Monday, April 15, 2013

"A Distant Melody" by Sarah Sundin

Charity over at Austenitis recommended this series, and I'm so glad my library has them!  I very much enjoyed this book, and I'm definitely going to read the rest of the "Wings of Glory" trilogy.

A Distant Melody revolves around Allie and Walt and their growing attachment.  Allie is the daughter of a rich business owner whose parents have basically arranged her marriage to the manager of their ball-bearing factory, a bore named Baxter.  Walt is an engineer (the kind that designs things, not the kind that drives trains) and an Air Force lieutenant about to ship off to the war.  World War II, that is, which you know is one of the main reasons I liked this.

I'm passionate about the WWII era.  I love learning about it, watching movies and reading books about it, writing fiction about it.  So I absolutely loved all the details about the music and the clothes and the movies and just the day-to-day life of these characters.  Though at times the technical details about flying a B17 felt a little bit much, but that's a minor quibble.

Anyway, Allie and Walt meet at a wedding, and at first they're just friends, albeit friends who are mighty attracted to each other.  Allie's nearly engaged to that Baxter guy, and Walt's about to leave, so they have a lot of reasons not to get serious about each other.  But they begin exchanging letters, and... yeah, they fall in love, you knew that was coming.  But they have a lot of obstacles to overcome, particularly the extreme disapproval of Allie's parents, and this is only the first book, so while you might hear wedding bells pealing madly by the end, they're not necessarily for Allie and Walt.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  The writing isn't brilliant, but it's good. And the characters are rich and complex.  I feel like I'm friends with several of them, which as you know means I'll want to be spending more time in their company.  I'm putting the second book on my to-read list on the library's website!

A lot of Christian fiction suffers from trying to jam as much Christianity into the story as possible, and it winds up feeling stiff and unnatural.  Not so here!  At least, not for the most part.  I myself don't know many people who would ask for prayers from a person they just met, much less from a person they feel a lot of sparkage toward.  Still, Allie and Walt just come across as dedicated Christians, and I liked them.

I also liked how both Allie and Walt are not beautiful or handsome.  They're not ugly either, but they're ordinary-looking, not movie star material.  Books that focus on two people falling in love tend to have the people be very attractive, so much so that it's cliche.  And annoying to a person like me who is just ordinary-looking, neither beautiful nor ugly.  

If this was a movie, I would rate it:  PG-13 for war-related danger, violence, and wounds.

You might enjoy this if you like these:  The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer or Shadows over Stonewycke by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella.


  1. Yay! Glad you liked it, Hamlette! It was a good book -- I must agree. You made some great points! :)

  2. Thank you for visiting my classic film blog and for following along. I look forward to following you as well.

    I read this book 2 or 3 years ago, and I liked it a lot. I felt a kinship of sorts with Allie, so I really related to her character. Like you, I gravitate to WWII-era books and movies. My all-time favorite WWII-era book, as well as probably being my all-time favorite book period, is "The Victory Club" by Robin Lee Hatcher. It's a homefront novel, set in my city of Boise, Idaho, and it concerns the lives of 4 women, working in a factory, while their loved ones are overseas. I found the message inspiring and uplifting, without being preachy. It moved me so deeply that I wrote a letter to the author.

    1. Hi, Patti! Thanks for following my blogs!

      Thanks for the recommendation -- I've added "The Victory Club" to my list :-) It sounds lovely!

  3. Nice review! I have this book waiting on my shelves (got it almost new at a second-hand market last year!), so it's nice to hear you've enjoyed it. I do really love the WWII era a lot as well in books, movies or tv shows.

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      Isn't that a wonderful era to read/watch/learn about? So much changing, so many people doing so many things that were not only new to them, but new to the whole world. Never ceases to fascinate me.

      My most favorite TV show, Combat!, is about American soldiers on the European front during WWII. If you like older shows (it aired 1962-1967), I strongly recommend checking it out. Wonderful acting, and some really stellar scripts, especially in the first 2 seasons.

    2. I really love reading about women in WWII, because there were so much new possibilities for them: working on farms, in factories, even in some places in the army.

      My favourite WWII era tv show is Foyle's War. You might know it, but if not, it's basically a police procedural taking place on the English homefront in WWII. Every episode has a 'case' to solve, but you also get a very good look in what the daily life of people at the homefront. And recently I watched Wartime Farm, a documentary about the challenges of British farmers during WWII. I reviewed it here:

    3. I've heard of Foyle's War, but never run across it. I do like some police procedurals, so I might dig it.

  4. I love your way of rating the content (PG-13 etc.).
    I rate mine (I call it Whippersnappers) but this is totally clever and unique. I dig it.

    1. Thanks! I like the site because they let people rate books based on what's in them, but I wanted something easily understandable here, so I figured why not filch the movie ratings?

      You made me realize I haven't done that for the last book or two -- I should edit those posts to include it.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)