My Rating: 3 out of 5
THANK YOU TO NET GALLEY AND ZONDERVAN BOOKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO REVIEW THIS BOOK AND GIVE MY HONEST OPINION
Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.
I was excited to read this book. Anything about life during World War 2 always fascinates me. It's a life that none of us will ever really understand, especially how life as a teenage girl carried on while teenage boys do truly heroic things on the other side of the pond.
Before I start let me just say that this isn't a happy book. There are a few happy moments but overall Allie is not a pleasant person. Before her mother died Allie was told by her mother that Christians were bad, they lied, they say anything to get you to do their bidding. I'm not a religious person but even I thought this was a bit of a harsh line to tell your 9-year old daughter. However even after Allie's ardent care and attention her mum eventually dies from brain cancer and Allie starts to believe that her mother's words hold merit, and that life is cruel. Allie doesn't have time to grieve and instead is whisked off to the home of Miss Beatrice Lovell to be her new 'daughter'.
From here on in Allie's character is one of spite, bitterness and verbal cruelty. No matter how much Beatrice gives, Allie won't take it. She's puts up a defence mechanism and doesn't let anyone in or get close to her. Continually from here she's unguarded in her words and even gets a reputation of putting people down verbally. Allie finds solace in her poems and her diary she writes to her mum. She also treasures the sketchpad and chalk that her childhood friend Sam bought for her. But stuck in my mind is the memory than she barely uttered a 'thank you' to him except when prompted by her mother. But Sam is forgiving as always and accepts Allie is that way.
Over the years Allie doesn't change her attitude and when Sam moves in with his Aunt Rachel Allie shows a little surprise at seeing him again but no gladness that an old friend is there to cheer her up. Someone who knew what life was like for her when she cared for her mother. She only sees how annoying he was and that he would follow her around like a puppy dog.
As World War 2 sets in and life goes on, Allie doesn't change. Although Sam spends more time with Allie she doesn't drop her guard. But the instants where she's actually nice do come out more often. There is a happy ending though and I did feel a relief when, after a few certain events, Allie was able to finally come to terms with her mothers death.
Overall the character of Allie made me frustrated. To lose a parent so young is hard to bear. I' surprised that once Allie started growing up she didn't gradually accept the love around her. Truthfully I really didn't like her. Sam was an amazing character though. To be so supportive, even with the put-downs from Allie took courage. I even felt sorry for Beatrice more than once.
Towards the end the story takes on a heavier religious theme, and almost implies that had Allie believed in God then she wouldn't have become so bitter and twisted in her beliefs.
I'm glad I read it, I would recommend it as a very powerful and heartwarming story.
Here's the Book Trailer! Enjoy!