Saturday, March 20, 2010

‘A Distant Melody’ by Sarah Sundin – Book Review

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One of the benefits of Facebook (and the other social media) is to get to know people whom you may not otherwise meet.  One of the people that I have gotten to know on Facebook is Sarah Sundin.  I am always interested in reading books by these friends.  So when I discovered Sarah had her first book coming out, I wanted to be one of the first to read it!

That book is ‘A Distant Melody,’ Book One in Her ‘Wings of Glory’ series.  The series is set during World War II; this book takes place during a one year period in 1942 and 1943.  I was intrigued by the concept of reading a book set in this time in history. 

The two main characters in this story are Allie Miller and Walt Novak.  Allie is an heiress to her family’s ball bearing business fortune.  She has dated a fellow named Baxter Hicks, who is the business manager at Miller Ball Bearing.  It is understood that she will marry Baxter, and they will inherit the business.  It is also understood by Allie (short for Allegra) that she has no love for Baxter; she does not want to disrespect or dishonor her parents and feels the outcome is inevitable.  Walt is a pilot in the Army Air Force who will shortly be deployed to the European Theater side of the war effort with the Eighth Air Force.  They meet each other when mutual friends get married; they spent a fun-filled week together, then Walt was off to England. 

Sarah does a wonderful job in providing a lot of details on this time in U.S. history.  I had some familiarity with what life was like in the United States.  Sarah shows us how people had to sacrifice in order for the war effort to succeed.  She shows us how basic essentials such as sugar and flour were only available via rationing coupons, new cars had stopped production in January 1942 and that rubber was in short supply – therefore, non-essential driving was prohibited.  Even though the economy in the U.S. in the last few years has been down, it is still hard to those of us who have not had to really live a life of sacrifice to understand; it is a sobering picture.  But people came together and made it through those rough days.

I was also fascinated how Allie’s parents reacted when Allie decided she could not go against God’s Word by marrying an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14).  I was impressed with the strength of character of this young woman, standing up for God against very heavy opposition.  Life is a lot different in the main than it was almost 70 years ago.      

I was also impressed with Sarah’s research and knowledge when he comes to combat during World War II.  Walt flew a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber Plane, and Sarah gave us a great deal of detail as to what was involved in flying that plane.  I didn’t realize how much strength was needed to fly it – and how very cold it was in there as they ascended into the wild blue yonder.  Being used to the comfort of air travel in the 21th century, it just had never occurred to me that they weren’t warm and comfy up there.
I appreciate how both Allie and Walt (for the most part) follow God and base their actions on His leading.  They are flawed humans, of course, but they both have enough humility to ask for forgiveness when necessary.

I get the impression from what I know of Sarah that she has a very good heart.  It definitely comes through in her writing!

My one small issue with 'A Distant Thunder' is that I think it dragged a little in the third section of the book.  I was anxious to see what was going to happen, if anything, between Allie and Walt.  It seemed to take a long time to find out!  But I decided to think about it from the perspective of people in the 1940s – they were much more patient than we are in 2010!  The ending was satisfying – and I look forward to Book Two in the ‘Wings of Glory’ series.

Sarah lives in Northern California with her husband Dave and their three children, Stephen, Anna and Matthew.  Her great-uncle flew with the US Eight Air Force in England during World War II.  She is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in Chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco.  In addition, she teaches Sunday School to 4th and 5th graders, and is also a public speaker on many different topics.

You can order a copy of the book here.

This book was provided to me by Revell Publishers for review purposes.


Sarah Sundin said...

Thank you, Andrea for such a lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book - and even more glad we met through Facebook :)

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Sarah -

Thanks for stopping by! You have quite a gift, and I look forward to the next present from you!

Blessings -


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