Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Sahara Crosswind by T. Davis Bunn

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.

Sahara Crosswind by T. Davis Bunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

French Resistance leader Patrique Servais might have died during torturous imprisonment if his brother, Major Pierre Servais, and Colonel Jake Burnes hadn’t rescued him in Morocco. Patrique has important intelligence to save the French government from a treasonous post-war scheme, but assassins are determined to kill him, Pierre, and Jake in the desert in Sahara Crosswind, a novel by author T. Davis Bunn.

It took me a while to settle into the rhythm of this story. Much of the opening is rather solitary (with Jake) and dialogue-less, and the first third or so of the book is mostly about Jake adapting to “the desert way.” Traveling through the desert; coming to appreciate a tribal people as he learns desert living; discovering and appreciating the beauty of the desert; experiencing God and the wonder of what can’t be put into words during his desert time.

The story quietly lays down rich layers that almost feel removed from the overall mission and latent danger that’s driving it all. So when the danger leaps back into the forefront, it hits you.

Here in the middle of the Rendezvous with Destiny series, this book is like an interlude or bridge, continuing and tying up one crucial adventure and making way for the next to begin. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on the other side of this bridge.

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Here’s my review of Book One of the Rendezvous with Destiny series, Rhineland Inheritance.

   

 

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Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Gibraltar Passage by T. Davis Bunn

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.

Gibraltar Passage by T. Davis Bunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Patrique, the twin brother of Major Pierre Servais, reportedly died while working as a leader in the French Resistance during World War II. But Pierre and his friend, Lieutenant Colonel Jake Burnes, receive mysterious word that Patrique could be alive, somewhere in Morocco. It might be too much to hope that Pierre could recover a lost brother—and also recapture a lost love in the process in Gibraltar Passage, a novel by author T. Davis Bunn.

In this second book in the Rendezvous with Destiny series, most of the story is told from Jake’s perspective, but he’s more of a supporting character this time while Pierre’s situation is at the center. It isn’t a very long novel, but it has key, internal turning points for both men, wrapped up in a tale of allies, enemies, suspense, moments of longing, and flashes of humor. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel by this author where I wasn’t amazed by some brilliant turns of phrase, and certain spiritual aspects of this story, for which there aren’t really accurate phrases to describe precisely, resonated with me.

Other times, I thought the spiritual content to be a little basic and obvious, almost as if using the story to give pointers like “read your Bible and pray every day” to the reader. Also, even as the novel is historical fiction, it seems at one point as if the story pauses to give something of a history lesson for a few pages. It’s pretty near a slow stretch leading to the book’s climax. Then, quite soon after the climax, though I wouldn’t say the story ends on an utter cliffhanger, the ending is clearly just a breather before whatever is coming next.

Nevertheless, I flat-out came to like Jake and Pierre in the book before this one, and I only became more invested in them here. I’m looking forward to continuing on to Book Three soon.

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Here’s my review of Book Three in the Rendezvous with Destiny series, Sahara Crosswind.

   

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Rhineland Inheritance by T. Davis Bunn

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.

Rhineland Inheritance by Davis Bunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

On the border between France and Germany in the aftermath of World War II, two army captains—American Jake Burnes and Frenchman Pierre Servais—stumble upon stolen Nazi treasure. While becoming embroiled in a continent-wide conspiracy, the captains are also challenged to assist diplomat Sally Anders in helping impoverished German children in Rhineland Inheritance, a novel by author T. Davis Bunn.

Another one of the many novels where I didn’t even glance at a book blurb before I just bought a copy and dove right in. I simply knew I wanted to read something older from one of my longtime favorite authors, and here we are: the beginning of a historical ChristFic series first published back in the 90s.

While I’m not new to WWII novels, the post-war landscape isn’t something I think about as much. So it was all the more interesting to get a look at this story’s post-war military dynamics and to also consider child soldiers who’d been sent to war by Germany as well as the many refugees left with nothing after the years of deadly conflict.

I’ve come to expect no less than excellent storytelling from this author, and that’s what I got here. Danger, intrigue, a depth of emotion, and characters I came to like rather quickly. Especially sharp and intelligent Sally, who has quick, dry humor and a commanding presence balanced with softness and compassion. She’s tough without being “one of the fellas.”

I’m generally not a fan of love triangles, and this story has some of that, but it’s not a melodramatic or drawn-out aspect of the plot, and the romance here isn’t sappy. There’s a noticeable share of another something I’m a minor non-fan of, questions in dialogue that don’t end with question marks, but it didn’t bother me too much.

I was moved by this novel and absolutely plan on continuing the Rendezvous with Destiny series.

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Here’s my review of Book Two in the Rendezvous with Destiny series, Gibraltar Passage.

   

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

Firefly Cove by Davis Bunn

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. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Firefly Cove by Davis Bunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ever since Lucius was a boy, doctors have told him he’s dying, on account of his bad heart. Although Lucius has made it to adulthood anyway and has become a successful businessman, he knows his time is finally running out. Because he wants the woman he loves to be free of him before the end, he pulls away from her in Firefly Cove, a novel by author Davis Bunn.

It was in promotional copy covering both this book and Miramar Bay that I first saw the “Nicholas Sparks” comparison. From a marketing standpoint, I understand the reason for statements like that. But I think such comparisons can actually fail to do one author’s or the other’s work justice, and it isn’t always the best thing for readers’ expectations.

I personally didn’t come in expecting a Sparks read, here. I expected a Davis Bunn one. And that’s what I got.

Also, though I didn’t read the book blurb beforehand, I’d encourage anyone who does so not to expect a romance novel. (I mean, hey, even Sparks doesn’t write romance novels.) The blurb only scratches Firefly Cove’s surface, and honestly, much of this felt to me like reading one of Bunn’s (or even, *cough,* one of Thomas Locke’s) thrillers or suspense novels, minus guns or car chases. The deft storytelling, sharp characters, mysterious and dangerous implications, professional insight as well as hauntingly beautiful perceptions of humanity—it’s all there.

While there’s one pretty classic movie this love story reminds me of, I think I can safely say I haven’t read a love story quite like it. This is one of those times when, really, it’s better to just read the novel without trying to understand too much about it beforehand.

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Firefly Cove is a standalone, but it’s also the second Miramar Bay novel.