one, two, three

I am slowly gonna work my way into posting more regularly on Wednesdays again……though it may still be a bit sporadic =) Today I have not one, not two, but three book reviews. Books that I finished a couple months ago and never had the time to physically review. All three were wonderful, and highly recommended.

With Love, Wherever You Are

With Love, Wherever You Are - By: Dandi Daley Mackall Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, two medical professionals enlist in the service to help the injured soldiers. They meet while working in a hospital and marry right away. When the two are sent to separate front lines, their only method of communication is writing love letters to each other. In a war that seems like it will never end, they are concerned how long will it be before they see each other.

With Love, Wherever You Are was my first book to read by Dandi Daley Mackall. It was wonderful! The writing was great, the words used for picturesque — the whole book painted a wonderful portrait of life as a war nurse and doctor.

This was a beautiful, true story of two young people trying to find their own way in life, and of the Lord’s calling them to Himself when they came to the end of themselves, written by the daughter of the couple in the book.

The scenes when the two were in a courtship were portrayed with a hint of fun and tenderness. The letters between the two were timeless. The separation of the two was written with heartbreaking pathos.

The main story line was about a young doctor and a young nurse from two different states who met in one camp. They were together a short time before he left the camp. But he came back. And they were married. And within a couple days of the marriage they were sent to the front line of their choice — chosen before they knew each other. One liked warmth and one liked cold, so were sent in two different directions. And they exchanged hundreds of letters while they were separated, as fast as the war-time mail would carry it. At every opportunity they would slip off to be with each other, if only for a few hours.

This would be a book I would recommend for older readers — both of them were sent to the front lines of World War II in medical positions. She was a nurse, and as such, there are several heartrending — and true — accounts of recovery for “the boys”; descriptions of family reunions, of mothers and fathers seeing their sons for the first time. There are several emotions expressed that may be complicated for younger readers. He was a doctor, and was sent with the British unit to the front lines in France, where there are some gruesome injuries encountered and treated.

While this was about a “war romance”, the subject of marriage was addressed very little and the majority of the content was focused on the medical aspect of the war and the history surrounding it. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the book because I was able to read about two different parts of the war in the same book — more like “parallel history”. It’s no secret to many of you that I enjoy reading and learning about history in a different way than most, learning what was going on in the history of our world in a certain time frame from all different aspects. For instance, during the war between the states, while the eastern U.S. was focused on fighting, the western territories were focused on getting a functional mail system set up — the pony express. In England, Queen Victoria was ruling…..get the idea? ;-) And WWII happens to be a favourite part of history since there was so much going on over so much of the world at different times, and so much of it has impact on our lives today. Anyways…..

Would I read this book again? Yes. Would I pass this on to someone else to read? Absolutely =)

I recieved a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in return for an honest review.
I was not required to enjoy this book.

The Maggie Bright

The Maggie Bright: A Novel of Dunkirk  -     By: Tracy Groot
England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright — a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden on the board, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America into action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British Army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes may not return. Yet Clare knows the Maggie Bright must answer the call — piloted by an American who has refused to join in the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hangs on this rescue. While two men join a desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

This. Book. It was most likely my favourite of all three in this post. It was…..I don’t know. It had all the elements of a good book — humour, sadness, mystery, a mission, and growth in all the characters.

I’ll be honest — I only chose to review The Maggie Bright for two reasons. First, because Tracy Groot wrote the book, and she is quickly becoming a favourite author. I have only read two books of hers, this one and The Sentinels of Andersonville, and both were wonderful works of historical fiction. And second, because it was about an oft-forgotten part of the second World War — the Miracle of Dunkirk. And I’ve already mentioned I *love* WW2 history :D

Tracy Groot has a way of bringing out the humanity on her characters. Nothing seems to be staged, nothing seems to be cliche, nothing seems to be overdone. Emotions are expressed beautifully, all of the characters seem to really, truly feel. By the time you are done reading, you realize that the characters have become your friends and that they have taken you on an emotional journey and taught you a lesson along the way. The style of writing Ms. Groot has is unlike any other that I’ve read. The words she uses are big and wonderful and descriptive. The way she uses punctuation creates an element of authenticity to the story.

