and stay tuned for War of Loyalties news at the end
Book Synopsis (official)
England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action. Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth. The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.
I love this book so much. Tracy Groot writes from a deep well of creativity, thoughtfulness, and historical accuracy. Her book is chock full of history--from the perspective of the soldiers fleeing their way to Dunkirk, to the life of people at home in Britian during the war. I love the British culture that brims over into all her chapters (pablum and tea, and stiff-upper-lip), and the characters full of rich personality. Murray struggles with Asberger's and has to constantly make his mind think in a logical sequence instead of wandering--but in the midst of his pain, he finds joy as he gives the world the cartoons of Rocket Kid and Salamander. Mrs. Shrewsbury, retired schoolteacher, finds fresh strength to serve and give to her nation, while wielding teakettles against a Burglar Vicar. William Percy is eaten up with his anger at Hitler exterminating disabled children, and finds Claire's ability to put his feelings into words heart-stirring. Tracy's writing is full of deep creativity, richness, and subtlety.
Perhaps the other theme that stood out so deeply in this book was the theme of the shatterer coming against Britain--and the power of prayer to hold it back. Claire and Percy--neither of them religious, but both full of kindness--encounter the prospect of the majority of the British Army trapped under German gunfire. They join the nation in a call to prayer--and realize that perhaps there is a God, and prayer is the greatest weapon to stand against this huge shattering destruction looming over their land (Nahum 2:1).
The other point of view--Jamie, a soldier who is assigned to get a wounded captain to Dunkirk is also full of richness. The character of the captain--a man who is wounded, has lost his men, and can only speak with lines of Milton's Paradise Lost--is also righ with emotion. As Jamie learns to get past the incessant Milton, he and his comrades find strength and inspiration from the lines that seem so random, but might not actually be random after all. Fyi, his chapters contain some crude language (this book has a fair amount of it, but it's British swearing, and some readers might not consider it language).
This is historical fiction at its best--rich, packed with history, original, full of lovable characters slowly finding the power of prayer to stand against a huge enemy. It was a theme that resonated with me. While this book contains language, and there were a couple of plot lines that I would have preferred wrapped up tighter, this is a hands-down favorite, and I look forward to reading it with my mom and sister in the near future. This is truly a story you won't want to miss. I can't wait to read more of Tracy Groot's books in future. They make me happy to the core of my historical-fiction loving soul.
Check out more here:
Tyndale Media Center page for The Maggie Bright
The Maggie Bright on Goodreads
Tracy Groot on Goodreads
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale. All opinions expressed are my own.
(And now for a random WoL update, which has no connection/endorsement from this book.)
Upcoming WoL News
If you haven't heard of it yet, Tuesday I announced that War of Loyalties is in the process of being published this year. I've been working on paperwork and getting together details for independent publishing so that it can come to print in 2017. God has been so gracious in working out the details thus far, and I'm trusting him to work out the rest--including, what I am very excited to announce, is an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. In traditional publishing, the publisher pays for the editor and cover design. In independent publishing, the author pays for it out of pocket. I've already covered some of the costs, but I'm praying the Lord will help provide the rest through this campaign and the help of people who love history, Dickensian fiction, and indie authors. I would be so honored if you would check out the Kickstarter launching very soon. It will have exciting rewards (including copies of the book) for everyone who generously teams up with me to make this effort happen.
It takes a village to write a book, and I am so grateful to all of you who have expressed excitement for this project. Thank-you so much! Find out three ways you can help make this project happen on Tuesday, on the blog. And if you have any questions about War of Loyalties, the story, or the process, I would love to hear from you! Reach me on Twitter, Facebook, or ladybibliophileblog[at]gmail[dot]com!