When Twilight Breaks is my first read by Sarah Sundin. I love historical fiction and in that arena the story did not disappoint. I appreciate that history is not muted for the sake of the reader. Too often, “so as not to offend the sensibilities” of “Christian readers” authors will remove important details or even key parts of the story. Sundin is willing to face the atrocities of the time period head on. A story set in war-time Germany warrants an accurate telling of the history and also of what the characters would really be like, what they’d be thinking and participating in, and how that causes them to interact with the world. Sundin has a nice balance of story, character development, and history. Evelyn is a female American foreign correspondent and her counterpart in the story Peter is an American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Their paths cross and their views and experiences lend itself to a tumultuous and interesting relationship that accompanies the complex and horrific time in history.
I appreciate that both Peter and Evelyn seem to have true-to-history perspectives, albeit they are very different. This also made the story a bit challenging to read as it so mirrors how people are viewing and experiencing our current climate, societal issues, and the vast chasm between differing views. I appreciate that Sundin makes an attempt at telling this story in a way that almost parallels today. If we can’t learn from history we are certainly doomed to repeat it.
The characters themselves develop a tumultuous relationship and I found myself a bit frustrated at first with their lack of open mindedness to how the other felt or by their lack of desire to understand each other. But, it was accurate in many senses. Peter and Evelyn’s lived experiences brought two very different conclusions about what was happening in the world around them and to what they viewed as the solution. One believing freedom was the answer, the other order. This dichotomy made for an interesting plot evolution in terms of the pair’s relationship.
I will admit I found it hard to get in the story at first despite be very intrigued initially by the characters. I am grateful to have completed it despite wondering if I would. There were some unexpected moments in the story, but what I felt the most thrilling was seeing the characters’ evolution as they learned and finally opened up to each other. It is one of the most powerful things we can do, to listen to each other in order to better understand. While Evelyn and Peter didn’t agree, they could understand each other and ultimately that understanding led to a beautiful relationship. I think we can learn from this underlying message in the story.
There are several other minor characters that provided depth to the story and to the main characters themselves and I always appreciate when I enjoy the minor characters as much as the protagonist and antagonist. The faith component was present and entwined in a realistic way. I think many can relate to the mindset that the characters have of “we can do it [on our own]” and find that in seasons of our life we only turn to God in crisis. To have Evelyn and Peter learning, in a simple way, how to incorporate God and faith into their daily lives, was done with time and opportunity not just some LARGE life event. This makes the faith and spiritual experience both realistic and encouraging. It felt genuine and true to what I have experienced in my own life. God working in steadfast, faithful ways to grow my heart and produce fruit in my life.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country–or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed–and wake up the folks back home.
In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.
This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.
Thanks to Revell for a copy of the story. I shared my own, honest opinions here simply because I love to read and love sharing new stories and authors with all of you. Thanks for following along, let me know if you have any questions or if you snag the book what you liked about it!