—who turned into a novelist. It was kind of disorienting for him. He’s come to support his wife’s strange new career. When my daughter was a teenager, she thought my writing career was my way to torture her. She’s grown out of that now, thank goodness. My grown sons are great supporters and avid readers! My youngest son, a sailor in the Navy based in Japan, had his picture taken with one of my books at the top of Mount Fuji!

 

 

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If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to relax, be patient, and enjoy the writing process. I was so eager and anxious to get published—as are most beginning writers. But discovering the joy of writing was a time to be savored and to explore.

 

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two complete unpublished novels and an unpublished novella. The novels will never—and should never—be published. But they served their purpose and showed me I could finish a full-length novel. As for the novella, I’m still fond of it and would enjoy doing something with it someday.

 

 

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the joys of belonging to the Christian writing community is meeting dozens of authors. Some have become critique partners, some have become publicity partners, and some have “just” become dear friends. It’s an incredible blessing!

 

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Sea Before Us”?

Recently I’ve read and loved Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle (one of the three timelines involves the French Resistance leading up to D-day) and Jocelyn Green’s A Refuge Assured. Next on my to-be-read pile are two more World War II novels, Cathy Gohlke’s Until We Find Home and Liz Tolsma’s Melody of the Soul.

 

Image result for the lost castle by kristy cambronImage result for A refuge assured by jocelyn green  Image result for until we find home by cathy g Image result for melody of the soul

 

 

Thank you so very much, Mrs. Sundin!

 

 

 

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Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of ten novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Before Us.jpgBlurb for “The Sea Before Us”:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

 

 

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Wasn’t that superb, readers? I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers. And I took encouragement from what she’d tell her younger-writer-self. To enjoy the writing time. It’s definitely easy to strive for that one day when you finally become published, but the writing process is my favourite part and I want to savor it while it’s here. :)

So many great answers, and I hope you all enjoyed reading them as well! Learning more about favourite authors is a great treat. :)

 

If you’re interested, you can also read my review of “The Sea Before Us” here.

 

And check back next Monday for another special Character-introduction post! :)

 

 

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*Some of the images are stock-photos or taken from Amazon/Goodreads. I don’t claim any ownership to those ones. 

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews

“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin ~ Book Review

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“The Sea Before Us” by Sarah Sundin

Book One in Sunrise at Normandy series

Review copy through Revell Publishers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars <3

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About the Book:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a marvelous book. *Happy sigh*. A new book by Sarah Sundin is always highly anticipated, and this one did not let me down in the least. It was so excellent!
Wyatt Paxton and Dorothy Fairfax were amazing characters – so real, and they both had such depth. Each of the characters did.
The plot-line was superb, and drew you in from the beginning. There’s a ton of history in these books and still they read so smoothly.
Sometimes I think books you adore are harder to review. There was just so much about this book that I loved, that it is hard to find adequate words to describe it.
Wyatt was the perfect hero. Oh goodness – he had me from page one, truly. He is such an admirable man, with quiet strength and such a sense of what’s right and godly. And yet, so real – his struggles were hard, and he was so rough on himself. But wow – his whole journey was remarkable.
The same goes for Dorothy. I really liked her as well, and felt sad for her trials too. She felt like no one had ever really loved the real her – can you say heartbreaking? And while it was frustrating, her liking a certain other man who was not worthy of her, it was understandable – she yearned for something, anything.
I am just in awe at how Sarah Sundin can create a story that explores so much, endures so much, and yet comes out finished and completed at the end. No loose ends, everything ties up, and so emotionally investing!
And the plot-twist I wasn’t expecting – ufda. It just ties you in even more to the characters, all. Their struggle, their pains, and their resolution and healing. So beautiful!
WWII fiction at its finest indeed!!
And again, loooooved Wyatt. Can’t say that enough! New favourite hero…. ;)
Definitely recommend this book!!!!! Loved it so much <3
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Quotes:

