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Book Review: Whisper on the Wind, by Maureen Lang

29 Dec

Genre: romance; Christian Inspirational; historical fiction

Plot Summary: WWI is a difficult time for Isabelle Lassone to be in love.  Nevertheless she has loved Edward since the time they first met as children growing up in Belgium. Now, she sneaks back to her occupied home country in order to rescue him and his family. But she isn’t prepared for the starving conditions in war-ravaged Brussels. Even her own home is billeted to a German officer. Edward isn’t the same person Isa remembers, and he isn’t about to leave the country he loves or La Libre Belgique, an underground newspaper run by anonymous patriots. When the secret project draws Isa in as well, how will she keep her feelings separate from her patriotic cause?

My Book Review: I’ve been a WWI buff long before Downton Abbey was a cult tv show. I used to bemoan the fact there were few stories set during this fascinating time era, but since the popularity of Julian Fellowes’ brainchild many Great War stories have exploded into being. Hence, Maureen Lang’s series caught my eye.

When I first picked up this book, I didn’t realize it was the second in The Great War Series. Some characters would have made a little more sense if I had started with the first book, but for the most part Whisper on the Wind can stand on it’s own.

The book keeps a subdued, grey tone throughout, in keeping with the angst of the period. To be honest, at first I had a hard time keeping interest in the story and the characters felt unlikable. But about halfway through, the plot picks up which improves the characters. Then the story builds to an exciting climax, leaving one doubting whether the story will turn out well.

I expected this to be a run of the mill romance novel in which the whole story revolves around a prelude to a kiss. Fortunately this was not the case, and I didn’t even feel that the plot hinges on the romance itself. Rather, the circumstances and how the characters grow are the stuff the book is based on. In fact, I ended up enjoying the romance between secondary characters more than the main stars of the story. You don’t have to worry about edgy romance in this novel. It’s all kept clean and gentle.

Some of the dialogue did start to feel a little too much like a cut-and-dried Sunday School hour. It felt forced to fit the formula rather than the spiritual lessons organically growing out of the characters’ hearts. But the message is brief and not shoved down readers’ throats.

World War I, German infantry marching into Brussels, Belgium, 1914

I really think the author has a talent for capturing the feeling of gut-twisting fear these characters experience. Like end-of-the-world, no-hope sort of fear. These scenes were very well written and I felt I was right there through it all. Another thing I liked was that she describes the beautiful clothes the characters wear, especially the richly saturated colors. Many authors leave these details out of the picture, but I always enjoy my imagination being helped along a bit!

This was my first book by Maureen Lang, and I don’t think it will be my last. But I’m not certain I will continue reading the rest of the series. If you’re in the mood for a gentle romance set during a dramatic time period, this book should peak your interest. Be a bit patient: the plot will pick up about ¾ of the way through and quickly carry you to the end!

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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