by Tricia Goyer
From Dust and Ashes, 463 pages
Night Song, 512 pages
Dawn of a Thousand Nights, 509 pages
Arms of Deliverance, 313 pages
Moody Publishers, 2003 through 2005
Because we’re out of town, I thought this would be a good time to repost recommended reads from one of my earlier blog sites.
Tricia Goyer was unknown to me, but after stumbling onto her blog—which I read for several months—I decided to take a chance on her historical novels. Since these books were published, Goyer has added to her body of work, but today I’m going to look at her first series. They're a group of four novels with unrelated story lines—yet connected because all take place during World War II.
While this post doesn’t actually provide reviews—I’m covering too much territory for that—I definitely recommend them. As historical novels set in an important time frame, they're intense and enjoyable.
From Dust and Ashes: A Story of Liberation begins as American troops discover the horrors of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. Central character is the abandoned wife of a corrupt SS officer. Other characters include the young woman’s father who actively participated in the resistance, an American GI, and a concentration camp survivor who returns to Poland after her release to minister the gospel of Jesus.
Night Song: A Story of Sacrifice features a young Jewish violin prodigy—and his violin—interred in Mauthausen. Other important characters include a beautiful member of the Austrian resistance, an American GI, and an obsessed Nazi officer. Only one character overlaps the two books.
Dawn of a Thousand Nights: A Story of Honor takes place primarily in the Pacific arena. Scenes from the Bataan Death March are riveting, and some pilots are moved to work camps within Japan before the war is over. But the subplot is interesting, too. Did you know a select few female pilots flew troops to various destinations within the US during the war? The protagonists open the story in Hawaii and close it when they come together in the Pacific Northwest.
Finally, Arms of Deliverance: a Story of Promise is primarily about two American reporters with competing interests—but who become key supporters for each other in the clutch. It also features an American GI. And there’s the beautiful Czech Jewess who passes for Aryan, dates a Nazi, becomes pregnant and is sent to a Nazi breeding camp.
Goyer’s strength is her attention to historic detail. When details intrigued me, I looked them up and the facts were accurate. On her site, I learned she researched by interviewing GI’s who experienced the specific events.
I can't say I enjoyed reading passages focused on an evil Nazi in Night Song, This was also true of her description of life in the death camp before and after liberation as well as the death march and life in a Japanese prison. But I knew these aspects of the story were essential for understanding. It’s not fun to read about ugly.
And you've probably guessed by the presence of the beautiful young women and the American GIs that these books are also romantic novels. Goyer's story lines are seamless; she brings history into the lives of believeable people. While her characters are not her strong point, they are more than adequate. Anything more might have distracted.
Goyer expanded my understanding of specific aspects of the Great War, and she gave me appreciation for how the pressures of living in fear and horror will bend and tear at the human soul. The Christian message comes through loud and clear through the lives of the characters. She lets God do His thing—nothing feels contrived or preachy in order to appeal to a Christian audience.
I have not received compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements in Advertising."