Allie will do anything to gain her mother's approval---even marry a man she doesn't love. Lieutenant Walter Novak is fearless in the cockpit, but hopeless with women. When Walt and Allie meet, a wartime correspondence begins that binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?
Let's go ahead and just declare it. I think I've found what is (so far) my favorite historical fiction book of 2010. As a history major, I know a lot of history. And while some of my colleagues turn their nose up at historical fiction, I love it. It's helped me throughout the years understand history better as real life events are carefully blended into a unique storyline. With this book, even though I'm not the biggest WWII buff out there, I was immediately drawn into the story and it held my attention through the 400 plus page tome.
Normally I despise historical romances because the story is just that: a romance in a historical setting with no reference at all to the actual time period. Not this book. It's CRAMMED with historical facts about the 1940s and WWII. I really was glad to read about how the Japanese internment is mentioned in the story. Too many WWII era books totally gloss over that entire situation and act as if it didn't happen. I also enjoyed reading about the battle scenes and even about the planes. Sundin did a lot of research which really comes through in the book. History is actually talked about and not just used as a pretty setting.
The actual plot of the book is really good as well. The characters are all interesting and it was fun to read about a relationship that grew through writing letters. Allie starts off the book as, well kind of a pushover but eventually grows up and discovers her true self. I was interested that the sexuality of her fiance is called into question as I myself had been thinking that too. Walt was a character I liked from the start and I enjoyed reading about his adventures. The background characters bring life to the story as well. I especially liked the ladies from the church Allie found herself going to. It was also heartbreaking to read about all the soldiers that lost their lives throughout the war.
Overall this book just really blends everything together very nicely. It is Christian fiction so there is talk about faith but it's not very pushy on the reader. Don't let the size of the book deter you from it. It's wonderful that thick books are still being published and this book is good from page one til the end. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. Honestly this book is going to be the front runner for historical read of the year. HIGHLY recommended.
A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin is published by Revell (2010)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with LitFuse Publicity