There were several elements I enjoyed about the actual story line itself — my favourite was the romance of the two characters that developed slowly. And I am using “romance” in the original intent. From the 1828 dictionary: “A fabulous relation or story of adventures and incidents, designed for the entertainment of readers; a tale of extraordinary adventures….a tale of love or war, subjects interesting the sensibilities of the heart, or the passions of wonder and curiosity.” This was a tale of terrible atrocities done to children in WW2. Not Jewish extermination camps, which is what I originally assumed it was about, but about the experiments done upon the children who were born with down syndrome, cerebral palsy, blind, deaf, etc. sanctioned by Hitler. One man sets out to bring help to these children, secreting some of them away, until he was killed. And so he passes on this information to others, giving them the daunting task of changing America’s minds about the war and bringing to the public the information he has gathered. The young detective who is involved with this has a personal tie to the whole ordeal — his baby sister has down syndrome.

In and amidst this story line, you have a tale of a soldier who is helping an injured lieutenant to Dunkirk. You read about the retreat through the soldiers eyes, of the many deaths of comrades, and of the faith the lieutenant shares with those around him even though he can’t even remember his own name. You see the beaches of Dunkirk with them and cheer on the civilians who have come to help the soldiers. You share the fears of the soldiers as they head back home, seemingly defeated, wondering how everyone will greet them once they arrive.

I mentioned the romance between the two main characters being my favourite part of the story. And it was. This romance was so sweet and subtle, that I was surprised by the end of the book. Instead of being filled with a bunch of gushy love sentiments, the two are busy working feverishly together towards the same goal: that of rescuing the children. Maggie Bright was the boat used to help these children, and it holds the key to everything else about these experiments, so they meet. And they learn to trust each other through working hard together toward one common goal. They get to know each other, not through a sappy courtship, but through a realization that they can work together towards a purpose greater than either of them. And that, my friends, is rare indeed in a story.

This book was wonderful. I would will read it again, very soon. ‘Cause I tend to like to re-visit and re-acquaint myself with my “friends” from my books =) I would lend this book out and pass it on, as the story should be read by everyone. The underlying question of this book is “What can I be doing now? How can I be helping?” I don’t know that this book is just for older readers — there were thematic elements, but nothing worse than, say, Douglas Bond’s War in the Wastelands. Even the part about the children isn’t described in detail, you are led to know what is happening. I would say it depended on the maturity of the person reading it, and the parents wishes.

It was the worst picture she had seen in her life. It was worse than the crying baby in Shanghai.
‘Sometimes we need to see why we fight,’ said the burglar vicar gently.’We need to see what God sees. Then we can understand just a little better His wrath, and His justice, and His love.’
He slipped the photograph from her hand, put it in the folder, slipped the folder from her. She pulled the pillow over her face and wept.
She’d not forget that image, not for the rest of her life.

She cried herself deaf for the child and for Arthur Vance; for Murray whose Rocket Kid could not save this child, and for William, because she finally understood what it felt like to be eviscerated.
She wept that she could not go and die for this boy.
‘I’m utterly useless!’ she screamed into the pillow, and finally came to her defeated senses. A good cry, and she did
not feel better.
‘You are hardly useless,’ said the Burglar Vicar.
‘Oh really? I can’t even sit up.’
‘You can pray.’

‘How do you know it does any good?’
‘It’s better than moping, which does no good at all.”
She supposed it
would be better to pray than to mope. The Shrew said prayer held them to their tasks. She said she saw before her eyes that it worked. ‘Yes, yes — I can pray!’

I recieved a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in return for an honest review.
I was not required to enjoy this book.

Wings of the Wind

Wings of the Wind, Out from Egypt Series #3    -     By: Connilyn Cossette
Fighting was a the only way Alanah knew how to survive. After the Hebrews killed her family, she disguised herself and went to the battlefield to avenge them. Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior found her wounded and unconscious among the casualties. The more she got to know Tobiah and his people, Alanah’s respect for them grew. That all changed when they found out about her past.

Wings of the Wind is the third book in the Out From Egypt trilogy by Connilyn Cossette. I had been looking forward to this book, and, quite honestly, I was disappointed, even though the book was really good.

Don’t get me wrong — it was good. I enjoyed the book, but there seemed to be such a gap between the second book and the this one — a forty year gap, to be precise. The first two came one right after the other…..this one was years later, after all the original characters were grown. I understood the reason, so both parts of the exodus from Egypt could be written about, both the start and the end. But it left me just a little confused at first. I didn’t really get into the book until about the fifth or sixth chapter…..but that could be just me =)

The story was well written, and I enjoyed the stye of writing by Mrs. Cossette, as always. The redemption in the pages of this book was breathtaking, and the forgiveness offered this erring young lady was touching. I enjoyed reading about how she came to faith in the one true God instead of all the false idols of her people.

I am sad that this series is over, and am hoping Mrs. Cossette writes more in the future.

I recieved a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in return for an honest review.
I was not required to enjoy this book.

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