Posted in 1940's, Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White ~ Book Review

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“The Number of Love” by Roseanna M White

Book #1 of The Codebreakers // Historical Fiction

Review copy from the publishers

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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About the Book:

Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Another amazing book by Roseanna M White to add to my favorites list! Everytime I think I can name my favorite book by this author, I read her newest and change my mind. ^.^ They are all so very good! And “The Number of Love” is no exception. What a marvelous story! I was captivated from page one, and immediately fell in love with the characters. They were so very vivid in this book. And seeing a couple other characters whom I recognized from previous White books – what a fun treat. :)
Margot is such a fascinating character. I loved her so much, and Drake too! Another major favorite was Drake’s sister Dot. I could relate to her in many ways, and wish she had her own full-length novel! :D She was lovely.
One of my favorite things about this book (and there were many!) was Margot’s relationship with God. Throughout the book, faith wasn’t just a religion interwoven through the pages – it was relationship displayed through the characters hearts. And Margot’s relationship with God was so real, and present, and personable, right down to the very struggles that she thought hindered that relationship at times. It was just remarkably well-written, and so beautifully real. I really appreciated that.
One thought at the end that I had…I would have liked to have seen Margot also realize that sometimes God does ask us to sacrifice our own dreams – but that He gives us new ones that are so much better. I think this was touched on a bit, and I am still very happy with the ending how it was (it was very sweet and beautiful!), but this was just an added thought I had, knowing that God does often ask this of us.:)
The whole book was beautifully written, truly. The plot was amazing and detailed, and so interesting, and the characters, as stated, absolutely marvelous. I loved “The Number of Love” so very much – it definitely is a favorite of mine already!
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**I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher; all opinions in my review are my own. 
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“He always spoke. Always. And she listened, because God was smarter than she was – the only being about whom she could say that with certainty. She didn’t always understand His ways, but she’d learned to trust them.” 
“It doesn’t heal. We’re never restored fully, whole again, after we lose someone. We must learn to go on with the pieces missing.” 
“Sometimes running away does speak to courage instead of fear. To wisdom. Sometimes running away is necessary. Though I certainly hope not in this case.”
“Sometimes God let people die. Let His children break. And then pieced them back together into something new. Something that He could use for His glory instead of theirs.” 
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, Book reviews, Books

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski ~ Book Review

 

Songbird and the Spy

“The Songbird and the Spy” by J’Nell Ciesielski

WWII fiction

I received an ecopy from the author for the purpose of this review

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

About the Book:

 

As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy. 

Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his 
attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives, hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire. 

As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

Written for the General Market (G) (I): Contains little or no; sexual dialogue or situations, violence, or strong language. May also contain content of an inspirational nature.

 

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My Thoughts:

 

What a delightful and exciting tale this book turned out to be! Not once was there a dull moment, and the characters shined throughout it all. Danger abounded, as it most often does in the case of WWII novels – especially when behind enemy lines – and the plotline was definitely a captivating one!
I fell for each of the characters, and they made such an excellent fit. So sweet and endearing! And it ended so well too! I was getting a wee bit nervous there for just a second, but oh! It was reminiscent of one of the Anne of Green Gables movies, and just smashing.
As I mentioned, “The Songbird and the Spy” is an exciting novel. There is so much intrigue and thwarted plans happening that the reader is guaranteed a rather thrilling ride.
Clair is an American on her way to a music school in France, but of course plans change. Michael is a spy for the British nation, undercover as a German Captain. And he plays the role quite convincingly, I must say! His character really is marvelous though. Quite the hero – you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with him too. ;)
The writing itself was great – everything read so smoothly and tied together. As it is War, there was *some* graphic scenes but nothing that I found shocking at all. In fact, there was one particular instance where, while it was horrible, I was glad it happened because it was realistic. But I won’t give anything away.
This is a clean read, though not Christian, so there isn’t a spiritual thread or specific Christian content. And of course, me being me, I would’ve absolutely loved if this book had that element, but since it is not marketed as Christian Fiction, I am reviewing it as such. :)
Posted in 1940's, blog tour, Book reviews

“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma ~ Blog Tour/Book Review

 

when the heart sings blog tour

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for When the Heart Sings by Liz Tolsma, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

 

 

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“When the Heart Sings” by Liz Tolsma

Review copy from the author through the JustRead Tours

Series: Music of Hope #2
Author: Liz Tolsma
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Natia has a secret, and she’s hiding him right beneath her captor’s nose…

The Nazis have forced Natia and Teodor from their Polish farm to a labor camp. When the couple is separated, Natia is chosen to be the housekeeper for the camp’s overseer, and Teodor is sent to work in the factory. Despite the strict camp rules—and the consequences for disobeying them—Natia finds a way to communicate with Teodor by sending messages through song as she passes Teodor’s dormitory.

The stakes get higher when Natia finds a Jewish orphan on the overseer’s doorstep. She is determined to protect the boy and raise him as the child she and her husband were unable to bear— but if her German captors discover how much she’s hiding, both she and Teodor may pay the ultimate price.

