I've devoured every one of Sarah Sundin's WWII romances (five books, now) because she has a gift for pulling you into her characters' lives until you feel as if you are walking in their shoes. Her current series, Wings of the Nightingale, tells the stories of three flight nurses, the brave women responsible for evacuating wounded soldiers to safety. Moving from place to place around the Mediterranean, Sundin's descriptions bring the locations to life and make the war deeply personal.
I instantly fell in love with Georgie, sympathizing with how her bubbly personality covered a lack of confidence in her abilities. The author's personal background in pharmacy created a distinctive air of reality to Hutch, as she layered in details of his work alongside the tender romance developing between the characters.
Though On Distant Shores is the second book in the series, I was impressed how this novel overlapped the first book (With Every Letter), so you actually experience several events from different characters' perspectives. That was a fun bonus for the reader, and makes reading the books out-of-sequence a non-issue.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series - With Every Letter - so I was looking forward to this next offering from an author Sarah Sundin.
The story starts off a little bit earlier than when the previous novel ended, which was a neat twist that I didn't expect. It was nice to sort of rewind a bit and catch up with some of the characters from the first book and to get more of a running start into Georgie's story.
As with the first book in the series, On Distant Shores was very well-written and had a seamless flow to it. You can tell that the author definitely does her research - about WWII as well as the pharmacy/medical details. Being a chemistry/biology nerd myself, I really liked the pharmacy aspect of the book. I felt so sorry for Hutch that he wasn't able to be a commissioned officer even though he had a degree and practiced a medical profession such as pharmacy. This made for a unique storyline within the background of the war.
I also liked the growth that the two main characters experienced throughout the book, especially Georgie. It was so interesting to see how she discovered that everyone else in her life was making her decisions for her and how staying in her safe little comfortable world was hindering her relationship with God and her relationships with others. I thought the characters in this novel were just so relatable and believable. Their conversations were realistic, as were their emotions and doubts and fears. As I said, Hutch and Georgie both experienced significant growth in their faith throughout the novel which was encouraging and thought-provoking. And although the romance between the two was a bit predictable, I was still rooting for them.
Even though I did enjoy the various plotlines in this novel, it was much more heart-wrenching than the first one in the series. I actually had to put it down a couple of times and come back to it later. The part that was the most emotional, however, was a necessary plot point in the book, and it was handled well. It just took me a while to get through it.
With her characteristic writing style and attention to historical details, Sarah Sundin has another winner in her Wings of the Nightingale series with On Distant Shores, and I look forward to reading Kay's story in the next one.
I found the historical period interesting to read since I was a young child during the time of WWII and my parents, uncles, and grandparents experienced it first hand. Sarah Sundin captured the spirit of the times in that women were feeling they should and could do "their part" in this fight and there was a sheltering aspect to the men to protect women and keep them at home and in their place and not participating in the war effort.
I found of great interest the status of pharmacists, college educated and decreed, who were so under ranked and carried no respect in the military. It was interesting to read the struggle of the pharmacists in the army and the battle at home in congress to recognize them in the military and grant officer status.
The romance that was threaded through the story spoke of the uncertain times. However, it was refreshing to see that the author positively portrayed virtue and steadfastness in relationships.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from a publicist on behalf of the author and publisher for the purpose of review.
If ever I have the privilege of interviewing Ms Sarah Sundin, my first question would ask why she is so interested in WWII history. Ms Sundin obviously has researched this topic at length and retains the knowledge of what she learned. I admire her courage for such an undertaking so exemplary of combining fiction writing around actual historic events. Amazing, is that I assume she was born long after WWII had ended_..while I was born before the war began. Family members served during the war, including one who spent 36 months in a prison camp. Also, as the wife of a military officer, now retired - I could easily relate to many military terms. All these things added to my enjoyment of Saran Sundin's story about Georgie, Hutch and all the surrounding cast
The story flows very well as the chapters about Georgie and Hutch weave back and forth throughout. Plenty of the writing will bring tears, so have a box of tissues handy. You'll laugh at the hilarious antics between the characters and wonder about each character's history that brought them into Ms Sundin's story. Some of the drama might shock you, but you can realize the true hardships and trauma of being in war through Sarah Sundin's vivid descriptions that played in my mind like a movie. Romance is always around and the emphasis is placed on how Georgie and Hutch overcome obstacles that first prevent their romance from developing - like each being engaged to another, dreams of the future when the war ends and then - secretly meeting because of the fraternization policy. And keep that box of tissues around to weep over casualties, tender moments, and open hearts - this is quite a beautiful story of love and relationships of many kinds. You'll enjoy the Biblical references that help bring this story together. It goes to prove that wars can be the worst of times, and the best of times when we depend on the Lord for strength and wisdom to show the way. The story was explicit that Georgie and Hutch followed their own Christians principles which was very uplifting. Both set a sweet example of showing compassion for those who have lost everything because of political dissension between countries.
On Distant Shores is my first read from author Sarah Sundin, and it won't be my last. My gratitude goes to Ms Sundin for writing the truth in fiction as though God whispered it all in her ear. That's the way her words came across to me, at least. Ms Sundin has taken us through a sentimental journey_and I'm truly sentimental over this wonderful story__sounds like quotes from WWII songs. Thank you for On Distant Shores, Sarah Sundin_.until we meet again_.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Group book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.