The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy 3) | From My Bookshelf Review
Truth be told, this isn't so much a proper review as an "I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYONE WHO CAN APPRECIATE A GOOD LOVE STORY" keyboard shout! :)
In the midst of a global war, two forsaken souls search for personal peace.
In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers' betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for -- fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.
Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family -- the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.
After Clay saves Leah's life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-Day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay's recurring dream comes true?
My Thoughts (aka Personal Recommendation)
I'm going to try hard not to gush over this book. But seriously, The Land Beneath Us, the final book in the Sunrise Over Normandy trilogy, has it all. Breathtakingly accurate WWII fiction. Characters that made off with my heart instantly. Spot-on truths about love, romance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. A marriage of convenience. Sibling relationships. And all the emotions of a great story.
I firmly believe that stories like this one, celebrating true love, reflect the Greatest Love Story between Christ and His bride (to steal a phrase from Maribeth of A Writer's Tale).
So, here are the reasons you should make this book your next fictional read!
1. Leah. She is one of those darling heroines that stole my heart from the very beginning. Her tender and wise counsel and love toward others, including Clay, convicted me more than once. I loved her tiny-but-mighty air in the face of adversity. She's someone that I wish I could be friends with in real life.
2 Clay. He is definitely my favorite out of the Paxton brothers. He's honorable and self-sacrificing and dreamy. He's not perfect, and his growth is well-portrayed, but he's a big reason I would hand this book to a daughter one day and say, "Here's a good story that talks about what you should look for in a man, honey." And he's a US Army Ranger on D-Day. Duh.
3. Remember that marriage of convenience I mentioned? It's really more like a marriage of selfless love. My hat is off to Sarah Sundin for the way she crafted the perfect foundation of Christ-like, 1 Corinthians 13 love in this story, then let sweet, passionate love blossom. I have a soft spot for married people falling in love. I can't say much else about the beautiful heart of this story -- you'll have to find out for yourself!
4 I loved the way this book ties together the Paxton family saga. If you haven't read the other two books about Clay's brothers Wyatt and Adler, it's okay... each book explains enough to stand alone. But reading all three adds a whole new level, and the ending was perfect.
5. The historical accuracy is amazing. Every time I read a Sarah Sundin book, I truly feel like I'm stepping back in time. Her research of 1943 culture is impeccable, and the days surrounding D-Day feel so real. (Fun fact: Sarah is the queen of Pinterest, and each of her novels boasts it's own historical era board! Check them out here!)
6. Do you think about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation? It's actually an important one, and I loved how it is woven into this story!
7. Made it all this way and still not convinced? Well, bottom line, it's just plain sigh-worthy and earned its place on my shelf. The End.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.*