Friday, February 2, 2024

Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

As the German army invades the Netherlands in 1940, Aleida van der Zee Martens escapes to London to wait out the Occupation. Separated from her three-year-old son, Theo, in the process, the young widow desperately searches for her little boy even as she works for an agency responsible for evacuating children to the countryside.

When German bombs set London ablaze, BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the Blitz, eager to boost morale while walking the fine line between truth and censorship. But the Germans are not the only ones Londoners have to fear as a series of murders flame up amid the ashes.

The deaths hit close to home for Hugh, and Aleida needs his help to locate her missing son. As they work together, they grow closer and closer, both to each other and the answers they seek. But with bombs falling and continued killings, they may be running out of time.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling and Christy Award-winning author of Embers in the London Sky (coming February 2024), The Sound of Light (2023), Until Leaves Fall in Paris (2022), When Twilight Breaks (2021), and several World War II series.

Sarah's novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. Until Leaves Fall in Paris received the 2022 Christy Award and was a semi-finalist for the 2023 Carol Award, The Sound of Light, When Twilight Breaks, and The Land Beneath Us were finalists for the Christy Award, and The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in Southern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers' groups. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.

Sarah Sundin is an absolute master at creating WWII stories that are rich in history and captivating to read. This one is absolutely no exception. 

From the start, it drew me in. We meet Aleida as she's planning to escape with her son from her abusive husband, only to have her plans thrown when they ALL have to escape due to the occupation. In the midst of this, she is separated from her son and sets out to find him. In and of itself, this would have made it a compelling story. But it's just one aspect of the book. Along the way there is also a murder mystery, some romance and some great lessons too. Honestly, there really was so much going on in this story that it very easily could have been TOO much... but it was weaved together so beautifully that it didn't feel that way at all. As a mother, the idea of being separated like this from a child is absolutely heartbreaking. With that and the realities of war, I cannot say this was always the most enjoyable of stories... but it was a beautifully told one! It's certainly one that is going to stick with me for a long time!

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