Feel Good Fiction - Kim Vogel Sawyer Gets it Right
April 26, 2013
Baker City, OR
"Sweet Sanctuary" succeeds as a Christian romance because author Kim Vogel Sawyer gets all the essential elements right. The theme is strong and consistent: God is always working, and no situation- regardless of how grim- is beyond the reach of His redemptive purposes. The characters are believable, relatable, and well-rounded.
There are enough plot twists to keep you wondering while generally staying within the bounds of realistic, if accelerated, outcomes. Admittedly, there was a time or two when I thought, "Come on, no one would_" But overall, "Sweet Sanctuary" just gets it right as uplifting, encouraging, feel-good Christian fiction. This book is set at the end of WWII, and there is some reference to wartime and the changing American culture, as well as very brief intimations of what was one of America's worst moments in history; our country's refusal to provide sanctuary to Jewish refugees. But the historical setting is not the focus; this is an entertaining novel that will encourage the reader to trust God in all circumstances- particularly those where He may seem most distant. Avid readers of Christian fiction will enjoy this book's positive, uplifting message.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
Sweet Sanctuary is the latest offering from beloved historical author Kim Vogel Sawyer, but this is her first (and hopefully not last) foray into WWII novels. The story starts with Dr. Micah Hatcher accused of something he didn't do, so he heads to Boston to set the story straight. When he arrives he falls in love with a little boy and finds himself drawn into the plans to protect the boy from his drug-addicted father. As the heroine is introduced through the doctor's eyes, I wondered at first if I could like her. Then the reasons she'd made the decisions she did spilled onto the pages, and I found myself rooting for her. She would do anything to protect Nicky. There's a hint of suspense. A whisper of love that grows. And a historical setting that I adore. A great read!
I have been interested to read something from Sawyer for a few months now, considering all the good things I've heard about her writing. And there certainly is something sweet and likable about her writing style. The words flowed easily off the page bringing both the setting and the characters to life. Sweet Sanctuary is the second or third novel I've read set in America during the Second World War and it represents the era well, in my opinion.
Lydia is an unwed mother who only seeks to protect her son. Her compassion, kindness, and faith shines bright amid the dark times she lives in. Though I didn't make a big connection with her, I still ached for her at times throughout the book. When fronted with hard choices she always strove to make the right one, which I found admirable.
In sum, I enjoyed my first read from Sawyer. It doesn't quite make it to my favorites but it still was pleasant. If you're seeking a smooth read with likeable characters, a bit of romance, and an intriguing side plot, then you need look no further. :-)
I received this book from Bethany House through Litfuse in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!
Kim Vogel Sawyer's Sweet Sanctuary is a story of how God works all things out for our good. We see that repeatedly in the lives of both Lydia and Micah as they each face numerous difficulties. For the past four years Lydia has been 'Mama' to her deceased best friend's son. She'll do anything to keep it that way, but when morphine addicted father wants the child back to sell for his evil vice, she doesn't know what to do. Micah on the other hand has secrets of his own. He is part of an secret organization that helps smuggle Jewish children into America. Through many series of hardships, questions, and misunderstandings these two learn that no matter what God has everything in control.
Both Micah and Lydia were credible characters. They were christians with a deep desire to do God's will, and were willing to wait for his voice before going ahead with anything. The characters experienced hurts and were not exempt to bad things happening to them. Their strong Christian faith was both genuine and refreshing to the reader.
The author presented plausible problems throughout the book. Many times the author threw a curb ball ,but the situations never felt unrealistic or far fetched. I enjoyed the touch of World War || History included throughout. The author presented the American view of the war quite accurately, many did not know the horrors the Jews faced, and ridiculed them here in America.
I commend Kim for her well written story. She included credible characters, the Gospel, plausible problems and solutions, woven throughout this story. With the touch of a sweet and realistic romance she merged all the qualities of a well written story into one first-rate book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.