I don't remember exactly why, but I became a Facebook fan of Sarah Sundin quite awhile back... and I have been so impressed with the WWII information she posts regularly. Enough so that I jumped at the chance to review Blue Skies Tomorrow -- the third (and final) book in a series.
Oh, wow, am I glad I did.
First, check out that cover... is it just amazing? I feel totally swept back in time. And the cover doesn't do that "sweeping back" anywhere near as well as Sundin's writing.
From the press release:
Helen Carlisle is recovering from the death of her war hero husband in Sarah Sundin's,Blue Skies Tomorrow. Healing from the year, she runs into Lt. Ray Novak-a childhood crush. She has been surviving her loss through copious volunteering, but deep down she is troubled. How much longer can she do this? Is she living a lie? Was her dead husband a hero? How can she live with the past?
Lt. Novak faces his own life uncertainty as a dedicated officer who has postponed his calling to be a pastor for the duration of the war. His secondary passion to fly is quenched as an instructor, until he is deployed to Europe for a combat mission just as a romantic relationship with Helen is building.
As Helen tries to make ends meet back home and begins to confront the past, Ray encounters a deadly enemy of his own. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? Will the truth come out? Will hope and redemption ring true for Helen?
Sure to live up to the high praise of the previous books in the Wings of Glory series, Blue Skies Tomorrow completes the story of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in World War II, covering the infamous Port Chicago Explosion, which occurred close to Antioch, Calif., where Helen and the Novaks live, to victory in Europe.
"Both Helen and Ray learn about true courage and how to do the right thing no matter the cost," says Sundin. "They both find they're subconsciously trying to earn God's grace through good works and have to deal with that.
"I hope readers will see how they, too, can find courage in the Lord and the strength to face whatever life throws at them."
So, where to start. First, Helen had polio as a child. That right there is enough to draw me in to a story. The polio aspect is told so well. In fact, Sundin is guest-posting about polio this week -- and from this post, it is clear that she does know a lot about the disease. Okay, but having a well-written polio victim probably isn't enough to make most of you jump up to read this book, especially since the whole polio thing is really just one little piece of who Helen is.
Well, the same total realism pervades the rest of the story too. It is not very often that I am so totally drawn into a story, completely absorbed in the world that is described. I found myself flinching when Helen was threatened or ducking to avoid explosions when Ray is fighting in Germany.
A main plot point in this story has to do with abuse... and that was related as realistically as everything else. That had me setting down the book to reflect and absorb before I could continue.
Obviously, with Ray setting aside his calling to be a pastor while he serves his country, this book is Christian fiction. But there is nothing preachy about it. What Ray believes, what Helen believes, what other characters believe... the message is absorbed through the story without a need for Sundin to lecture the reader. Beautiful.
Excellent book. Though, apparently, having read the first two books would have made me appreciate this one more (I got that from reading some of the discussion questions at the end) -- still -- this book totally stands on its own and I never got the feeling I had picked up at part three of three. I have already held the rest of the Wings of Glory series though, and I will be reading them soon.
You can read other bloggers' opinions at the LitFuse Blue Skies Tomorrow blog tour page.
To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! Read what the reviewers are saying here.
One winner will receive:
* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here)
* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)
To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.
Disclaimer: I received this book through LitFuse. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.