Historical Fiction Book Review: Until We Find Home
Publisher's Description"For American Claire Stewart, joining the French Resistance sounded as romantic as the storylines she hopes will one day grace the novels she wants to write. But when she finds herself stranded on English shores, with five French Jewish children she smuggled across the channel before Nazis stormed Paris, reality feels more akin to fear.
With nowhere to go, Claire throws herself on the mercy of an estranged aunt, begging Lady Miranda Langford to take the children into her magnificent estate. Heavily weighted with grief of her own, Miranda reluctantly agrees . . . if Claire will stay to help. Though desperate to return to France and the man she loves, Claire has few options. But her tumultuous upbringing―spent in the refuge of novels with fictional friends―has ill-prepared her for the daily dramas of raising children, or for the way David Campbell, a fellow American boarder, challenges her notions of love. Nor could she foresee how the tentacles of war will invade their quiet haven, threatening all who have come to call Bluebell Wood home and risking the only family she’s ever known.
Set in England’s lush and storied Lake District in the early days of World War II, and featuring cameos from beloved literary icons Beatrix Potter and C. S. Lewis, Until We Find Home is an unforgettable portrait of life on the British home front, challenging us to remember that bravery and family come in many forms."
I am a reader, and I adore books. While most books I read are truly wonderful, every now and then I am thrilled to discover that I am reading a book that is so much more than wonderful. My heart soars when I realize that I am in fact reading a book that surpasses almost all others in its scope and artistry. My soul cannot contain the joy that comes from being swept into a book that is so achingly beautiful, so desperately touching, and so utterly unforgettable. Until We Find Home, by Cathy Gohlke, is just such a book. It is the kind of book that must be savored and shared and reread as often as possible.
Until We Find Home is most certainly a rare and precious contribution to the world’s treasury of literature. English manor houses, bucolic farms, quaint villages, and secret gardens allow the story to grow richly from the landscape of its British setting even amidst the incessant uncertainty of life during WWII. The well-developed characters are simply captivating and abound with authenticity and credibility. Their questions, their insecurities, their fears, their needs, and their desires are wholly believable, heart-wrenching, and inspiring. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them there unfolds a story that is thoroughly enriching and endearing. The thematic rivulets of loss, redemption, love, and family that flow purposefully throughout the narrative flood this novel with hope, relevance, and meaning.
I cannot write enough kind thoughts about this novel. When I finished the last page and closed the cover, I found myself holding the book against my chest in a grateful embrace. The smile of satisfaction upon my lips was sincere. As a reader, I desire to learn, to grow, to be challenged, to be comforted, to be entertained, and to be inspired. Until We Find Home is a book that easily fulfilled each of those desires leaving me in awe of how much Ms. Gohlke was able to accomplish with mere words on paper. It is with a full and thankful heart that I recommend it enthusiastically to all readers everywhere.
When historical fiction takes ideas and experiences from the past and makes them accessible and relevant today, it becomes a powerful and transformative reading experience that touches my heart and mind beyond mere entertainment. This book, so rich with the themes of love and loss, rejection and acceptance, fear and courage, and desires and callings, has impressed upon me the necessity and the inspiration to pursue compassion in my daily living and in my interactions with others. This novel tenderly emphasized that we as individuals need others more than we realize in order to be whole and to thrive. Through the challenges and hardships experienced by the characters and the profound nature of their personal and spiritual growth throughout the novel, I was reminded that each one of us has a story to share, and each one of us has a purpose to pursue. Like the characters in this book, I hope that I too am brave enough to turn trials into opportunities to shine God’s love brightly wherever darkness and despair may linger.