I marked down several other quotes, but haven’t had the chance to turn them into quote graphics yet – but still hope to! Check back in April when I have a fun post planned relating to “The Sea Before Us”! :)

 

Posted in Books, Open Catagory Monday, Questions/answers

The Literary Dinner Party Tag :)

The Literary Dinner Party Tag!.png

 

Hello and Happy Monday! For today’s “open-catagory” post, I am going to do…
The Literary Dinner Party Tag!
In a round-about-way, I was tagged by Faith of Stories by Firefly ~ see, she tagged anyone who was wearing socks while reading her post, and I was, so here I am :D It looks like a fun tag, and I’m looking forward to sharing the characters I chose for the answers!

1// A Character who can/likes to cook:

I want to say the name of a character in a novel that is not yet published (that’d be because it’s not finished yet…), but I will do my best to name characters in already published works. So… I would say, Rylan of “One Enchanted Eve” by Melissa Tagg – while she primarily ‘bakes’, I think she and Colin could produce a scrumptious feast. :)
One Enchanted Eve (Enchanted Christmas Collection #2)
2// A Character who has the money to fund this party:
King Hezekiah  and Queen Hephzibah of “Isaiah’s Daughter” by Mesu Andrews – they’re King and Queen, so yes, they can afford this. :D
Isaiah's Daughter (Prophets and Kings, #1)
3// A Character that might cause a scene:
Freydis – I can just picture her at a dinner party and it not going so well…!
Forest Child (Vikings of the New World Saga, #2)
4// A Character who is amusing:
Sarah Hollenbeck – not sure if she’ll mean to be amusing, but it will be hysterical nonetheless!
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
5// A Character who is super popular
Lukas De Wilde  – yep.
A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England, #2)
6// One Villain:
Alex Martin – okay, he’s not really a villain at all. And he has his good qualities. Buuuut, well, yeah. Just gonna leave it at that. ^.^
Pit of Ambition, Book II in The Caselli Family Series
7// One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic:
I could come up with a thousand…but I will go with: Violet Hawthorne and Vance Everstone. <3
The Cautious Maiden (The Everstone Chronicles, #4)
8// One hero:
Walter <3
A Distant Melody  (Wings of Glory, #1)
9// One underappreciated character:
Chiara – I adore her, and her tenacity for life!
   Destiny Defied (The Destiny Series #1)  Destiny Delivered (The Destiny Series #2)  Destiny Defended: Rakshasa's Curse (The Destiny Series #3)
10// One character of your own choosing:
Again, I could choose a ton, but I’m going to go with Josey. :) Love her!
Everything's Coming Up Josey (Josey, #1)
And that brings us to the end of this tag!! I tag anyone who loves books and wants to do this ;)
Are you familiar with any of the characters I named?
Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Litfuse, Revell Reads

Book Review: “Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

 

“Anchor in the Storm” by Sarah Sundin

Book Two in the Waves of Freedom Series

WWII Historical Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse/Revell

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the book:

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.

 

 

My Thoughts:

Sarah Sundin never disappoints. :) “Anchor in the Storm” was another fantastic book, with a great plot and fantastic characters. There was also a bit of mystery in it which was fun to follow along with!
Lillian Avery was a really well-rounded character; unique too, and still relatable. And Arch was charming as well, and with his own flaws – I do really appreciate flawed characters. :)
The faith strand was good, and consistent, which was lovely – Christ is our Anchor!
The struggles and trials they went through were very real, and the background pain was believable and came across well.
“Jesus is you anchor, your hope in any storm, you sure refuge.” (Page 28)
And I must admit, I loved the romance – it was sweet and I really wanted the two together. Arch was the perfect gentlemen – seriously, he was just so thoughtful and sweet.
“Yet she was worth the effort” (Page 144)
There was a grandmotherly character in this book who had a great influence on Lillian, and helped her to open her heart, which was so nice – we all need someone to remind us! Because it is hard, and it does sometimes hurt, but God desires an open heart.
“Oh, sweet girl. You may be able to hide your feelings from people, but you can never hide them from the Lord.” (Page 67)
“Now you’ve experienced great love. Now you’ve suffered great loss. Now your heart is truly open” Lillian pressed her free hand to her chest. Why did an open heart have to hurt so much?” (Page 346)
There were just a couple of instances of their romance that I didn’t care for fully – it wasn’t horrible, but sometimes it seemed a little rushed (or rather, happened quickly once it did happen), and there were a lot of kisses, and

