Grounded Hearts, by Jeanne M. Dickson

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.

Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?

 

First Thoughts:

I’m unfamiliar with Ireland’s role in World War 2, so I’m hoping for a novel that’s informative as well as entertaining.

My Take:

When Dutch Whitney parachutes into an Irish bog, he has two thoughts on his mind: the fate of his crew, and getting back to the fight. But County Clare is a long way from safety, and he’s injured. He’s fortunate to stop at the isolated cottage of a nurse and midwife who can tend to his wounds and who has a car he can “borrow” – if he can get it running.

Grounded Hearts Jeanne M. DicksonI have mixed feelings about Grounded Hearts. I felt the plot plodded for the first two-thirds and I didn’t feel the rising tension I expected. I was waiting for Dutch to be discovered, but nothing in my emotions screamed “Danger!” I did grow increasingly annoyed with each appearance of the lecherous – and ambitious – army reserve officer investigating Whitney’s whereabouts. I couldn’t connect with Nan: her Catholic beliefs left her feeling guilty for much of what she did, while my opinion of her republican background was colored by my own experiences of growing up in England during a time of IRA bombs.

One aspect I did make note of was how Nan and Dutch changed. Nan was a lonely woman who eventually found herself surrounded by friends eager to help her. Dutch saw how his military actions could impact innocent civilians just trying to get on with their lives. While helping her ‘flyboy’ escape north, Nan was able to escape from her recent, tragic, past. The title might be Grounded Hearts, but these were two hearts that took flight.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Waterfall Press for my complimentary copy of Grounded Hearts, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity Book Tour

Have you read Grounded Hearts? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Waterfall Press (an imprint of Amazon Publishing)

Publication Date: 13 June 2017

Page Count: 348

Read more on:   Jeanne M. Dickson Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

The One True Love of Alice-Ann, by Eva Marie Everson

book cover Alice AnnPublisher’s Overview:

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear—having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

First Thoughts:

I’m not sure about the title, as it sounds a bit cutesy for my liking, but I loved the last book I read by Eva Marie Everson.

My Take:

On Alice-Ann’s 16th birthday, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Although over 2000 men were killed, Alice-Ann can only think about how her birthday party has been ruined. She’d had big plans for that day, including telling her brother’s friend how much she loved him. She finally got her way, but he promised her nothing except that he’d write to her. During the next three years, Alice-Ann got older, finished high school, began working at the bank, helped out on her family’s farm, helped teach Sunday school, and wrote to Mack.

As much as this is a novel about a young woman, this is also a tale about a small town at war forced to change. Life did go on in some respects: young people got married and babies were born. But many of the young men left to join the military, which meant women taking their jobs in various occupations. A POW camp opened and the townspeople had to occasionally interact with ‘the enemy.’ And then there were the tragedies: a local boy was killed in action, and another came home severely injured. What was life like for those left ‘at home?’

The message of this book is that life never goes how you think – or hope – it will. It might even work out for the better. Sometimes, something amazing can even come out of the direst of circumstances. I wanted to flip to the back to get to the ending, but I didn’t want to be spoiled! Because, really, learning the identity of Alice-Ann’s ‘true love’ is as much as the journey as it is the destination.

Thank you to Tyndale House for my complimentary copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read The One True Love of Alice-Ann? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Tyndale House

Publication Date: 01 April 2017

Page Count: 432

Read more on:   Eva Marie Everson’s Website   Tyndale’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

A Secret Courage, by Tricia Goyer

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

American Emma Hanson came to England to study at Oxford, but joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at the height of World War II. She is stationed at beautiful and historic Danesfield House west of London as part of the highly secretive Photographic Reconnaissance Unit.

Englishman Will Fleming is a handsome young artist who has been commissioned by the British government to record the changing landscape in paintings. His path intersects with Emma’s when his real mission—tracking Nazi spies—leads him to Danesfield House, the target of a sinister plot.

Emma and Will become friends, but neither can reveal the true nature of their assignment. Can their relationship grow amid such secrecy? And can Will save Danesfield House—and Emma and her coworkers—before it’s too late?

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed Tricia Goyer’s previous World War 2 novels, and this is about a war location in the UK that I’d not heard of previously.

My Take:

I’m often drawn to historical novels set in my home country, and World War 2 novels often give me a glimpse of what my grandparents might’ve experienced during that dark time. I occasionally learn something new from them as well; I’d not heard of Danesfield House before reading A Secret Courage, although I knew that aerial reconnaissance was a vital part of the war effort.

The opening scene was set in 1940 and showed Will being chased by the London police through the city. Although it was a tense passage, I admit that I didn’t quite understand how it was important to the plot. Readers were next introduced to Emma at her job in 1943, and then Berndt Eldwin who was obviously the bad guy. I couldn’t see where the plot was going, however, until some way into the book. As the tension slowly built, I felt at times like Emma. I didn’t know who to trust. I knew that Berndt couldn’t have been acting alone, but I didn’t guess the identity of his co-conspirator until that person was introduced at the climax.

Although Emma is American, there are several mentions of her mother being British. One description of Mrs. Hanson really stood out to me: that she was someone who “buttered her bread one bite at a time.” I wanted to shout out, “Yes!” It might not seem as anything other than a passing comment but it rang true for me, because this is something I do.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It isn’t what I would call a perfectly happy ending, but it is one of hope. I thought there were some floating loose ends concerning supporting characters and, since, this is the first book of a new series set during the war, I’d hoped the story of these characters might’ve been continued. It appears, however, that the second book in the series will be about new characters.

Thank you to Harvest House for my complimentary electronic copy of A Secret Courage, which I downloaded via NetGalley.

Have you read A Secret Courage? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Excerpt

Publisher: Harvest House

Publication Date: 01 April 2017

Page Count: 304

Read more on:   Tricia Goyer’s Website   Harvest House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com