On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Book 2, Wings of the Nightingale
Revell, 1 August 2013
Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

On Distant Shores is the second book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  After reading the first book, With Every Letter late last year, I couldn’t wait to get this second installment. Unfortunately I did have to wait a little bit as it wasn’t stocked in Australia until several weeks after the release date.  I definitely wanted the paperback so I didn’t settle for the ebook version and waited it out …

Georgie and Hutch are great characters – they’re everyday people in the extraordinary circumstances of war.  They are so easy to like and relate to. It was refreshing that Georgie was a character with genuine fears in being a flight nurse (i.e. a real kind of person!) and it was intriguing to see Hutch develop as he struggled with his noncommissioned status. Theirs is a truly sweet romance and definitely left me feeling all warm and happy at the end.

I absolutely loved the subtle overlaps of events from the previous book where we get to see a scene from the new characters’ perspective.  It had me grabbing for my With Every Letter copy and re-reading scenes to compare what was concealed then and revealed now.

Sarah Sundin’s writing is so easy to slip into and I love her recreation of life in WWII.  I love the combination of the old world manners and the modern female social position.  Sarah takes you vividly into war life without overpowering you with the horrors.  The depth of her research is evident by the natural flow of events, you don’t have to stop and think or turn pages to work out what is going on.  At the same time, you’re not overloaded with unnecessary details.

On Distant Shores has delivered everything I love about historical fiction: effortless reading that enables me to be totally lost in the setting,  well researched and effectively used details which enables me to learn about life in the period, and a sweet romance.  Can’t wait to read the next in the series!