Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Review: "The Land Beneath Us" by Sarah Sundin

Wow, did I have a great reading weekend or what?!? On Friday, I finished up Jessica Kate's romantic comedy A Girl's Guide to the Outback (see my review here), and then I spent hours on Saturday and Sunday reading The Land Beneath Us. Both books were wonderful!

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the U.S. 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?

Without fail, a Sarah Sundin book makes my yearly "favorite reads" list. I loved the first two books in her Sunrise at Normandy series. And, to top it off, I learned that The Land Beneath Us would feature a marriage of convenience, my favorite romance trope of all time. So you could say my expectations going into the novel were just a *tad* high 🤣.

Sundin knocked it out of the park.

From the moment I met each of them, I loved Leah and Clay. While they each had issues to work through, they were just so likable! Also, once again Sundin has written "me" into one of her novels. When I read The Sky Above Us, I saw myself in Violet, and here, I see myself in Clay's "older brother" tendencies. It can be a little disconcerting to find a reflection of yourself in a novel, especially when it's not a favorable one! But I also appreciate the nudge to examine my own relationships and walk with Christ.

The marriage of convenience aspect of this novel is unusual, as Clay and Leah marry right before his unit leaves Camp Forrest, so their relationship progresses largely through letters. Those letters united them as their journeys continued separately throughout most of the book—and I found that I didn't mind that separation, as both storylines were incredibly interesting!

As the third and final book in the Sunrise at Normandy series, The Land Beneath Us wraps up the Paxton brothers' stories. While you could read this book without reading the others, I'd say that they're best read in order—especially since the novels run concurrently to each other, with each subsequent novel progressing a little further in time. This whole series is just wonderful, and The Land Beneath Us is my favorite of the three. I can't wait to see what Sundin comes up with next! 5 stars.

Buy the book (affiliate link).
Read my reviews of Sundin's The Sea Before Us (5 stars) and The Sky Above Us (5 stars), her Waves of Freedom novels Anchor in the Storm (5 stars), Through Waters Deep (5 stars), and When Tides Turn (5 stars); her Wings of the Nightingale series With Every Letter (5 stars), On Distant Shores (5 stars), and In Perfect Time (5 stars); and her Wings of Glory book Blue Skies Tomorrow (5 stars).

Sarah Sundin is the author of the Waves of Freedom, the Wings of the Nightingale, and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California.Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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