Title: A Distant Melody
Author: Sarah Sundin
Rating: Spend the Day Sleepy
Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?
I’ve grown to love historicals over the past couple of years, but I must admit I’d grown a little weary of Victorian or cowboy books. Not that the books I’ve been reading aren’t great (ok, some of them weren’t) but it seemed like if you wanted to read a book with a historical setting, you had two time periods to choose from. Sundin provides the perfect remedy for this, setting the book in the 1940’s. It’s clear that Sundin is passionate about this time period. For me, the little details make it real, like the sugar and silk shortage. Sundin does an excellent job of creating the setting.
And as great as the historical setting is, the characters are equally superb. Allie is such a down-to-earth person, not like the “larger than life” heroines normally found in historicals. So when she gets thrown into some extraordinary circumstances, my interest was piqued. I wanted to know how she would handle her challenges. Walter is equally ordinary, but Sudin does a fabulous job of revealing subtle hints of his great qualities. Walt seemed very Boy Next Door, sweet and thoughtful, but had the presence to make me take notice.
Sudin beautifully weaves in a strong theme, the value of honesty. She realistically portrays the trouble of something that seems so harmless. She shows the devastating effects of little white lies, but not in a corny, soap opera way. And because Sudin has created such great characters, you don’t hate them for the lies they tell, but you sympathize with them. Sudin helps you relate to their struggles.
Also, I love the fact that Sundin doesn’t gloss over the harsh realities of war. I found myself gasping in unbelief when the war claimed characters I’d grown to love. She handles death well and takes you through the process with grace.
This is a great book if you love historicals but you’re longing for something different.