Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review and contest! The Nightingale

What fun to be part of the blog tour for Nightingale, by Susan May Warren!

Synopsis from the publisherEsther Lange doesn’t love her fiancé—she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.

Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy. Or is he?  Peter Hess is not who he seems. Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life. A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart...a battle where only one will survive.

 My take:  I had a very hard time getting into this, probably because I was trying to read this while doing jury duty.  I only got through about a chapter there, and was having a really tough time keeping track of who was who in those opening pages.

At home (after the trial was over!) I finished the remainder of the book in one sitting, not even getting up for a fresh cup of coffee or a bathroom break.

I love historical fiction, and tend to be slightly disappointed in the "historical" aspects of historical romance.  This story, however, did not disappoint.  I knew a little about the POW camps in the upper Midwest, but this story certainly told me about aspects I was unaware of.  I also was vaguely aware of the fact that German-Americans sometimes found themselves in the situation of fighting for the Nazis in World War II.  As far as what life was like in East Germany (aside from Berlin) following the end of the war, I have to say that is not something I've ever really read about.  So the historical aspects, expertly woven into the story, were fascinating.

The story?  It was compelling, which is why I ended up reading it mostly in one sitting.  The characters were totally believable, flawed, complex -- real.  Esther feels completely unworthy of forgiveness.  She made a mistake and is forced to live with the consequences of that mistake.  I found her very easy to relate to. I wanted to be able to sit her down and talk to her about how Jesus came for sinners, that she can have forgiveness, that she is loved.

Some plot details are fairly predictable.  Many are not.  Layers upon layers.  It was fun to read, and I will absolutely be finding more books by Susan May Warren.  Especially if her other books also take place near to home (Susan May Warren lives in Northern Minnesota, near my godparents, actually).

Warnings:  Nothing is graphic, but there are a number of topics introduced that I want to mention:  a one-night stand resulting in pregnancy, a few beatings, a suicide attempt, gangster violence, war and some of the grim realities associated with that, particularly issues associated with Germany before and after World War II.  This isn't a book I would necessarily hand to a tween/young teen, at least not without pre-reading it. 

You can follow the blog tour and see what others have to say about this amazing book.  And you can enter the Letters from Home Giveaway.  Susan would like you to write a letter.  One grand prize winner will receive a Flip HD Camcorder.  5 runner's up winners will win a signed copy of the book.  Go here to enter.

Disclaimer:  I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.   

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