Whisper on the Wind was offered free on Kindle, and the blurb mentioned it featured a storyline with an underground newspaper in Belgium in World War I, and I’m a history geek with a weak spot for Resistance stories, so I bit. It was also put forward as a Christian romance so I braced for fluffy twaddle. Fluffy twaddle is isn’t, I’m happy to say (unless you tend to put Charles Dickens in that category). Good historical fiction, it is.
It made me think a bit of A Tale of Two Cities, actually. It’s been a while since I’ve read a Helen MacInnes novel, but it reminded me of those, too.
This is listed as the second book in a Great War series. Lang seems to have done her homework on World War I, and I’m hoping to read others in the series. This read as a stand alone book, by the way, if you’re wondering if you’ll miss anything by jumping in ‘mid-series’. Answer: not in this case.
The leading lady in the book is a teen-aged socialite (almost 18, which makes her think she’s all grown up) who sneaks back into now-German-occupied Belgium after having been taken to safe lands by her parents before the German invasion. Her primary goal is to smuggle out the young man she loves, and his family. But things do not go according to plan. I had to smile at the heroine’s background, because in recent years I’ve found that a surprising number of the Salvation Army lasses who risked everything by voluntarily going into Europe during the height of hostilities were young socialites, who had hit their knees and asked God what they could do to serve Him. The Salvation Army, in fact, actively recruited pretty girls with great training in manners and grooming for war work. See The War Romance of the Salvation Army by Grace Livingston Hill for more on that. (A nice excerpt from the writer’s preface here.)
Gentlemen, here’s a nice surprise: despite the cover art (definitely feminine, that), I think this is a book that men would appreciate, as well as us ladies. There’s lots of danger and action, not to mention inside tricks on espionage, and men get fair play.
Parents: I think this would be a great book for introducing teens to World War I, and to tyranny and oppression and other life lessons – it grapples with tough questions – but I recommend that you read it first.