Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow

Earlier this summer we had one Saturday that was a bit of a summer "snow day" for my family.  The weather outside was unbearably hot so we all stayed inside.  I picked up Blue Skies Tomorrow and settled down into one of our lazyboys for a long read.

After reading The Sweetest Thing by Ann Moser recently and greatly enjoying it, I thought I would give another historical Christian fiction book a whirl.  The Sweetest Thing had elements of romance in the story, but it is not what I would call a "Christian Romance".  Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin is a Christian romance.  It is the third book in her Wings of Glory series, but it can easily be read as a stand alone novel.

Storyline:  Helen's husband, Jim, died two years earlier in WWII.  She lives in a home owned by her father in law and receives a monthly stipend from him that comes from her husband's life insurance (that he named his parents custodians of).  Early on in the story, you get clues that Helen acts the part of the grieving widow but does not have the feelings of one.  You learn why as the story goes along.  The reasons why are at the core of this story.  Ray Novak is an old childhood friend of Helen.  He returns from flight instructor school.  His desire is to be a pastor, but knows he must serve in the armed forces during the war.  His two brothers are also serving.  The story primarily focuses on their romance and the journey of their coming together, apart, and then... 

Writing:  This story is written fine.  I was discussing with my husband this weekend how the choice of words tells you a lot about the focus of the author in the story.  Here's are two examples of Ms. Sundin's writing:
"Ray reached into a blue glass bowl and popped a strawberry into his mouth.  His tongue savored the contrast between smooth skin and rough seeds until he couldn't stand the temptation any longer." p. 27
"His own strawberry-scented breath wrapped around her, and she drew closer to cover her memories of gregarious charm with Ray's quiet strength." p. 61
Both examples typify romantic fiction to me.

Plot:  The plot becomes clear after the first third of the book.  The ending is satisfying.    

Social Issues:  This book centers on the issue of domestic abuse.  I have wondered how generations past dealt with this issue.  My understanding is that it was largely kept behind closed doors or swept under the rug.  I wish I knew someone who lived during this time that I could ask about it.  I would like to know if the portrayal of how the families in this story cope with it is realistic. 

Conclusion:  Did I enjoy this story?  Yes...and no.  I didn't enjoy it as much as many I've read.  It felt very formulaic.  I have a hard time believing that a man would feel about Helen the way Ray Novak's feelings are described in the book.  I think his feelings are described as a woman would long for them to be.  Perhaps that is my cynicism.  All in all, the story and writing are fine, but this book kind of blends into the pack for me.

Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review by Revell Publishing.

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