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Against the Wind

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Against the Wind by Bodie & Brock Thoene

Reviewed by Julia M. Reffner

"Although I preferred the Zion Covenant series, I enjoyed the insight this book provided into the children’s escape from Britain, a topic I’ve seldom seen covered in fiction."

Elisa and John decide to send their children to safety in the United States. Its 1940. Bombs are exploding on a nightly basis leaving the newlywed couple without a home. There are still many Jewish refugees left in England who are in great danger and desire to escape to America. Elisa and two of her friends choose to make the risky journey to America with Jewish refugee children, continuing her father’s mission to rescue children from Hitler’s grasp. As they journey across the Atlantic, Elisa and the other travelers face threats from Nazi U-Boats and the lack of food and water.

I am an unabashed World War II history buff. It is definitely one of my favorite periods to read about. The Thoenes are a household name in Christian fiction and their books have maintained popularity for decades. I enjoyed The Zion Covenant series as a college student. So I jumped at the chance to review Against the Wind when I found out it starred two of my favorite characters from The Zion Covenant series, John and Elisa Lindheim Murphy.

Against the Wind is the second installment of the Zion Diaries series. I had not read The Gathering Storm, the first book in the series, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this book. It was easy to follow the plotline. With a dramatic journey across the Atlantic and an edgy romantic thread the plot of the book was exciting and somewhat reminiscent of the movie Titanic.

The Thoenes are gifted in research. Every detail of the book was carefully added. I love the fact that Bodie and Brock added popular song lyrics of the day to the novel, “There Will Always Be An England” adds powerful impact to the novel as bombs explode where Elisa is practicing and later as it is sung on the boat.

While the plot was exciting, I felt the character development was not as strong as in the Thoene’s Zion Covenant series. I feel like I was left hungry to learn more about the characters on a deeper level. The epistolary style is not a favorite of mine and these parts of the book often retold information from the previous series, probably helpful to those who had not read the series, but less intriguing reading for those who had.

Although I preferred the Zion Covenant series, I enjoyed the insight this book provided into the children’s escape from Britain, a topic I’ve seldom seen covered in fiction.

Julia ReffnerJulia M. Reffner is blessed to be a servant to the King, married to the love of her life, a busy homeschool mom of two young children, and owned by one shedding longhaired cat. She is enjoying working on a women’s fiction novel in her spare time. She is a reviewer for Historical Novels Review quarterly, a magazine of the Historical Novel Society. Julia can be found blogging about God, literature and life at Dark Glass Ponderings and about writing at the group blog, The Writer's Alley.