Monday, September 17, 2012

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Welcome to the blog tour for With Every Letter. What romance lover can resist a novel about a couple whose love grows through exchanging anonymous letters? Love that premise! Read on for my review of the first book in Sarah Sundin's new series, Wings of the Nightingale.

Let’s begin with the overview:

Lt. Mellie Blake is a nurse serving in the 802nd Medical Squadron, Air Evacuation, Transport. As part of a morale building program, she reluctantly enters into an anonymous correspondence with Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer in the 908th Engineer Aviation Battalion in North Africa. 

As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other's true identity. When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face to face for the first time. Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage to their past? And can they learn to trust God and embrace the gift of love he offers them? 

Combining excellent research and attention to detail with a flair for romance, Sarah Sundin brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing, and true love.

And now, my review:

Good fiction is life-changing. That’s the promise of every Sarah Sundin novel. 

I can say that from experience because I still remember how one-line nuggets from her earlier books, as well as this one, have affected me. 

Books or movies centered on writing letters interest me, especially if those letters are exchanged anonymously, like in The Shop Around the Corner or more recently, You’ve Got Mail. The story references the former movie as the catalyst for the letter-writing campaign that connects these two characters. Loved the compassionate tie-in these two strangers had. (You'll have to read to see what I mean.)

Some of the themes in this novel included friendship and forgiveness. She used the symbolism of the hero’s engineering work of bridge building along with those themes. Very well done. Sarah's topics always have such depth. In this novel, she dives into what friendship looks like, how someone who grew up as a loner could learn as an adult how to be a good friend, how no one’s perfect and there are deep hurts possible in extending ourselves to friendship, and yet it’s worth it.

She also explores genuineness. The hero is hiding from his infamous father's violent reputation by wearing a fake smile. He doesn't allow himself to express true human emotions because he's too busy putting on his facade. Such a believable dilemma. Made me sympathize with him as he worked through his own lies.

One final theme I'd like to mention—Mellie sees herself as odd, since she’s of a different ethnicity than people around her, most of the time. She believes lies about herself. For example, she doesn’t like her own smile—thinks she looks like a monkey. But when love comes around, she learns her own self-perceptions don't match other people's perceptions of her, and that she's lovable despite self-deception.

Great book. Highly recommended! Looking forward to Sarah’s next novel! 

Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

(print version)      (e-book)


  1. Annette - you brought tears to my eyes. I don't set out to change lives - just to tell stories about flawed people whose lives are changed. But to think that those fictional lives can inspire real people - well, more tears in my eyes.

  2. Hi Sarah, your fiction does stand alone in the way it touches me. And I read a lot of novels. :) Thank you for digging deep and telling great stories!