Read: April 2018
In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store.
Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after a several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be, but someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.
Thank you to Genevieve Graham for a copy of this book for review!
Oh my gosh, I don’t even have words to describe how much I loved this book! This is only my second Genevieve Graham story I’ve read and I just adore her writing; her characters are real, lovely, imperfect and yet charming, and her Canadian scenery is completely brought to life: you can envision the setting she’s describing and almost picture yourself there, in the historical Canadian east. Her stories are beautiful and layered and can get your heart beating, but still bring tears to your eyes. Needless to say, I really, really love her writing, just from the bit I’ve sampled so far.
Initially I had my worries because Graham had talked about bringing back the Bakers from her previous novel, Tides of Honour, and all I could think was, “Oh no, another ‘series’ – it’s not going to be good!” However, right off the bat, even before the story starts, Graham writes about the German U-Boats that were stationed off of the shores and talks of what might happen if one of the members of these boats happened to come on shore. The story takes off from there and I fell in love with Grace instantly. She is the daughter of Audrey and Danny Baker, the main characters from the previous novel, so it really was a nice transition in this ‘series.’ We get updates of the Baker family, but while the parents we got to know in Tides of Honour are present, their story isn’t THE story of this novel. I loved the reminders of events that happened in the previous book, and it was wonderful how Graham weaved them into this brand new story.
This is also very much a story of war. The story takes place during WWII and at times it can be hard to stomach. It’s a story of family, love, and loss. It’s a story about the questions that are raised when it comes to who we can trust when it comes to love. It’s a story that will make you laugh, will make you cry, and will get your heart pounding. I adored Rudi and his determination, his courage, and his selflessness.
It’s funny because I finished this story during my kids’ afternoon quiet time, and then later, before dinner, I was doing something – I can’t even remember – and couldn’t help but think of how enjoyable my reading time would be that night, as I get back to the story of Rudi, Grace, and the Bakers. Then I had to remind myself that I had already finished the story. I needed more! I was not ready to let these characters go by the story’s end and really hope we get to meet these characters again in the future. That’s definitely the sign of a great book, when you can’t stop thinking of the characters and you’re not convinced that you’re finished reading the story.
I highly recommend Genevieve Graham’s historical books. They have amazing and wonderful characters, and also weave stories of eastern Canada’s history so well that you can’t help but want to come back for more.