Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin
Read any good WWII fiction lately? Here's one to pick up, whether you're a history buff or not.
Let's begin with the summary:
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.
And now, my review:
I feel as if Sarah Sundin took me on a tour of history. She obviously knew her time period, both in a technical sense as well as a broad sense. Readers get to climb into the cockpit of a B-17 and endure wartime missions with Jack Novak and his crew. Not only are the military aspects rich and engaging, the romance is strong as well. I loved that the hero and heroine weren’t perfect (as far as attraction is concerned), how Walt was a bit clumsy socially with women. I enjoyed the playfulness between the two main characters and their shared interest in music. Again, the time setting was so foreign (because I didn’t live in the ‘40s), but fun because it gave me a taste of what it may have been like to live then. Both of these characters had to face some moral dilemmas around lies and what constitutes a lie, plus the consequences of lying. A mark of a strong novel is for readers not to feel frustrated with the delays in achieving the main story goals. I did not feel frustrated, but rather than the storyline was believable and enjoyable. Bravo, Sarah! I also loved that the romance developed through letters written back and forth between hero and heroine. Yum!
It’s rare to find such a well-written debut novel. Sarah not only knows her history, she’s a skillful writer. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more from her. Looking forward to A Memory Between Us due out this fall.