Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Jerry volunteers to fight in World War II, his main goal is to get revenge for what happened to his best friend at Pearl Harbor. But Jerry’s enlistment means he and his fiancée Marjie have to decide whether to get married right away or to wait until the war is over in Far From the Dream by author Lance Wubbels.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned this author and novel exist. Given that I’ve been adding new-to-me books from the ’90s and such to my overall journey through ChristFic, I decided to give this first book in The Gentle Hills series a go.
As a fan of historical fiction, I was kept mildly interested through most of this simple story of family and friendship, work and war. While the read becomes a little oversentimental, it only does so here and there, and Marjie is the character I like best. She has wits, backbone, and some fire to her as well as a sassy sense of humor.
Much about Jerry’s work at war reads similar to a nonfiction report, but some parts are more dramatic, especially as the story reaches its climax. Overall, the novel shows more than one side to the actions/behavior of Americans in uniform overseas, whether they’re immoral, brave, or what have you.
Now, I’ll admit I cringe a bit when characters in novels, particularly Christian Fiction, use the shortened name for “the Japanese,” no matter how accurately it reflects the period and characters when they speak that way.
I’ll further admit I skimmed over chunks of the evangelistic content. I wasn’t surprised to see it, especially given that this is older ChristFic, but extended salvational messages/lessons in fiction generally don’t appeal to me. However, I will say that although the story’s faith elements play out in a predictable (and sometimes unconvincing) way at moments, not all aspects of faith in this book are the easy clichés I’ve seen in a number of other novels.
I really liked the climax and the ending, and I’m looking forward to checking out the next book in the series.