In Perfect Time {book reviews}


One of my favorite new-to-me authors is Sarah Sundin.  She writes World War II Christian historical fiction.  In Perfect Time is the third and final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  There are three book reviews in this post following In Perfect Time.  I hope you will be introduced to some great new-to-you reads here.  These are some of my favorite authors.

These are my Goodreads reviews.  To read a synopsis of the book, click on the title.

In Perfect Time (Wings of the Nightingale #3)In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Going to pick this up from the library. Can’t wait to read!

This book is definitely my favorite this year. I don’t give five stars often. This is at least five stars. Excellent! I won’t retell the story. It is the third and final in the Nightingale series, which is about the flight nurses in World War II.

Balance is the key in my opinion. Sarah exhibits a tremendous ability to balance the details of history, the story line, and the characters in her books. The reason her books stand so well is that the author’s theology of the God of the Bible is so naturally woven into the very fabric of her story and characters, not artificially inserted, that it holds everything together.

I love the way the author uses two points of view seamlessly, and infuses the facts of the historical aspects of the story also seamlessly. Her style is, I don’t know another word to describe it, seamlessly smooth.

I love both Kay and Roger, and their character development in the story (which I won’t spoil). I love the author’s repetition to show character. I was deeply moved both by their characters and the historical events, knowing that many of these wartime events are historical. I was most deeply moved by the characters’ growth in their relationship to God.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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A Captain for Laura RoseA Captain for Laura Rose by Stephanie Grace Whitson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m curious to look at my reviews of her other books (not until I finish). Not enjoying this as much as I’d like. I’ll explain when I finish.

This happens, that’s why I finished the book, and withheld comment until the end…well most of my comments. The first part of this review is what I thought as I read the book, and then an overall review of the book. If you’re reading, please read all the way to the end. My opinion changed when I read the author’s end note.

This is a library copy. I have read a good number of Stephanie’s books. This is one of her more recent ones. I have varying opinions of her books. Most of the way through this book I kept thinking how ‘stupid’ the story is, to be quite honest. I didn’t like any of the characters or what they were doing, nor the plot. I thought that Laura and MacKnight were the main characters, whose points of view would dominate. I was disappointed that MacKnight’s sister Fiona was taking up so much of the story. She got on my nerves. (I see the actress who played Almonzo’s sister on Little House when I think of Fiona.)

There didn’t seem to be a protagonist beside the river, which lacked description. Laura was the hero, but in a very subtle way. My favorite ‘character’ was Logjam, the dog! But I’m getting ahead of myself. I also do not care for the manner in which the faith element was planted into the story. I much prefer a subtler, more steady element, with a strong character, which in this story was Laura’s mother (trying not to spoil). I also like the strong likable characters to be living…

Printing entire pages of Scripture and/or theology is a turn off to those who do not believe, and will be skipped over. Even to those who believe, deviating from the story line detracts from the Scriptural message in a work of fiction. Infusing it into the story itself lends strength to the message. If it is internalized by the character, it is easy for the reader to internalize as well. Fiction can teach, not simply entertain. I believe the author could have taken license with one character enough to bring this to light.

If my complaints seem lame it is because when I read the Author’s Note at the end of the book, it all made sense. These are real people, most of them. These things really happened. The author was retelling history more than fictionalizing, and truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Thus most of my points dissolve in the interest of preserving history, except for the fact that the characters were not likable in my opinion, nor clear in their relationship to God. Conclusion: I didn’t care for the book as much as I would have liked, but I respect the effort of the author in preserving this piece of Americana.

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While We're Far ApartWhile We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library copy. I am so thankful for a wonderful public library system which has many works of Christian fiction available.

This book is wonderful! This is WW2 on the home front. The points of view, generated by the third person narrator, didn’t go the way I expected. Sometimes I wished I knew more about other characters, but I trust the author to bring it all together in the end, which she always does. And I will say again how annoying it is to me when all the characters with strong faith are dead! Memories just don’t have the punch needed. Live characters, no matter how flawed, have much better punch!

It’s still a wonderful book. The characters, the story, the different perspectives, the common threads, all coming together are amazing. This story is multi-generational, with both men and women’s points of view. Servicemen at home and abroad, Jews in America and Hungary, parents, grandparents, children, girlfriends, and pets — pretty much covers all bases effectively. And women doing men’s jobs during the war.

I did figure out one of the mystery elements, but not the other. There was a point in the story, and I believe the author intended for the reader to figure it out before the character did (no spoilers), when i just knew I knew what she didn’t know, you know what I’m saying? – ha! I think there were two places like that. But the cause of the fire was a surprise to me, and shocking.

I love reading about the Jewish people. I hate the atrocities which they suffered at Hitler’s hand, but I love hearing their stories, especially when God intervened. I loved the character of Jacob. I kept wanting him to come to true faith in Messiah as his Saviour. And I loved Penny’s character. My favorite part of the book was when she went to find out about Roy. His character was almost too good to be true.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the use of radio broadcasts and newspapers for keeping up with the war. So much has changed in the way that we receive information that I thought the author did a superb job of making that part of the story, almost to the point of being part of the characters. Also the use of the bus system when people did not own their own automobiles.

I recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction with a bit of romance. The Gospel is not spelled out in the book, it isn’t preachy, but it makes you think about God from several viewpoints. And, of course, it is a squeaky clean read.

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Look to the MountainLook to the Mountain by LeGrand Cannon Jr.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my copy, the 1942 edition, picked up used. My original copy, in the 1970s, long gone. I first read it in my high school Social Studies class, history of my town in New Hampshire. Thank you, Mr. (Arthur) Pease.

I love this book! It does have some language in it, all of which I’d much rather do without, but the writing, the writing is so beautiful. I’ve got about 100 more pages to read. I find myself crying often for the beauty of it, and reading parts of it aloud, just for the beauty of it.

This book was written in 1942. I am amazed by that. It’s historical, in the 1770s in New Hampshire. I feel as though I am there. I love the point(s) of view, mostly Whit but at times others. Beautifully done. It’s a long book, but every word belongs there. The telling of the story never meanders. The story itself covers a bit of territory.

I finished it last night. And how the tears flowed at the end, not for sadness. I’m not sure how to review this book. I will just say what comes to mind.

The point of view moves around a bit in order to put things into perspective, because the main character’s character is such that much of the story would be lost by sticking to his point of view. Read the book and you will understand. I think one has to read to the very end in order to grasp it fully.

This book is a beautiful (for lack of a more descriptive literary term) blend of the character of Whit Livingston, the historical events and culture of the day, and the plot and supporting characters. And not in the least, the land. It is not in any way a romance as we know it today. Pioneer life did not lend itself to romance. It was too difficult. This book is a love story, more than one, of those who stuck together in the business of pioneering and defending freedom in the beginnings of America.

Perhaps it is because this book digs down to those things which matter most in life. It is not about the surface things, how things look, or what is said, but about what is deep in the heart and what is lived.

I identified with Whit more than any character. His tenacity to do what he believed to be the right thing, and his willingness to own his mistakes; his careful planning and propensity for work; his commitment to relationship and care for those whom he loved; all of these moved me, in spite of the fact that he did not know God in a personal way, I was greatly moved.

The book made me want to be there, through thick and thin, with the story. I did not remember it from my previous reading(s), but I doubt now that I will ever forget it. What kind of book brings tears to the eye when writing a review?!!

I recommend this book for all who love the history of America, those who love New England and its people, and those who want to learn about that land and people. It is one character, not Whit, who uses language. I was able to read it without bother, whether that is wise or not, you can decide for yourself.

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