Romance and Drama, Forties Style: Blue Skies Tomorrow (Review and Giveaway)

Renee Ann Smith —  August 25, 2011 — 50 Comments

Love the clothes!

UPDATE: A winner of the August Amazon Gift Card Giveaway has been emailed! Congrats, Renee C!

I should have been born in the 40’s. I love the clothes, the music, the movies. Yes, it was a harrowing period in our history. But a world at war laid bare the issues most important in life, and the times invited people to rise to new challenges. Those who did astounded themselves, and the world, by what they were able to accomplish. They are now called The Greatest Generation.

When I want to visit the 40’s time period, I know I can count on author Sarah Sundin to take me there. Sarah captures the essence of those years in her three-book series, Wings of Glory. This trilogy follows the lives of the Novak brothers, Jack, Walt, and Ray. The last book, Blue Skies Tomorrow, tells Ray’s story.

Ray has a preacher’s heart. He loves nothing better than to teach, counsel, and comfort the folks God brings his way. When lovely Helen Carlisle crosses his path, he is drawn to her sweet spirit and tender heart. Helen, a war widow struggling to raise a young son, blossoms under Ray’s love and attention. However, their time together is cut short when Ray volunteers to give up his stateside assignment and fly bombing missions.

Both Ray and Helen end up fighting the important battles God brings to their separate journeys. Both, in their own way, find themselves pretending to be people they’re not in an effort to survive. And both surprise themselves as they discover the depths of courage God is able to draw from within them. The drama of each character’s story kept me turning pages until the heartwarming, supremely satisfying conclusion.

I often share how the books I read remind me of movies I’ve enjoyed. Many stories in the inspirational market remind me of old movies. Some would say what Christian books and old movies have in common is that they bypass real life to show a sanitized version of truth.

I disagree. I think these genres do take on tough problems and real life situations. But the writers do it with subtlety, restraint, and grace—as Sarah Sundin does.

Want to see what I mean? Follow this link to purchase Blue Skies Tomorrow for yourself. You’ll find yourself humming Glen Miller tunes, styling your hair with pin curls, and wishing your town had an old-fashioned soda fountain.

Sarah Sundin

You can find Sarah Sundin at this link. She writes a great blog where she shares devotionals and interesting tidbits from World War II history.

***Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of the book for me to review.

from The Best Years of Our Lives

Sarah’s series brings to mind some of my favorite classics—especially The Best Years of Our Lives, an academy award winner about three servicemen trying to piece their lives together after they return home from World War II. The movie has a tender scene where a wounded veteran (played by real life wounded vet Harold Russell) tries to convince his fiancee that he’s no longer worthy of her because of his injuries. But she won’t have it and sticks until he gives in and marries her!

Giveaway: This post is an August Giveaway Post! I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card at the end of the month. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below.

Here’s a fun extra, a recipe from the days of rationing . . .

Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake from 1940’s
1 c. Brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 c. Water
1/3 c. Vegetable shortening or lard
2/3 c. Raisins
1/2 teasp. Nutmeg
2 teasp. Cinnamon
1/2 teasp. Powdered cloves
1 teasp. Salt
1 teasp. Baking soda
2 teasp. Water
2 c. Sifted all-purpose flour
1 teasp. Baking powder
Boil brown sugar, 1 1/4 c. Water, shortening, raisins, and spices together for 3 min. Cool. Add salt and baking soda which has been dissolved in 2 teasp. Water. Gradually add the flour and baking powder which have been sifted together, beating smooth after each addition. Bake in a greased and floured 8″X8″X2″ pan in a moderate oven of 325 degrees F. About 50 minutes or until done. Needs no frosting.
The Good Housekeeping Cook Book, New edition, completely revised 1944 [Farrar & Rinehart:New York] 1944 (p. 698)

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

50 responses to Romance and Drama, Forties Style: Blue Skies Tomorrow (Review and Giveaway)

  1. I just finished a book during the second WW – rationing was so tough – one thing which stuck in my mind was an apricot tart made with pureed carrots!!!!!

