On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Book two in the Wings of the Nightingale series
Baker Publishing Group
c. August, 2013
$14.99 print and $14.99 ebook
Sarah Sundin is a favorite author, I admit. Her attention to detail is always amazing. Her latest novel which takes place during World War II features a flight nurse, Georgie Taylor, who signed up on a lark with her best friend while she was waiting to get hitched, and pharmacist John Hutchinson, who was drafted before he could enlist in officer’s training school and carries a medium-sized chip on his shoulder for being a medical professional who’s treated like a roadie.
Both the American soldiers face their worst fears under dangerous combat situations. Will they buckle or overcome? When the pair meet, she’s engaged and longing for home, unsure she’s really cut out for wartime service, yet reluctant to simply quit. He’s engaged as well, a practical situation, although he regretted not tying the knot before he shipped out. Georgie and Hutch encourage each other to be more than what they’ve been told they are, to reach for loftier goals, but for the right reasons.
When, through tragedy and adverse situations, they meet again, they are unencumbered by their intendeds and they are free to give in to their feelings for each other. The mechanisms of others, misunderstandings and more tragedy cause them to wonder if their feelings are the sum of their fears.
I could hear the music to South Pacific in the background while I read, though of course this story takes place on the western front: gorgeous European settings, Sicily, Greece, Italy, and so forth. The camaraderie, the fun, the dark places and self-discovery each soldier must face were well-drawn. Although I appreciate the depth of research, sometimes it felt as though Sundin stuck in facts simply because she’d discovered a cool detail. I personally like that because I’m a history nerd, but others may skim over it.
I like characters who have to grow, reach out for help, and learn to trust, no matter the setting. Those who enjoy detailed historical situations, particularly World War Two-era medical corps stories, will find a great story in On Distant Shores.
“Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”