PURCHASE LINKS:  Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Christian Book | Book Depository

 

 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts:

 

Author Liz Tolsma has written another heartfelt WWII novel, and what a story it is! I have read a lot of WWII fiction, but hers seem to be a style all of their own.  There is so much rawness, and reality in this novel that it pulls on your heartstrings for sure. The characters are life-like, and their struggles true to life as well.

The atrocities that happened to the Polish and Jewish people is horrendous, and hard to read about. And on the same hand, the daringness and bravery others showed to help them is so admirable.

This story is primarily Natia’s story. Her husband’s as well. Another character we get to know is the German woman, Elfriede who keeps Natia in her employ. They form a friendship, and both share a deep love for the child Natia found. I really liked Elfriede – her story was sad, though in different ways from Natia’s. She was naive’, and rather innocent almost like a child herself. She came into her own strength though that was impressive, and her decision at the end was painful and heroic. I know she was the side character, but I really enjoyed her, and I think maybe bonded more with her than the main characters. But I did like the main characters, and felt connected to their plight as well. There was on incident at the end though, regarding Natia’s attitude that I didn’t care for. It felt selfish and flippant in light of the situation.

The faith strand was present, though maybe a bit lightly so. I did like what was there though – it felt realistic, and the message was good.

All in all, a very well written book that deals delicately with the tough reality that was the war!

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

liz tolsma

Passionate might best describe Liz Tolsma. She loves writing, research, and editing. Her passion shone through in her first novel which was a double award finalist. On any given day, you might find her pulling weeds in her perennial garden, walking her hyperactive dog, or curled up with a good book. Nothing means more to her than her family. She’s married her high-school sweetheart twenty-eight years ago. Get her talking about international adoption, and you might never get her to stop. She and her husband adopted three children, including a son who is a U.S. Marine, and two daughters.

CONNECT WITH LIZ:  website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

 

 

 

when the heart sings blog giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive (US only)

  • a print copy of When the Heart Sings
  • Just One More Chapter’ throw pillow seen HERE

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 26, 2018 and last through 11:59pm December 3, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

November 26
Book by Book
Heidi Reads…
Ecc1012
Inkwell Inspirations
Where Faith and Books Meet
Reading Is My SuperPower

November 27
The Power of Words
Dee’s Farm and Family
Genesis 5020
All-of-a-kind Mom
Singing Librarian Books

November 28
Inklings and Notions
Radiant Light
The Becca Files
The Shelf Life
Southern Gal Loves to Read
Proverbial Reads

November 29
By The Book
Cara Putman
Library Lady’s Kid Lit
Happily Managing a Household of Boys
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

November 30
Pause for Tales
Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
Running Through The Storms
Remembrancy
Wishful Endings

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Tyndale House

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke ~ Book review

 

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke

A WWII novel

Review copy from Tyndale Review Program

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.

With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing―spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends―has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.

Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

This was an interesting book. There were parts that I liked, and parts that I didn’t care so much for.
I couldn’t connect with main character Claire Stewart for most of the book. I disliked her quite a bit for the first half. Her selfishness was just blinding, and not an attractive trait. I found that very aggravating. Once we got to know her background a little bit more towards the second half of the book, it was easier to understand her a little, but I still didn’t really connect with her. But it was a helpful reminder to be patient with kiddos and treat them with love. “Be patient with all men”, as the Bible says.
I liked her aunt, Miranda. Though sometimes she showed a touch of self-centeredness too. Not a whole lot, it was just sometimes alluded to in her younger days.
 I did feel for Miranda in her own struggles, and was glad to see her motherly attitude towards the children.
 Claire’s inward-focus wasn’t really resolved at the end. It was just shown as how she was, end of story, which was kind of disappointing. I did appreciate her journey to accepting God’s love for her, though. It is easy to know that God loves this person or that person, but sometimes it’s harder to believe it for oneself. So that aspect was good.
The ‘hero’ of this book, David, was a strong character and very beneficial for the children especially, but he wasn’t in the majority of the book.
“Until We Find Home” is told through various points-of-view, including Claire, Miranda, their housekeeper Mrs. Newsome, Little Aimee, Gaston, and Josef, so it wasn’t just focused on one or two characters, but it worked pretty well for this story.
The refugee children were all just darling. I loved Gaston particularly, and little Aimee was such a doll.
And I really liked how they helped the children continue to celebrate their Jewish roots, knowing it was important to them. David was the instigator for that. He really was the children’s advocate, gentle and strong as he was.
There were several plotlines that, to me, have been overdone and I didn’t find it very believable in all points. I skimmed some of it just because it was overly predictable.
The little glimpses we got to see into Beatrix Potter’s and C.S.Lewis’s lives were very interesting, though not at strong as I was originally expecting. Still, it was good.
Because of disliking Claire, and not caring for some of the plotline, I didn’t love this book, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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.