Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2) by Sarah Sundin

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The Sky Above Us
(Sunrise at Normandy, #2)
By: Sarah Sundin

Published: February 2019
Published By: Fleming H. Revell Company
Format Read: ARC, NetGalley, eBook, Kindle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, Series

Rating: 4/5

I was sent a copy of The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy, #2) by Sarah Sundin, from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for a honest review.

Synopsis


Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.

Violet Lindstrom wanted to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, where she arranges entertainment for the men of the 357th in the Aeroclub on base and sets up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.

Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near. And secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Bestselling author Sarah Sundin returns readers to the shores of Normandy, this time in the air, as the second Paxton brother prepares to face the past–and the most fearsome battle of his life.

Goodreads

My Thoughts

The Sky Above Us is the second installment in Sarah Sundin’s series that follows the Paxton family. Tragedy sends them all their separate ways, however the impending Normandy invasion finds the three brothers fighting for their country in different branches of the American armed forces. This installment follows middle brother Adler and an American Red Cross worker named Violet.

Once again I was impressed by the authors knowledge of the invasion as well as the armed forces and Red Cross. I found the American relations with their British hosts to be especially interesting to me.

Adler was a more complex character than Violet. He had a tragic past that he was trying to avoid. I found his attitude in the early pages of this book to be terrible. Violet was more dull in comparison and I often found myself annoyed by her contradicting emotions. I didn’t enjoy their romance as much as I did with the couple in the first book. However they both showed good character growth.

Although I enjoyed The Sea Before Us, more than The Sky Above Us, I still loved the setting as well as learning about the Normandy Invasion from an Air Force perspective. I look forward to reading the third installment in the Sunrise at Normandy series, which is due to be released next year.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Enigma by T.C. Badcock

The Enigma

By T.C. Badcock

Published: May 2009

Published by: DRC Publishing

Format Read: Trade Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

In September 1942 a German submarine left its home base of St. Nazaire bound for the tiny Newfoundland outport of Three Rock Harbour. The Enigma is Tom Badcock’s compelling story of what happens when the Germans meet up with the Newfoundlanders and the events that changed all of their lives forever. Tom is a five-time decorated retired air force officer who began his career as a cryptographer at the former Fort Pepperrell American base in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He says equipment he used throughout his career functioned nearly exactly like the German Enigma Machine which, at the outbreak of WW2, was considered to be the best and safest mechanical cipher machine available to any country.

My Thoughts

I picked up TC Badcock’s The Enigma by accident, mistaking it for another book about a German U-boat in Labrador. Thankfully I gave this book a try as it turned out to be equally as fascinating.

Badcock begins stating that this was based on a true story that was told to him by a woman on her deathbed. However upon some research I learned that the events that take place aren’t exactly fact. Still there were aspects of the book that may well have been true. Could an isolated Newfoundland community have unknowingly played host to a German U-boat crew? It may well be true, but I chose to read The Enigma as a work of fiction.

The authors knowledgeable of the operations on U-boats and the fishery was quite interesting to me. The deception on behalf of the merchants and the inflation that was the result really gave a good idea of how fishermen and their families lived.

I would recommend TC Badcocks The Enigma to be read with a grain of salt. And maybe a good feed of jigs dinner.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird
By: A.J. Pearce

Published: July, 2018
Published by: Scribner
Format Read: Trade Paperback, Library Book
Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

A charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist—a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.

London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.

Prepare to fall head over heels with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are spirited and gutsy, even in the face of events that bring a terrible blow. As the bombs continue to fall, the irrepressible Emmy keeps writing, and readers are transformed by AJ Pearce’s hilarious, heartwarming, and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.

 

My Thoughts

AJ Pearce’s debut novel Dear Mrs. Bird is a world war II historical fiction set during the London blitz. Although it does focus on the terrors of living in a city at war, it is written with typical British humor that is rare for this genre. I immediately took to Pearce’s style of writing and was reminded of more contemporary authors.

Dear Mrs. Bird was an entertaining read with a main character bursting with optimism. Along with such themes as friendship, morals and dreams it also brought gems of wisdom courtesy of Emmy’s mother. Some of my favorite quotes include:

“My mother always said that a lot of men think that having bosoms means you’re a nitwit. She said the cleverest thing is to let them assume you’re an idiot, so you can crack on and prove them all wrong.”
“Mother always said it wasn’t just about keeping going, but about standing up for what you believed in as well.”
I would highly recommend Dear Mrs. Bird and hope to read more from this author in the future.
Book Reviews · Recommendations

TLC Book Tour: The Fire By Night by Teresa Messineo

About The Fire By Night

 Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 3, 2017)

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo single-handedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place and the hope of love in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Teresa Messineo

Teresa Messineo spent seven years researching the history behind The Fire by Night,her first novel. She is a graduate of DeSales University, and her varied interests include homeschooling her four children, volunteering with the underprivileged, medicine, swing dancing, and competitive athletics. She lives in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Connect with Teresa on Facebook.

My Thoughts

I was sent a copy of The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review for TLC Book Tours.

Teresa Messineo’s impressive debut novel The Fire by the Night follows two nurses serving their country on two different fronts during World War II. I have previously read quite a bit of historical fiction set in Europe, however this was the first time I’ve read about those on the Pacific front.

The immense amount of research that went into writing this novel, is evident in the details. This is especially prominent in the use of medical terminology, which was included much more than is typical for this genre. I didn’t realise how little is known about the horrors female nurses faced during this time and the conditions they were forced to live in as prisoners of war.

Jo and Kay’s separate stories interested me for different reasons. While I felt Jo’s perspective offered more from a psychological point of view, Kay’s kept my attention from a geographical standpoint.

Unfortunately I did have some trouble with the graphic descriptions, which still haunt me even after I completed the novel. For this reason I would advise caution to those who are interested in reading The Fire by Night. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy detailed historical fiction.

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