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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: A DISTANT MELODY by Sarah Sundin

A note from Anne: Just in case you're wondering why two book reviews in less than a week, I went on a trip this week. I had to leave on Sunday, which is my Sabbath. I've been trying to come up with ways to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy." Yes, normally I go to church--this time I didn't due to flying necessities. So although I took my laptop along, I didn't work on writing on Sunday. I read the Bible, and I read this Christian historical novel, A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin. Now, it just so happens I have a nodding acquaintance with Sarah, so I recently bought all three books in this series. I really love history and novels that bring history to life.
This one did. My parents got married just as the war was starting, and my dad worked for a farmer in California. He severely injured his back while working on the farm, which not only incapacitated him for farmwork but also made him 4F, so he didn't fight in WWII. But--so many of the songs, the sounds, and the activities are familiar.

And on to the book review.

Allegra Miller is the daughter, the only child, of wealthy prominent citizens of Riverside, California. Her parents decided she should marry Baxter, her father's able assistant at Miller Ball Bearings. Her parents think J. Baxter Hicks is perfect. They think Allie is homely and she should be thankful Baxter is her boyfriend. Allie thinks he's decidedly lacking in courting talents. Ten kisses--mostly on the cheek and all in front of her parents--in four and a half years.

Walter Novak is a pilot, a B-17 pilot, fearless in the cockpit but helpless in front of any available woman. Women who were married or had a boyfriend weren't so bad. He could usually talk to them. But his mind froze, his stomach balled into a knot, and his feet stumbled when it came to talking to an available woman.

But they were both invited to the same wedding--Allie because she had been Betty's roommate at college and Walt because he'd known Betty and her husband-to-be for years. Allie escaped her critical parents and suffocating so-called boyfriend for a whole week while she helped Betty prepare for the wedding and joined in the fun events leading to the wedding. Walt had only a one-week furlough before he would begin flying in the war. Forced together for a week, an attraction forms. Allie doesn't talk about Baxter, so Walt wants to get to know her better--even though he thinks she's available, he can talk to her. He exacts a promise from her to write.

Over the next several months, they correspond and fall in love--but neither tells the other so. Baxter proposes. Now what does she do? She must be obedient to her parents and say yes. She must be honest and tell Walt. Walt decides to date a girl in England since Allie is now lost to him. And then---

Never mind. You'll have to read it yourself to find out.

Prepare to be blessed. Prepare to laugh and cry. Prepare to be surprised.

Although Sarah Sundin come from a home wallpapered in books, she only briefly envisioned herself as a writer, when she and her co-wrote Funny Dancing Fruits and Vegetables, complete with crayon illustrations.

Then she discovered science. She loved learning about the intricacies of God's creation, so she studied chemistry in college, and then got her doctorate in pharmacy—not the typical career path for a writer.

Then on January 6, 2000, she woke from a dream so intriguing she had to write it down. She proceeded to write a 750-page contemporary Christian romance. It never published, but the Lord used it to call her into writing. She joined a critique group, attended writers' conferences, and joined American Christian Fiction Writers. These all taught her about the craft of writing and the publishing industry, and introduced her to writers, editors, and agents.

Her first book, A Distant Melody, was published in 2010. Two more--A Memory Between Us and Blue Skies Tomorrow--were published in short order. The first book in another series dubbed The Wings of the Nightingale is due out in 2012.
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