*** SPOILER***  I was a little bummed when there had to be the typical turmoil stretch in their relationship. I know that they don’t want it to seem too perfect all of the time, but it just seemed…too much in the ‘norm’. ***END OF SPOILER***

But yes, I enjoyed this book very well, and look forward to the next! Sarah Sundin’s writing is spectacular, with much talent, and always so captivating!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publishers (Revell) and Litfuse in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Pharmacist Lillian Avery and Ensign Archer Vandenberg are about to find out in Sarah Sundin’s new book, Anchor in the Storm. 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 Lillian has been filling? As the danger rises on both land and sea, the two must work together to answer that question. But can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

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Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Books, Litfuse

Litfuse Book Review: Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin

 

(Click image to go directly to book on Amazon)

 

Through Waters Deep” by Sarah Sundin

#1 in Waves of Freedom Series

WWII Fiction

Review copy source: Litfuse

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

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.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book – so excited! :D After reading “A Distant Melody” by Sarah Sundin, I was quite hooked on her writing. And “Through Waters Deep” didn’t disappoint. While it didn’t top “A Distant Melody” for me (not much can! Hehe), it was still very satisfactory.

I loved the main characters, Mary and Jim. I related to Mary in her quiet, calm manner, and felt deeply for her in her struggles. And Jim was a dashing hero. ;) He had his own struggles too, and I appreciate that he and Mary shared their struggles and burdens with each-other, each growing in the Lord as well.

There were some great side characters – I’m really looking forward to the next book involving Arch and Lillian! Yay! Mary and Jim will remain my favourites, but I know they will run a close second. However, I did not care for Quintessa at all. She bugged me and I felt like Mary saw herself too indebted to her – it wasn’t an even-sided friendship, if that makes sense. Though, I am expecting Quintessa to have a more favourable story in the third book of this series. :)

The plot was engaging and the mystery gripping! I must say, I was pleased to find out the one I suspected was the culprit in the end! =D Following mystery stories are fun, and I was relieved that this was a ‘clean’ one, without murders, etc. as many mysteries are.

There were several ‘happy’ parts in this book that just made me melt with happiness. :D So many sweet parts and feelings. That being said, I think there were more ‘turmoil’ parts than necessary…I know many like the riveting, edge-of-your-seat plots, and while this was that in a good way definitely, it also had some frustrating parts that I could’ve done without. ^.^ But at least it all ends happily and how we want!! I do like having that guarantee in stories.

The faith strand was there, and I was glad for that. I loved the theme of Nehemiah to it, and how Jim and Mary relied on God for their strength! Very cool. I loved that they each prayed beforehand about things instead of charging forward. A good reminder for all of us, myself definitely included!

I was impressed with how thorough Sarah Sundin’s research was and how lovely it was displayed in this book. Very authentic and still easy-to-read. I appreciate that! I also appreciate that there weren’t too many ‘battle intensive’ parts – it was handled with great care, and I liked that. I get very emotionally invested in books, and so it’s nice not to get pulled too far down when the scenes get overwhelming; thankfully, as I said, this book wasn’t that way. It was perfect in that aspect.

There is so much I could say about this book – the setting, the themes, the interactions. But I’m afraid my review would be quite lengthy! :)

All in all, I enjoyed this read for sure! Looking forward to more. :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse and the Publishers in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

 

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