Release Date: April 24, 2018
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. This did not affect my rating and my review is provided voluntarily.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker's three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about "wolf packs" of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone's throw from Grace's window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store.
Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be, but someone else entirely - someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.
After reading Sophia's review of Tides of Honour (@Delighted Reader), I determined that Genevieve Graham was an author I needed to read. There were several reasons for this: 1) Her story seemed well written and she crafted fully-realized characters, and 2) The setting is Canada (Nova Scotia, specifically) and Ms. Graham tells stories set during Canadian history that I'm unfamiliar with and curious about as well as writing about the Acadian people whom I'm also unfamiliar with and curious about. So when Ms. Graham contacted me asking if I'd be interested in Come from Away, I was giddy! And I was also not disappointed.
Come from Away is set in Nova Scotia with WWII as the backdrop. It revolves around the Baker family, their life in the small fishing town of East Jeddore, and how the war affects them. It delves into perceptions, feelings, and emotions experienced when loved ones are far away fighting and everything you read or hear about the enemy paints them *all* as monsters.
Grace has stayed home to tend to her family and her hometown via working at the general store. She struggles with this decision, uncertain if she's doing her part for the war effort. She'd really like for things to return to normal - where one of her biggest concerns would be her brothers teasing her over her impending spinsterhood. When the town holds a dance, Grace meets a young man who makes her heart race and as she later gets to know him, he challenges her preconceived notions and perceptions - makes her consider her own prejudices and those of he neighbors.
Rudi arrives in East Jeddore on a mission and stays by way of a twist of fate. He grew up very differently than Grace. He was raised to feel a nationalistic pride unlike most. But the things he's seen and experienced at home and during the war make him question what he was taught. Rudi is forced to make difficult decisions and must learn to deal with the perceptions about himself and his countrymen. He must figure out a way to prove that in his heart, he's a good man.
The ways in which Ms. Graham dealt with the ugliness of war and he feelings he war evoked - the pride of country and the hatred towards the enemy on both sides - was masterful. Especially in that she used those who'd seen war, those currently fighting, to impart logic and reason upon a subject that seemingly has none. Watching as Grace fought against her prejudices to embrace her feelings for Rudi, how she and her family had to deal with a community who would persecute their own over the biases created by war was gut-wrenching and heartwarming. Ms. Graham illustrated the triumph of humanity over war in this story. It's a beautiful, timely, and brilliantly rendered story. And one that made me a fan of Ms. Graham's storytelling abilities. I'll be reading more for certain.