Facing the past may be the most fearsome battle of his life.
Numbed by grief and harboring shameful secrets, Lt. Adler Paxton ships to England with the US 357th Fighter Group in 1943. Determined to become an ace pilot, Adler battles the German Luftwaffe in treacherous dogfights in the skies over France as the Allies struggle for control of the air before the D-day invasion.
Violet Lindstrom wants to be a missionary, but for now she serves in the American Red Cross, arranging entertainment for the men of the 357th and setting up programs for local children. Drawn to the mysterious Adler, she enlists his help with her work and urges him to reconnect with his family after a long estrangement.
Despite himself, Adler finds his defenses crumbling when it comes to Violet. But D-day draws near . . . and secrets can’t stay buried forever.
The Formal Stuff:
Thank you to Sarah Sundin for my complimentary copy of The Sky Above Us, which I won in a Spring online scavenger hunt. No review was required.
Sarah Sundin has written some great fiction set during World War 2. I loved winning a copy of this book during the last Christian fiction scavenger hunt.
The middle book of the Sunrise at Normandy trilogy starts stateside with Lieutenant Adler Paxton doing aerial tricks around the Golden Gate Bridge. He dreams of being a fighter ace, but he then meets a new pilot and is informed he’ll be performing wingman duties. Desperate to prove himself, Adler chafes at the position. It won’t be until he sees action in Europe that he realizes the vital importance of being second, and that will set one of the themes for the remainder of the book.
The other theme is forgiveness. Is it harder to ask for forgiveness or to give it? If you’ve not read the first book in the series, The Sea Before Us, you might not be fully aware of Adler’s backstory and why he finds it difficult to both ask and receive forgiveness. Yes, it is discussed during the course of the narrative, but book one – which focuses on older brother Wyatt – details that fateful day when everything changed for the Paxton brothers. The Sky Above Us then reveals what happened after Wyatt left the scene. Also, if you’ve read the first book you’ll be happy to see a continuation of Wyatt’s story. I also appreciated that Sundin rewrote certain scenes from The Sea Before Us to give Adler’s perspective.
On a slightly different note, my favorite scene comes at the start of D-Day. Upon realizing that the American pilots are taking off and that the invasion has begun, Violet and her American Red Cross friend drop to their knees. From their mouths comes the Lord’s Prayer, one in Latin and the other in English. It’s a truly poignant moment.
I had great difficulty finding a place in the book to stop reading, and finished it in two sessions. The Sky Above Us looks not only at the American involvement in D-Day, but also at the relationships with the locals in England. While their arrival meant some jobs for British women, not everyone appreciated them being there. I must admit to knowing very little about that part of the war on my home country, so this was an interesting eye-opener.
The final book in the trilogy, The Land Beneath Us, arrives on our shores in February of next year. It’ll focus on the youngest Paxton brother, and we’ll get his perspective on what happened that fateful night in 1941. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Adler and Violet either.
Have you read The Sky Above Us? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Revell (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 05 February 2019
Page Count: 384