Oh, just where do I begin? This is the stuff in which great novels are made. I made my way through this richly beautiful novel turning page after page with such deep emotion and thought. I couldn't turn the pages quick enough, but I didn't want it to end to soon. It's one of those novels you could continue reading as long as there were pages. No page just made of fluff, words with no meaning on the page. Every single line in this novel created a story that will last in my heart forever.
Ms. Everson, I am so happy stories of the war were shared with you. Oh, to have your Sunday school teacher share with you, "You can't choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose who you marry", is a blessing that has now enchanted your readers. What a story you have weaved together. History penned with such depth, detail, and a story that captures the heart.
This lovely story begins in 1941. The war has started. Picture a family gathered around the Zenith to hear the news. Everything changed this day. But even in war God brings blessings to those who love Him. Even in the storms that brew, He moves in much bigger ways.
The characters in this novel touched my heart greatly. Alice-Ann is a character I will never forget. It was a privilege to see her go from a young teen to a woman. It didn't happen over a great amount of years. Only a few took place, but within that time frame God moved in Alice-Ann, growing her into the woman He created her to be. One could say it is a coming of age story. We see Alice-Ann with her girlfriends and right before our eyes they are growing up.
See, Alice-Ann doesn't see herself as beautiful. Oh, she can look at her girlfriends and see their beauty, but for herself she wonders just what happened to make her all plain. But, what I love so much is that as Alice-Ann struggles with her own self just as we do. I so admire how Ms. Everson allowed us to see this part of Alice-Ann. As she grows, as life unfolds, she grows to see what beauty truly is. She comes to see the beauty that others have seen in her all along. Alice-Ann carries within her a beauty that surpasses most on their best day.
Funny how as young girls we think we know what love is. We are more in love with the idea of being in love, right? Alice-Ann too thought she was in love, but it wasn't until everything changed that love came to Alice-Ann in a way she never knew. True love to come once in a lifetime.
Alice-Ann's family, the farmhouse, the relationships, it all just falls into perfection. It was like reading a true story of a family of this era. Her father, a man of great honor; her brother, a young man to be admired; her sister-in-law, one she would grow to call friend; and her aunt, the woman who holds this family together. All of these characters are all valuable in this story. They are all a part of who Alice-Ann is.
The war takes so much away from the people of Bynum, Georgia, but together they have such hope. A faith that they didn't know was so great until that's all they had to carry them through. Throughout the novel we see not only the tragedy on the lands that held the war, but we see what home life was like for the farmers, the women who would now take the jobs of the young men carried off to fight. Together they all made it work.
I think Alice-Ann is a girl we can all relate to. The guy who catches are attention isn't always the guy who captures our heart. A friendship begins and love soon blossoms for Alice-Ann and life continues to give every day struggles. I love how Alice-Ann waits upon God to direct her paths. This is all part of her growing years. Growing into not only a woman, but a woman of great faith.
The words flow so easily. Penned as a masterpiece. These black and white words come to life and grab your heart. I cried as I read through chapters. I laughed at the sweet friendship between Alice-Ann and Carlton. Just through their conversations alone it was as if I was watching the big screen and this novel was being played out before me.
If you love history this is a novel that will take you back in time. If it is a love story you are searching for, well, your heart will be moved from the first to the last chapter. A story about friendship, family, and faith, you will find it all right here. I simply cannot say enough good things about this novel. Yes, this is a place I could visit over and over again and never tire of returning. I do hope we get to return again to this extraordinary time and place. Of course I don't want to give away any spoilers. You're just going to have to believe me and grab this up for yourself. 😉
This novel was a gift from Tyndale for sharing my review with you.
Eva Marie Everson is the award-winning, bestselling author of over 30 fiction and nonfiction titles. She is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and a member of a number of writer's organizations. She and her husband make their home in central Florida, where they are owned by a small black doxie.