Monday, February 27, 2017

When Tides Turn

After a few disappointments in love, the glamorous and always popular Quintessa Beaumont decides she needs a change.  She leaves her department store sales job, starts going by the name "Tess," and joins the Navy's new WAVES program.  Lt. Dan Avery is determined to make Admiral one day, and doesn't have the time for distractions of any kind.  When the fun-loving Tess and straight-laced Dan find themselves working in the same office, sparks fly despite their best efforts t act otherwise.  Will Tess be able to prove to Dan-- and herself-- that she's more than a pretty face?  Will Dan realize that the rest and fun that Tessa brings to his life is a blessing and not a distraction? 

Sarah Sundin brings her Waves of Freedom series to a lovely and exciting conclusion in When Tides Turn.  Though I'm a devoted fan of Sundin's work, I'll admit to being a bit skeptical before starting this particular novel.  From previous installments, I'd honestly never been terribly fond of Quintessa or Dan.  A self-centered and overly beautiful blonde, and an uptight, career-obsessed sailor?  Not my first choice for relatable protagonists.  With a truly talented bit of storytelling and character development, though, Sundin proves me absolutely wrong.  

The growth experienced by both characters is both convicting and engaging, and I enjoyed every page of their love story.  The historical context of the series from a Naval and home front perspective continues to prove compelling, and the twists and turns of other sub-plots kept me guessing until the very end as well.  As with Sundin's previous series, all three installments of Waves of Freedom are well-researched, beautifully written, and well worth the time.  

 I received a free copy from the publisher.  No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Note Yet Unsung

Vienna-trained violinist Rebekah Carrington finds herself back in her hometown of Nashville after the sudden death of her grandmother.  Unable to live with her lecherous step-father and apathetic mother.  Pursuing her dream of playing with an orchestra, Rebekah auditions for Nashville's new conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb.  While clearly impressed with her talent, Tate can't bring himself to defy the conventions of the time and allow a woman to perform with his orchestra.  Still seeking a way to support herself, Rebeka takes a job at Belmont Mansion teaching violin lessons.

As Nashville's youngest conductor, Tate feels intense pressure-- from himself and anxious donors-- to finish his first symphony in time for the grand opening if the city's new opera house.  Fears for his dying father, frequent headaches, and a strange buzzing in his ears leave him seemingly incapable of finishing his symphony.  As he learns more about Rebekah's training and natural talent, in becomes clear to Tate that she may be the only one who can help him.  Can Tate manage to convince Rebekah to help fulfill his dream when he has effectively ruined hers?

Tamera Alexander brings her Belmont Mansion series to an epic finale in A Note Yet Unsung.  I've long been a devoted fan of Alexander's, and this newest novel may just become my new favorite of hers.  It is easily my favorite of the Belmont series.  I can't think of a single complaint.  My inner Yankee often balks at her tendency to over-romanticize Southern culture, but there was very little of that in this case.  Music, feminism, faith, and romance all come together here for a virtually perfect work of fiction, and I devoured every last page.  The journey both Tate and Rebekah take in trying to reconcile their pasts with their dreams for the future is both believable and compelling, and caused me to shed more than one tear in the reading of it.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.