Summary from BN.com: Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.
But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebeka is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.
When it comes to debut authors, I tend to be a bit wary because it can be a hit or miss. However, I have always given debut authors published by Bethany House a try because I trust the publisher's reputation for quality work. I was not disappointed with this selection.
This is a historical romance but I never felt that it fell into the cliche of a lot of Christian historical romances. The main characteristic I noticed about Rebekah in the book is that she's forced to grow up. She starts off the story still living with her parents and with this idealized dream of being married. She's had life pretty easy and has been taken care of by someone all her life. When she's forced to go to Texas, it's only then when she realizes that there are others out there. I never found her to be selfish though there is a scene (while I totally understand it) when her feelings for Arthur take over her completely.
Her mom drove me nuts as she was very passive aggressive and downright irritating. It's explained why she acts like that but it still doesn't excuse her behavior. I just found it a bit odd at how she didn't act like that in the beginning of the book and then when we are reintroduced to her near the end, it's like she's a different character. I felt that the storyline between Rebekah's mother and aunt was never fully closed out either.
I was glad that Mateer included historical fact about the Spanish influenza and WWI as I always enjoy seeing actual history used in historical romances. While I knew what was going to happen at the end, I found myself pleased with how it all ended. I really liked seeing Rebekah's transformation and was glad that it was not all roses and candy during that time period. The romance is subtle yet very well done. Rebekah's heart is broken and then restored. I think Mateer has written a wonderful debut work and I really enjoyed reading this story. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer is published by Bethany House (2011)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance