Everyone knows that war romances never last . . .
After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.
Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real―and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?
One of my favorite two fiction genres to read is World War II. The second is mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. World War II grips my imagination because of the heroic men, women, and boys of the 1940's. I enjoy how they didn't think twice about lying about their age or enlisting to defend our country. It is hard to believe that it has only been a little over seventy years since World War II, and America's values has gone so far south that there really isn't values anymore. The heroines of World War II wouldn't even recognize our country anymore. With a World War II novel, I expect to be taken through a number of war-torn countries with characters who are fighting horrible odds.
In Dandi Daley MacKall's debut adult novel, With Love, Wherever You Are, she has taken the liberty of recreating her parents' World War II adventures and love affair and making it come to reality of me. The story is written in a normal prose pattern to show the action between Helen and Frank, but there are authentic letters from MacKall's parents thrown in to show the emotions and true conflict these two were pressed up against. The novel begins around Easter in 1944 and ends right after the Japanese surrender in the middle of August 1945. The pace of the novel seemed long-winded. This was a 460 page novel, so it is a lot longer than most stories, which I don't mind if they're written well. MacKall had a lot of repeated scenes, so the novel appeared to move slowly for me.
The writing was clear and concise, allowing me to follow the war marriage between Helen and Frank. The letters enhanced the story, bringing the characters to life. I can't imagine all the research and the numerous drafts that MacKall had to go through to bring justice to her parents' love story. I'm sure it was plenty. It is hard enough to bring history to life when writing a story that I don't have an emotional attachment to. This story was her parents' story.
I enjoyed spending time with Helen and Frank. They were truly heroes of this generation. They didn't think about themselves until they found someone they wanted to spend the rest of the their lives with. Helen was a take charge nurse who thought of her patients and wanted the best for them. Frank, on the other hand, worked really close to the enemies' lines and MacKall didn't have him complain once, knowing he could die at any moment. Even though MacKall was trying to recreate her parents, I think both characters were static. Neither one of them had a character transformation through the novel. There was mention of God, but I really didn't know where either character stood in their relationship with God in the whole story.
While I admire MacKall for wanting to bring her parents' love story to life with all the research she did, I believe the story should have been shorter with more meat to the made-up characters. As an avid reader of World War II novels, I wanted more.
I could be the only one that feels this way too. I think fans of World War II romances could pick up this book and think I'm crazy, wanting to read more of With Love, Wherever You Are. That' s okay too. We all have our own opinions.
I received a complimentary copy of Dandi Daley MacKall's With Love, Wherever You Are from Tyndale Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars