Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: On Distant Shores

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin continues the action, heartbreak, and romance of World War II in this second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series. Set in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and spanning the months between July 1943 and April 1944, this exciting novel captured my interest and emotions from the very first page.


Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace—and a love that remains true.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

My thoughts

Sarah Sundin is a consummate author, whose passion and knowledge of the World War II era shine through on every page. Her attention to historical detail, combined with the ability to create interesting characters and an inspiring narrative, are amazing. Sarah's books are automatic reads for me.

Patient loaded aboard a Douglas C-47 at Agrigento, Sicily

The Wings of the Nightingales series skillfully tells the stories of six flight nurses, "mercy on wings" - their efforts to be allowed to serve in this way, the danger they faced, the strong bond of friendship they shared, and their personal struggles as well. On Distant Shores picks up where the first story, With Every Letter, left off and I enjoyed being reunited with beloved characters.

Sarah has the ability to create characters who are real and that readers can identify with. Georgie is one of six nurses in the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron. She's an extrovert who adores people, loves to plan parties, and cares for the outcast. As the pampered baby of her wealthy Virginia family, she has always let other people guide her, and fears that she may be in over her head with the squadron. But Georgie gradually comes to realize that rather than aiming for safety, her goal should be "for strength to stand in an unsafe world."

Technical Sergeant John Hutchinson (Hutch), with the 93rd Evacuation Hospital, is frustrated at having to enter the Army without a commission in order to practice pharmacy, and seeks to be accepted into the Pharmacy Corp recently approved by Congress. The situation of pharmacists in mobile hospitals during the war is a very interesting theme and Sarah has done her research well.

Licata lighthouse, Italy

Spiritual insights are beautifully woven into these characters' lives. Knowing that some people don't want her to change, while others don't believe she can change, Georgie tells Hutch: "You're the only one who sees me as I really am and believes I can become the woman I should be." And Hutch needs to find contentment outside the recognition that he so bitterly craves.

Character strengths of Georgie and Hutch are shown in two situations that I especially loved. When patients don't want to be evacuated on the same flight with a wounded soldier because of his skin color, Georgie rises above southern prejudice and says, "I don't care what color they are, as long as they fight for freedom." The other is Hutch's love and care for the adorable Lucia, an injured war orphan.

Beach at Nettuno, Italy

On Distant Shores combines the beauty of the Italian countryside with the realism of war, catching the reader emotionally with the lives of these courageous men and women who fight for freedom. I highly recommend this novel to all readers.

“Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,
and not unto men.”
Colossians 3:23

Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Visit for more information.

See the blog tour post to learn more.

The final book in the Wings of the Nightingale series, In Perfect Time, will be released in August 2014.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review.