This is the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series and it was hard for me to set down. The author did a great job of making me feel like I was back in the 1940's during wartime.
The characters are so well-written, with deep backgrounds and lots of insecurities. Mellie was extremely self-conscious, timid, and unsure of how to make friends. Tom was falsely cheerful and afraid to let go of his emotions at all, for fear that he would turn out like his father. His timidity did grate on my nerves through the story, but I was glad when he finally was able to figure out how to be the man that God made him to be.
I love how these two met by being anonymous pen pals. It is exactly what they needed in order to open up to each other and fall in love. This is such a sweet story and so well done. I am now working my way through the series and am really enjoying all of these characters.
If you haven't read Sarah Sundin's World War II novels, maybe you should. This writer knows her history, and she knows how to put it together in a way that makes it a joy to learn about this period in history.
With Every Letter is a story about a Filipino-American nurse, a young woman certain her exotic looks make her an object of scorn and someone to be shunned. She avoids friendships, especially with men. The only time and place where Mellie feels at ease is when she's singing to and caring for patients, war victims.
Her head nurse believes in her, but knows nursing takes teamwork. She has given Mellie an ultimatum--make friends or go home. So Mellie tries. In addition, Lieutenant Newman tells Mellie she must write anonymous letters to one of the homesick engineers. Reluctantly, she agrees. The letter she writes is thrown in the trash by the man who receives it.
One of the Engineers, Tom, doesn't like the letter that comes to him--the writer seems too flamboyant for him--but he sees the one dumped into the trash and exchanges his for that one. The woman seems a perfect match for him--not wanting any attachment, only friendship and anonymity.
When circumstances of the war throw them into the same area, that anonymity is threatened. They have revealed too much of their inner thoughts, fears, and hopes. Now what?
This book has it all--romance, history, and a beautiful Christian message. I love historical fiction, and this is exactly what I love. I appreciated the fact that the hero and heroine both struggled to fit in--maybe because I could somewhat identify. I saw some of myself in Mellie, and probably less of myself in Tom, but I enjoyed these characters immensely. Every character was well-developed and played a part in the development of the story.
I appreciated the fact that the author tried to stay as true to the historical accounts as possible. This is what makes historical fiction my favorite genre. I also appreciate that God took an active role in the life of the characters. I was most touched when mercy was shown and God worked things out in unbelievable ways. It really made me stop and think about how I allow God to work in my life.
Okay, this is truly romantic. I never felt that it was "sappy." I have never seen "The Shop Around the Corner," but I saw "In the Good Old Summertime" (which was based on the former movie). I found myself charmed by the romantic interactions, and what could be more romantic than falling in love through the mail?
If you like WWII, romance, and old-fashioned charm, this is a must-read! This book will continue to hold a special place in my heart.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.