Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rachel Mullel's Letters from Grace ~ Reviewed

Letters from Grace (Love and War Book 1)
Rachel Mullel
Print Length: 348 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1500847089

Back Cover:

Is loving a man in uniform worth the risk? 

Scarred from the death of her fiancé in World War II, Grace Campbell must learn to love again. Lieutenant Luke Brady could make falling in love easy...except he's going to war. There's one thing that can keep a thread tied between them--letters. But the suave Dr. William Keller enchants Grace with his charm and proposes marriage. She must choose between them. Will she settle for comfort and safety or risk losing everything on the Normandy beaches?


As World War Two comes to its climax, two people discover the meaning of loving and letting go during a time when far too many hearts were broken by the ravages of war.

World War Two continues to fascinate historians and readers alike for a plethora of reasons. People love hearing about the triumphs of those who were a part of the Greatest Generation. The drama, romance, and bravery of those who fought for freedom across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are compelling on their own…bring in a talented author whose sincere love of the time period shines through the pages and the stories just come to life.

Debut author Rachel Muller has been obsessed with World War Two since she was a teenager. Her love for this period is obvious in the multiple stories that make up Letters from Grace; her exquisite writing and attention to detail accentuate the gift she has for combing her passion with her talent. Letters from Grace is a novel that all readers will enjoy—World War Two aficionado or otherwise—because Muller knows how to pen a tale with exciting storylines and believable characters that bring the Greatest Generation to life.

Luke and Grace are in their twenties when World War Two begins—young enough to feel the excitement of love but old enough to know the heartbreak of war and death. Both of Muller’s protagonists fear the pain of opening up their hearts to love after they experience devastating losses in the early 1940s. Grace struggles to move past her loss and never loses her faith in God, despite a rapidly changing future with no concrete answers. Luke, meanwhile, falls prey to the pull of darkness and gives up all hope that his loving God has a plan for him. Grace and Luke’s friendship develops over the series of letters that helps keep him sane as he prepares for the crucial battle in the war—a battle that could bring freedom to many people but also the risk of death, injury, and more broken hearts. Months and many letters later, Grace and Luke have to decide if they will put their potential relationship in the hands of God or leave fate—and one disastrous war—to decide the future for them.

Readers of World War Two fiction have numerous extraordinary authors to choose from for their chosen genre of books. Sarah Sundin, Tricia Goyer, Cara Putnam, and Kristina McMorris all have penned tales of love, loss, and war during the 1940s. Some potential authors could be intimidated by the success rate of these authors—how could a new author begin to compete with these ladies’ novels? Not Rachel Muller! She’s written a story just as beautiful and compelling as any other author of World War Two fiction has come out and, if the early posted five-star reviews are any indication, she will rapidly join the ranks of her contemporaries.

Letters from Grace is told from third-person point-of-view that alternates primarily between Grace and Luke but occasionally brings in their two best friends, Maggie and Danny. These alterations allow readers to experience the war and home-front from many angles. Each character is lively and fully developed in ways that challenge readers to understand the perspectives of the various people who fought at home and across the seas. Grace, devoted to her work at the Ladies and Liberty and grieving for love; Maggie, cheerful and driven to bring God to sick and wounded soldiers on the front lines; Luke, lost over his absent family and finding solace in the Army; and Danny, love-stricken and determined to come home from the war a hero. Each storyline brings to life different struggles that were unique to the Greatest Generation; however, the emotions that Muller shows from her characters are so well written that the happiness, sadness, and desperation are easily felt when reading Letters from Grace. I found the friendship between Luke and Danny and Maggie and Grace honest and open. The love these characters had for each other and showed to those around them exquisitely exemplifies why those who lived during World War Two are known as the Greatest Generation.

An avid reader of World War Two historicals, I jumped at the chance to review Letters from Grace because I never pass an opportunity to read another story set in my favorite time period. As a bonus to my already excited disposition at finding this new novel, I knew that if authors Sarah Sundin and Cara Putnam were assisting Muller with her book that Letters from Grace was bound to be an excellent story. My assumption was correct—a five-star novel from a debut author, readers of World War Two fiction will have a new favorite author to add to the already stellar collection of those who tell stories of the Greatest Generation. From the gorgeous cover, to the thick binding and paper, to the historical details and symbolism front and back, Letters from Grace is just as beautiful on the outside and its story comprises the inside. This novel is one to keep on your shelves for re-reading and display purposes. It is in all truth that I say I looked immediately to the back of the back for information on future novels from Muller. Without even reading the story, I smiled widely upon finding the release date for Maggie’s Mission. January 2015 can’t come soon enough!   

Reviewed by: Marisa Deshaies

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