    Would like to be counted in for this one!

  2. The Best Years of Our Lives is, by far, one of my favorite old movies! I only just discovered it a few years ago, but have watched it numerous times since, and I end up bawling like a big baby! 🙂

  3. I loved this book but then again Sarah’s books are always AMAZING! Great review Renee. 🙂

    XOXO~ Renee C.

  4. I love Sarah Sundin as a writer! I’m so excited this book is coming out! 🙂 please enter me to win the amazon gift card.

  5. I should have been born in that era too! I am with you as I love the movies and the music, etc. Everyone thinks I am strange to be so young but like that type of stuff, to me the music from that time was actually music..not like this stuff they have now days…blah. 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This is an amazing giveaway. I would love to win this. Thanks again.


  7. Uh oh, Sarah Sundin is an author that I haven’t read yet. From this review and the looks of the book, I think that I’ve been missing out. Another book for TBR pile. Thanks for hosting Renee!

  8. I LOVE the 40’s era and I have a picture of my grandmother during that time walking down the streets of Dallas dressed just like the girls in your picture. This story sounds precious!

  9. Great Review. I’m not familiar with this author but your review makes me want to run out and grab a copy of this book.
    Thank you.

  10. great giveaway.


  11. I love reading historical fiction and this sounds like a good read.


  12. This sounds like a great book and love your Glenn Miller story, I can hear that music playing in my head now. I was born in 40’s so lived it but as a child and life was good then but hard. Thanks for sharing about this author and book and the giv-a-way from amazon. I would like to be in your drawing. (Kyflo130 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

  13. Thanks for the review and the recipe! I may make this for my friend who is very limited regarding her dairy intake. Please enter me into this drawing! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  14. It sounds like a wonderful book. =)

  15. I’m so glad you all stopped in to visit! I love reading your comments–even when I can’t respond to everyone. Have a great weekend, ladies 🙂

    We’re getting ready for some leftover hurricane winds and rain here in upstate New York. Anyone else about to be hit?

  16. Thanks for writing this review. I have not ready any of Sarah’s books but I do love reading about the 40’s so I think I will try and pick them up.

    We also are in the hurricanes path and hoping to avoid any major damage. We are headed inland and just praying for all those staying behind.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing the book. I too love the 40’s and have learned so much from the era. They were courageous and gave so much to our country. Loved the recipe too.
    Blessings to you and keep on enjoying the moments!

  18. I really enjoyed this book and this series. My sister is anxious to read it as well since she recently discovered how much she enjoys studying Word War II.

  19. Great review. I will be reviewing this book on my blog, too! 🙂

  20. First, thank you for the invite to read your review! I am not familiar with this author but she sounds like someone I should try. I, too, enjoy the 40’s and I enjoyed your review!

  21. I have not read this author- so thanks for the introduction and great review.

  22. Oh, Renee! What a wonderful review! And I love, love, love that recipe. Well, actually it sounds gross, but it’s so typical of how wartime cooks had to improvise. I found my favorite wartime recipe at the Imperial War Museum in London – for “Mock Goose.” The ingredients include potatoes, carrots….

    And I love the reference to “The Best Years of Our Lives.” I’m having a launch party at El Campanil Theatre in Antioch CA (pictured on the book cover!) and they’re showing that movie at the party! Plus, I’ll be signing and doing giveaways. If any of you are near the SF Bay Area, hop over to my blog for details

    • Your launch party sounds wonderful, Sarah! I wish I could be there. I hope it’s a rousing success 🙂 I’ll have to content myself with watching “The Best Years of Our Lives” again over here on the east coast. Blessings!

  23. I love the older movies, I wish I could get my kids into them. I have not seen the movie that you have mentioned. But, I am homeschooling my children and when we get to the WW II era I will defiantly look for the movie to add a little something, something to their curriculum. The books sound really wonderful, I will look into getting the books.

    Thanks for the great giveaway. Also, I am a new follower and can’t wait to see what else you have in store.

