So I kind of expected that this would be a traditional sequel to A Distant Melody, the first book in this trilogy. I thought it would follow the continuing relationship between Walt and Allie. Instead, it's about Walt's brother Jack, who is also an Army Air Force pilot in WWII, and the way he falls in love with Ruth, who's an Army nurse just like Allie. In fact, both of them played minor roles in A Distant Melody, and this book obviously has a few mentions of Walt and Allie, since Walt and Jack are brothers. I'm really wondering now if the third book will be about the eldest Novak brother, Ray, or if it will be split between Walt and Jack and their leading ladies, or what. Guess I'll have to read it to find out!
I have to admit I have conflicting feelings about this book. On the one hand, I think it's written even better than A Distant Melody. The flying scenes inside various airplanes never made me feel like I was being taught something. The characters' faith feels very organic and real, even better than in the first book. And the characters are once again complex, believable, and fascinating. I think I like both Ruth and Jack even better than I liked Allie and Walt, if you can imagine that.
However, I got really angry with Jack at one point, which was obviously how I was supposed to feel, but I don't like getting angry with fictional characters any more than I like getting angry in real life. So for very personal reasons, I don't think I quite enjoyed this book as much as its predecessor.
I also should mention that some people might be bothered by the fact that Ruth is a rape victim, and she not only has flashbacks to being raped as a teen, but she is harassed and assaulted during the course of the story as well. For that reason, I would not let a young teen read this. There's nothing graphic or titillating, but there are unsettling and disturbing things going on. Be forewarned.
Particularly Good Bits:
A barrage of flak opened about a half mile ahead, like burnt popcorn scattered over the sky (p. 180).
"Forgiveness doesn't require approval," she said. "God never approves of sin, but he still forgives us" (p. 298).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: A strong PG-13 for themes of assault and rape.
This is my first book read and reviewed for the I Love Library Books challenge.