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A Question of Honor (Questions of War) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 4, 2017
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This is my favorite book ever.
Okay, it’s not my absolute favorite book, but it’s among my favorite books. It’s just so good!
It gave me every (positive) emotion that exists, making me cry and laugh and jump up and down with a mixture of crying and laughing. It taught me some important truths that I honestly had trouble accepting before, and it was absolutely captivating.
One of those plots you can simply not rip your eyes away from. It was just the best ever. I never do this (because that’s what the blurb’s for), but I’m going to tell you a little about it instead of just rambling on about how amazing it is.
In the prologue, young Joyanna, a Christian Jew who ran away from Germany and is now living in war-torn France, sees her father shot by a Nazi.
Next we skip to Kansas, USA, where David Sullivan and his best friend Gil test-fly planes for the army. Both of these daring fliers decide to leave their country (against the will of the government) and join the RAF (Royal Air Force) in England. Gil is recently married to Lily (*glares at Lily* *who stole my Gil from me*) and David marries his fiancée, Elaine, before he leaves.
Back in France, merciless Nazi Erich kidnaps Joyanna after her mother and sister are taken away. He wants to use her to glean information … but Joyanna starts to steal her way into his heart … and Erich just doesn’t know how to deal with this spunky little Jew. He should hate her … but he doesn’t. Not really.
As you can see, this is one of the best plots ever. One of the reasons I loved it was because of the POVs. Each point of view was so amazing.
•Serious David, so intent upon doing the right thing but so shattered.
•Spunky Joyanna, rarely intimidated, a little trouper with such a strong faith.
•Icy cold Erich, hiding a soft side under layers of rigid formality and evil intent.
Each of these three taught me something different.
•Forgive, no matter how hard it is; don’t let bitterness take over you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
•Always keep your chin up, always keep trudging along, and never let them get the best of you … but also be kind and sweet, because that’s the Christian way.
•*gasp* There were humans behind those killing machines …
Erich’s perspective was really incredible. I just … I never thought I’d ever, ever want to get inside the head of a Nazi. Like, seriously. I have nothing against the German race (literally all my friends have German in them, so I can’t! ;) ), but … the Nazis did such horrible things.
I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to get anywhere near any of them. I couldn’t imagine that they could do what they did and still have human souls. I didn’t really think about it … I just felt it. Well, now I feel differently. Thanks, Jesseca!
Again, I don’t have words. I think I’m going to have to force myself to write just a sentence or two about a few of the main characters … because I could literally go on and on about every single one for paragraphs.
The characters in this novel are amazing. I know I’ve been using that word a lot, but they really are. They’re so real, so beautiful, so human. I feel as if I know each and every one. But I’ll try to limit myself to describing a few.
David: wow … he’s just … wow. I love the lessons he learned (I really needed to learn them myself!), I loved how he responded to every situation so realistically (though not always how he should, of course … we’re all human here!), how sweet he was with Elaine, what a good friend he was to Gil, what a good (honorary) brother he was to Lily … wow. Just wow.
Joyanna: this girl! What can I say about the perfect (fictional) child? Such a spunky little tiger. :D
Erich: I ended the book empathizing with Erich. I know, I know … he’s the “bad guy.” But that’s one of the lessons this book teachers. I’m a black-and-white (the other kind of black and white …) person myself, and I truly believe we live in a black-and-white world … but … well, us humans aren’t all bad. We’re ruled by Sin, but we’re not all bad. I still don’t believe we’re all gray … we’re either God’s children and therefore pure or not God’s children and therefore contaminated … but I don’t know. It’s one of those tricky things. I can’t really explain it.
Elaine: I know, we didn’t get to see much of her in this book … but she was really a sweet person.
