Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review: A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

A Distant Melody
Allie has never been considered beautiful by her family, but it doesn't really matter in the love department because she's also in somewhat of an arranged marriage...her parents want her to marry their handpicked guy to take over their extremely successful business. Allie has been dating him for years and this is very much expected of her. However, Allie doesn't love Baxter and has no real affection for him.

When Allie goes to her friend Betty's wedding, she meets Walter Novak, a young pilot fighting in World War II. Allie and Walt hit it off, but Allie doesn't really tell him about Baxter and just gets caught up in the new friendship. When Walt learns about Baxter, he still asks for Allie's permission to write her letters and their correspondence and relationship grows from there.

I didn't love this book. But first the good....Allie lived in Riverside! I lived in Riverside for a little while before moving to nearby Corona. I have to admit I struggled when Allie called Riverside the most beautiful city in California, but I suspect it used to be much prettier when there were more orange groves and the buildings were newer. It does have the lovely view of the mountains after all. ;)

The history was interesting and I enjoyed that aspect as well. Plus Allie makes some tough independent choices that I enjoyed seeing.

I found the characters to be mostly one dimensional, though, and Allie annoyed me from the get-go. The book felt a bit preachy to me, and the usual vices were presented as clear signs of ungodliness (pornography, drinking, etc.) while the lying the main characters did was seen much more sympathetically. The evangelical tradition of Christianity was shown as being superior to other forms as well. These are huge pet peeves of mine, as you may know.

But the thing that really bugged me in the book was Baxter and his questionable relationship with Allie. It's suggested that Baxter is actually a homosexual and using Allie to both get her inheritance and to cover up his own sexuality. This is very much a subplot and not fully developed but the more I thought about it, the more it bugged me. First of all, it's suggested albeit briefly that perhaps Allie's father and Baxter have a relationship. And this would actually make a HUGE amount of sense in the way Allie's mother treats her and seems starved for her husband's full attention. And even in the way she pushes Allie to marry Baxter. However, the problem is that once again in Christian fiction, a possible GLBT character is portrayed very one dimensionally. (thankfully so are most of the other characters) And while I can certainly imagine this scenario actually happening, a little fleshing out of the characters would have made it far more interesting and forgiveable. Furthermore, it seems that more Christian fiction is finally willing to recognize that being gay is not a choice. So I'd love to see some more books written across the spectrum of beliefs with GLBT characters. Am I dreaming? Probably. I know many of you also don't agree with my stand on homosexuality so you may have no issues with this in the book at all.

I think if you're interested in a sweet very much Christian fiction love story that takes place during World War II, you might enjoy this book. Deborah certainly liked it more than I did.

Rating: 2.5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: This is very much Christian fiction classic
Source of Book: Provided by publicist for review
Publisher: Revell

From the publicist:
A Distant Melody, Book 1 in Sarah Sundin’s exciting Wings of Glory series, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re offering one Grand Prize winner the chance to get NOSTALGIC!

Enter the Netflix and Nostalgia contest from author Sarah Sundin!

The Winner of the ‘NETFLIX® & Nostalgia’ giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
*$25 Starbucks® gift card
*A box of See’s Famous Old Time Chocolates®
*A jar of homemade strawberry jam
*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
*Vintage stationery and pen
*British specialty tea
*WWII style playing cards

To enter just click on the icon above! Contest will be live April 5th and run through April 25th!


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