    I think your blog looks amazing!


  24. I was born in 1946 but was too young to remember the 1940s. My mother did use bobby pins to make pin curls. Since I have stubbornly straight hair, the pincurls gave it a nice wave! I love old movies in the 1940s.

    Please enter me in the Amazon gift card giveaway, Thank you!

  25. I can not wait to read this book! It sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I think I will give it a try! Would love to win the gift card!

  26. Thank you for the great review. I haven’t read anything by Sarah yet but this does seem like something I would love. My grandfather was in the Navy in WW2 and I do remember some of the stories.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

  27. Sarah Sundin has written a wonderful trio of books. She has written about the “Greatest Generation”, more people need to read about this time in our history.
    The film, “The Best Years of Our Lives” was a wonderful example of returning veterans after the war. It is one of my favorites, my husband often remarked that I was born in the wrong time too!

  28. Loved your review, I also love that movie The Best Years of our Lives, and I want to try the recipe!

  29. Hi Renee! I love the 1940s too 🙂 Thanks for inviting me to participate in your giveaway, this book looks and sounds awesome 🙂

  30. Wow this is my favorite style of book I can’t wait to read it!!!

  31. Sarah’s novels are wonderful…Looking forward to reading Book 3…Your receipe sounds delicious…thanks for sharing 🙂

  32. I enjoy reading books written in this time frame. And those cookies sound great! Will have to try them.

  33. I enjoy books set in the 40’s and although I don’t know the writer, I am sure I would enjoy this as well.

    Looking at the recipe I wonder what the cake would have tasted like ?

    If the giveaway is open worldwide, I woul like to be entered.

    I am from South Africa.


    Carol T

  34. Hi Renee! Awesome post. I really like novels set during the 1940s. Yes, it was a tough time in our history, but people were also so strong and resilient. I love reading about that. And I also disagree with the stereotype that Christian authors water everything down. That can happen in any genre, whether secular or not, so that is not a good generalization to make. I found books of all kinds that gloss over things, and they are not just found in the Christian market. Sundin’s books sound awesome! I’ve never read any by her, but I think now I should. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this particular novel. 🙂


  35. FuN post Renee Ann! like the recipe inclusion ”)
    thanks for including me …

  36. Giveaways are so much fun. Also, I loved your review. I’ve been hearing such great things about this book, I’ll have to get myself a copy now.

  37. This sounds like a great book! I just added it and 3 others by Sara Sundin to my Amazon wish list for my Kindle! I look forward to reading it!

  38. Your review makes me really want to read the entire series. I’ve put Sara Sundlin on my list of authors to read.

  39. I’ve been wanting to read this book! Please enter me in your giveaway.

  40. Thanks for the giveaway! It sounds like a great read. Also, I saw a bit in Cook’s Illustrated a while back where they recreated one of these wartime cake recipes using vinegar and baking soda as a leavener when eggs were in limited supply–I believe they said it wasn’t bad, considering.

  41. cant wait to read thee book. thanks for the giveaway!
    rjs682 at yahoo dot com

  42. interesting cake recipe.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  43. The Best Years of Our Lives is one of my favorites also. I also just cry and cry by the end.

  44. I have had this book on my wishlist for a pretty good while. I think it might be time to get a copy of it. Thanks for the giveaway!

    plb1050 at gmail dot com

  45. I read your snapshot over at Blogging for Books, and thought I’d check out your blog! I was skimming your posts, and stumbled upon this one. I thought I was the only person who longed for “the olden days.” So many times, I’ve wished that I had been a young married woman in the 40s. I’d like to emulate that lifestyle even now. I’ve even looked online for old sewing patterns so I can dress like they did! But then, it dawned on me one day, as I sat there wondering why God saw fit to place me in the 21st century, that it’s probably a good thing that we’re not all satisfied with how our lifestyles are now. It’s probably good that some of us are looking backwards, trying to bring back the good things from eras long past, seeking out the old paths. If we were all pressing forward all the time, where would we be today? Great post! I enjoyed reading it!

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