More coming-of-age than romance, this is a sweet story of the journey of Alice-Ann from infatuated teen to maturing young woman. A great deal of that maturing has to do with recognizing the difference between a childhood infatuation and real, true love.
Accompanying the endearing and frizzy-haired Alice-Ann is a lively cast of characters. These are well-rounded characters whose back-stories you can almost feel, even when they are not given. I remain curious about a potential work-place romance at the bank where Alice-Ann works after high school, and I would have like more of Aunt Bess' story in particular.
Set in rural Georgia, primarily during America's involvement in World War II, the small town feel pervades this novel without being stereotypically Southern. While I appreciated the almost universal 1940's-small-town-America, it did sometimes seem that the Great Depression was a more distant memory than I would expect.
The story itself starts off with a bit of a 30's/40's teen movie vibe, where I can almost hear some of the young contract actors of the time reading lines. Very quickly, however, the story develops into something deeper and more engrossing with a very realistic feel to the events and dialogue. To continue the movie comparison, it became less Love Finds Andy Hardy (MGM, 1938) and a bit more The Best Years of Their Lives (RKO, 1946) while retaining the sweetness and small town feel established from the beginning.
Alice-Ann's story was not what I expected it to be, and I enjoyed it tremendously. Each aspect was so well handled, from her first confession of love to her slow realization of what love truly is, from her learning more about prayer to the changes in perspective as her experience of life widened, even in the predictable and inevitable - but again, not quite as expected - makeover scene. This was kept rather low-key and completely obliterated my earlier annoyance at her constantly tugging at her frizzy hair.
I've had a reticence of late when it comes to World War II stories. A feeling that I wouldn't enjoy them as much as I do stories from the decades before the 40's. In closing to read Eva Marie Everson's World War II story, I did so knowing that she had previously made me almost like a Dickens story, and that is no mean feat. Based solely on my enjoyment of her Christmas novella, God Bless Us Every One (it left me wanting to read more by her, but not Dickens), I expected her to deliver a novel that would be likely to cure me of my reticence. I think it has.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy well-written novels with well-developed characters, coming of age stories, and romance that is both sweet and respectful.
This review refers to a finished copy requested through the Tyndale Blogger Network and received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
The One True Love of Alice-Ann Eva Marie Everson (4.5 Stars)
April 18, 2017
Eva Marie Everson releases her newest novel, The One True Love of Alice-Ann, this month. While the novel takes place primarily during the early part of World War II, Alice-Anns story begins in the days just before the war. As a budding sixteen-year-old, Alice-Ann has a crush on her older brothers friend and plans to share her feelings with him at her birthday party. However, the events at Pearl Harbor devastate the people of her small Georgia town, even as they send the young men of the area to the nearest enlistment office. Desperate to share her feelings with Mack, Alice-Ann promises to write him until he returns, in spite of him not sharing any mutual feelings. After years of correspondence, Macks letters suddenly end without warning, causing Alice-Ann to wonder about the true state of their relationship. Meanwhile, the war has already taken its toll on the local families, including another of her brothers friends, Carlton. Alice-Ann finds her spare time taken up helping Carlton to recover from his war wounds, even as it forces her to face the realities of adulthood in a time of war. Ultimately, Alice-Ann must choose between her dreams of one man and the reality of another, all in hopes of finally wearing her aunts wedding dress for the man she loves.
Ms. Everson writes a compelling story of emerging adulthood in a time of war. Alice-Anns story will capture the hearts of readers who enjoy character-driven novels set during the World War II era.
Overall, I surprisingly enjoyed reading The One True Love of Alice-Ann. While I have had mixed reactions to some of Ms. Eversons previous work, I found this novel to be exceptionally well written, with even pacing and character development throughout. She does a great job of showing the influence of the World War II period on a small Georgia town and the surrounding rural areas, through the inclusion of fascinating historical detail derived from her familys past and additional research. Additionally, the novel maintains a significant focus on Alice-Ann and the people in her life, offering a compelling narrative that many readers will enjoy without overly graphic descriptions of the war itself. Based on Ms. Eversons themes, writing style, and accessible pacing of the novel, I would highly recommend this story to those who appreciate captivating historical Christian fiction.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Tyndale House for the advanced copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann!
