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.
I'm not a huge romance novel person but I do love the WWII era and this book caught my eye. I was immediately enthralled with Mellie and Tom and their friends. Sarah Sundin has created such a beautiful story about two people who learn that their worth and value comes from God and His love and truth is all they need. It's a fantastic story!! Bravo to Sarah and a huge two thumbs up for this book!!
Mellie, a World War II flight nurse, agrees to write to a soldier to boost morale during the war. Their anonymous correspondence turns into a friendship, though they have never met. Both have a past that they do not wish to reveal. I thought this book was excellent and it is on my keeper shelf, as are the other books by this author.
As part of a moral boost in Sarah Sundin's WWII novel, "With Every Letter," nurses write anonymous pen pal letters to soldiers with whom they are paired. Through the program, two lonely people find a secure source of friendship that cannot be influenced by what otherwise holds them back - her exotic looks and foreign upbringing, and his suffering under the stigma of being the son of a famous murderer. Philomela Blake, known as Mellie, is threatened to lose her position as a med-evac nurse - one of the nurses who takes care of wounded soldiers on the flights to hospitals away from the front - if she cannot make friends and work as part of the team. As a lieutenant and lead engineer for building airports as the Americans push forward toward Italy, Tom McGilliver needs to be able to lead his men, but his position is also threatened by his lack of authority and respect from his men. Together, sharing insight on what works for them in the other's place of failure, they build each other up, both in confidence in themselves and in faith in God, never expecting that they would fall in love over their correspondence.
There is so much growth in this story as Mellie and Gill overcome their failings. In a plan to avoid becoming his father, Gill tries to lead by showering his men with kindness and compassion, rather than ruling by fear, like so many other officers. However, kindness only goes so far; he cannot actually control his men, and not just Gill suffers for it - other officers and their men have to pick up the slack. For an excellent example of authority, Mellie recommends that Gill look to Jesus. Yes, Jesus was full of compassion and kindness, but he was not afraid to rebuke and discipline, which is what Gill needs to work at.
Some of what the other nurses say about Mellie is harsh, but it still is true - she has closed herself off from friendship for fear of being hurt. Like Mellie, so often we're afraid to lay our hearts bare, afraid to be rejected, afraid to feel one more disappointment. But that attitude neither shows love nor receives love. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (I John 4:18). Letting go of fear is hard work, and it takes a lot of practice. It is no guarantee we will not be hurt - is not Jesus hurt constantly by rejection also? - but it opens us to a much fuller ability to receive and share God's love.
This is an excellent novel, and I feel enriched having read it. The Christian lessons and advice are not just "stuck in" to make it a Christian book - it is an intgral part of the characters, and they live their faith, imperfect though they are. Their letters feel real but do not overpower the plot or interactions they have with their peers and each other. The historical details of the med-evac nurses are fascinating, as well as the exotic settings as the war progresses. Definitely worth 5 out of 5 stars!