I think all of the Kim Vogel Sawyer’s books I have read thus far occupy a pretty narrow time frame around the late mid-to-late 19th century. I find it really interesting and brave that she journeyed not only into the 20th century but all the way to World War II for Sweet Sanctuary. The setting and the unique family situation Lydia enjoys – mothering a child left in her care by a friend – really made this book feel larger and more ambitious than a lot of Christian fiction novels, and I am thankful for that.
As someone who reads a great many novels and true story accounts of World War II, Holocaust survivors, and Holocaust sufferers, I appreciated the author’s decision to tackle these issues in a deeper way than a nod to atrocities of war in general. I haven’t read many Christian fiction books (and I have read scores over the past few years) where other faiths, such as Judaism or Catholicism are mentioned, except in passing. To have Jews present, discussed, and treated respectfully in this work is phenomenal.
Amidst the discussion of these details, a wonderful story of love rising above self-doubt about life’s path and the glory of learning to let go of control emerges on Lydia’s side of the story, while Dr. Micah’s story serves briefly as a cautionary tale for speaking your mind fully even if you must let it be known that what you are saying may not be acted upon right away. If you love someone let them know, even if you can’t be together immediately.
There is also a larger portion of the book that deals with custody issues stemming from Lydia’s parenting arrangement and the reemergence of a morphine-addicted father. Again, I give Kim Vogel Sawyer kudos for treating an addict with respect and not painting with a wide brushstroke to create a villain that will be sustained from page one to completion.
All of that makes it sounds like this is a busy enough book to be the length of Gone with the Wind, but it isn’t and the flow works out very well in the pages allotted the book. This would be a really uplifiting beach book or a great one for a commute.
Disclosure I read an advance eGalley of this volume.