An Interesting Love Story - My Review of The One True Love of Alice-Ann
April 13, 2017
Rib Lake, WI
Published by: Tyndale Fiction
Written by: Eva Marie Everson
I was curious about this book as soon as I saw the cover and read the title. I knew that it was going to be something different and fun.
The One True Love of Alice-Ann tells the story of a young woman who fell in love with her brother's friend. The friend heads off to protect their country, and life changes for Alice-Ann while he is away.
Who the book is for:
This book is something that will be enjoyed by those who like historical fiction and love stories.
What I liked:
The story of this book is different from many others out there.
I like the history in this book.
The story is interesting.
I felt drawn into the story.
What I didnt like:
There is not much that I disliked when it comes to this book. It was a good read.
Overall, I enjoyed this book.
I give The One True Love of Alice-Ann 5 out of 5 stars.
I received this book free to review from Tyndale Blog Network. The opinions expressed in this review are my true thoughts and feeling regarding this book. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
I could go on, my friends, but I think you get the picture. Eva Marie Everson outdid herself with this latest book and it's one you won't want to miss out on.
The characters will have you wrapped around their pinky finger from the very first chapter, and by the time you reach the end of the book you will realize you have been holding your breath while your heart goes pitter patter at the precious and pure love story that just unfolded like a rose before your very eyes.
You will notice I said it's a pure love story. I was truly blessed and inspired by the way the author presented the romance in a beautiful yet biblical manner. It's written in a way that blesses married women and encourages unmarried women to desire a pure relationship.
While this story is about a young woman finding true love, it's also about a journey for Alice-Ann as she grows up and becomes a woman of godly character.
I am most impressed with The One True Love of Alice-Ann and I would encourage you, dear friends, to read it. A 5-star book!
** I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received. **
Farm girl Alice-Ann has been in love with her older brothers friend, Mack for a long time. She has decided she will share her heart with him, and tell him her true feelings the night of her sixteenth birthday. Unfortunately, on that date, December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor is attacked, and from that moment on, everything changes--and her party is cancelled. As this event pulls the United States into World War II, Alice-Ann is crushed to find Mack has already enlisted, and will be leaving soon.
Although Mack is stunned to learn of Alice-Anns feelings, he suggests they write to each other while he is gone. She promises him her heart, and to wait for him. Mack makes no promises.
After two years of writing and Alice-Ann sharing her heart, the letters from Mack stop. Alice-Anns feelings for Mack have grown, yet he hasnt given her any encouragement. As the time with no news from Mack lengthens, she remains busy working at the bank, helping at the farm, teaching Sunday School, and reading to Carlton--another friend of her brothers.
Carlton has returned from the war unable to walk or see. After his steady girlfriend took one look at him, she broke things off with him. In the beginning, Alice-Ann spends time with Carlton as a favor to his sister. But as time goes on, she soon finds herself sharing her thoughts about everything, and he actually listens to her. No one in her life has ever really cared about her hopes and dreams, and Alice-Ann is enjoying it.
You cant choose whom you fall in love with, but you can choose whom you marry. Does Alice-Ann understand this advice from her aunt? Has Mack really died in combat? If he never returns, will Alice-Ann remain single the rest of her life? Will Alice-Ann change her opinion of Mack when she discovers how often he let others down, and the number of women he has disappointed?
I really liked this book. This story immediately captured my interest, and I never wanted to put it down. It gives an insight in to what it might have been like in a small rural community--the home front--during World War II. Having been raised by a couple of greatest generation parents, I enjoy things set in this era. However, the characters and the problems they are facing are just as relatable to todays reader. Alice-Ann is very likable, along with many other interesting people in this tale. I highly recommend this 5 plus star book to anyone who enjoys non-offensive fiction written from a Christian viewpoint. If you only read a few books this year, make this one of them!
Tyndale House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The One True Love of Alice-Ann for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.