Lily: her reaction when … well, I can’t tell you, but her reaction when something bad happened to her (I feel like I just gave it away … oh, well …) was amazing. I would have died. Strike that: I died! 😛 But she stayed strong, and she even found time to nurse wounded soldiers back to health! I would love to have a book about this girl, even though I bet we’re not getting one. Maybe a short story, Jesseca? From Lily’s POV? Or even Elaine? Maybe you could touch on the years we skipped between the last chapter and the epilogue? Hmm? I know you’re reading this; don’t pretend you’re not. Jesseca?! :P (Just kidding, friend; do whatever you need to do to make more amazing books with no regards to me! Writing books because your fans demand it is not really the best idea. But if you do happen to have a spark of inspiration … *nudges*)
Gil: I’m going to marry Gil when I grow up. *nods* Okay, I’m not. Even if he were a real person, he’d be married. And he lived in the 1900s and I live in the 2000s. But … if he were a real person and was unmarried and lived in my time, I would marry him, because I love him so much. *sighs* He is just … wow. He is the best book character ever. I don’t even know why I’m so obsessed with him, but I am. It’s a little unhealthy, but I’ll get over it … maybe …
Micah: he’s a lot like Gil … but there are subtle differences, too. Which is cool. It takes talent to write two similar characters and make them come out individualistic.
I don’t have much on setting, I admit, because that’s not usually what I focus on when reading unless there’s definitely something missing. Well, there definitely wasn’t something missing. ;)
Seriously, though, Miss Wheaton did an excellent job portraying the era, the places, and the people of that era and those places. I think this was probably the weakest part of the book (sometimes it was hard to remember that the European characters weren’t American, for instance), but it was still very strong (everything about this book was; I seriously believe it was God-inspired). Anyway, I can tell she researched the novel very thoroughly and knows her stuff well.
I think there was occasionally a little head-hopping between Joyanna and Erich … but otherwise, it was really smooth and easy to understand. I really enjoy Miss Wheaton’s writing style – always have. It’s light and not too complicated, but it also has great depth and emotion where depth and emotion are needed.
Violence: there’s a war going on, and it’s a pretty gruesome one, but it was handled well. Joyanna’s father is shot (not very detailed) and Joyanna’s mother and sister are dragged off to an uncertain fate (though they surely were killed). Erich hits Joyanna once with his riding whip. A couple gunshot wounds (not too detailed), blood, hospitals, planes getting shot down, a somewhat detailed death by burns, etc. Nothing graphic. The violence itself wasn’t disturbing (although younger kids would probably be disturbed by the treatment of the Jews and other non-German, even though it was only briefly mentioned, and also the wounds that people received in one way or another).
Sexual: not much. A couple mentions of pregnancy and of a baby being born (no details at all) and Elaine and David kiss a couple times (no details given), but that’s it. So … basically none.
Recommended for 14+ readers or anyone 12+ who can handle the above-described content.
This is honestly the best book I’ve read in a long time, and I can hardly wait to read book 2! Please pick up a copy … trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. It’s a must-read for any lover of great plots, beautiful Christian messages, truths about tough eras, and vivid characters.
~Kellyn Roth, @reveriesreviews.wordpress.com
Written By: Jesseca Wheaton
Genre: Historical Fiction-WWII
Recommended Ages: 13 & up for some violence
All the emotions. All the joy, horror, everything. Joyanna, David, Erich, Nadetta, the creepy Sergeant who's name is escaping me, everyone. I felt like I was right there with each of them.
When it comes to real life, words are easy to say and hard to put into practice. A couple characters in this book learn that in intense ways. Then there's Erich. The contradiction. He wants to do what's right for the SS and Germany. But he has these conflicting thoughts that make it hard to follow orders. Ms. Wheaton does a great job creating and describing both of those things.
The dialogue was at times witty and uplifting. Other times it was sad and depressing. Each time it did exactly what the story needed it to.
Even after reading the description, I didn't really know what I was in for with this book. The plot was well done, unpredictable, funny, sad, and historically accurate. I loved learning more about the Battle of Britain, Royal Air Force pilots, and the Americans that went to help England before the US joined the war.
Overall writing quality: .75/1
Even with sad books, I don't often cry. This time I did. I won't say why because it's a spoiler, but if you've read the book, you can probably guess. I felt for the characters, especially during that time. My only complaint is that the ending with Erich and Joyanna felt a bit too rushed.
I started the book, set it aside, picked it up again, set it aside, and then finished the last 2/3rds in one fell swoop. I never set it aside because it was boring. I set it aside because life got too busy. Make sure you set a good chunk of time aside when you read this book.
I've read a few Christian WWII novels over the years, but I think I can honestly say this is one of the best I have read. I can't wait to read the next book!
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