Book Chat

This month’s book reviews:

I know, I know … you’re wondering why a nice little blogger like me is reading a novel with a big ole hatchet on the cover, right?

A little history is in order. I moved here in August 1989, to teach in a small rural community. In February of that year, a man who lived just a few miles from the school where I taught had been brutally murdered, with a gun, and yes – an axe. The authorities were stumped as to who could have committed such a heinous crime. Imagine the shock when a month later, 3 boys from the local high school were charged with the crime. The main perpetrator was an honor roll student, athlete, and Sunday School teacher.

Throughout my years teaching in the town, there would often be references to this crime. I would rarely drive by the victim’s house with someone without them mentioning it. So, when good friend and commenter Leona told me that a book had been written about the crime, I thought it would be interesting to read.

Fear No Evil was – I recognized many places and names in the book, and it was a fascinating look into the hidden lives many (well, maybe/hopefully just a few) people out there are living.

Could you brutally murder someone, and then open up the local McDonald’s where you work just a few hours later? Some people could.


I’ll have to say I’m not normally real big into romance fiction. However, when I saw this book, the WWII era kind of won me over, and I had to try it.

I’m glad I did. A Distant Melody is published by Christian Publisher Revell, and is a very sweet story about  rich young Allie, apparently destined to marry her dad’s stodgy business partner, and a sweet, aw-shucks young pilot who has never had a girlfriend but is smitten once he meets Allie.

I liked a lot of things about the main characters. First of all, despite their dashing appearance on the cover, in the book they’re described as rather homely. This was a nice contrast to all the strikingly beautiful heroes and heroines who normally seem to populate fiction (hey we can’t all be Miss America, ya know). Additionally, I liked Allie and Walt’s shy natures and their love of music (“Allie” is actually short for Allegra).

You can probably guess that despite numerous obstacles, Allie and Walt do end up together in the end. In the meantime, you’ll enjoy learning about Allie’s life volunteering with the Red Cross and searching for a church more meaningful than her parents’ society-pleasing one, and you’ll be thrilled by Walt and his crew as they drop bombs over the European landscape.

The whole novel is just so gosh-darn nice and sweet – yes, I’m aware I’ve used the word “sweet” way too many times already in this review. I found myself wondering if the ’40s were really that wholesome, or whether this was just – well – fiction.

Either way, A Distant Melody is a very nearby escape. Recommended.

More book reviews over at 5 Minutes for Books.

15 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. A Distant Melody sounds like a great read! As for Fear No Evil…wow. It must have been interesting to compare the rumors to the book.

  2. I did not like the HP series at first…no one will believe that seeing how enthralled I am with them now lol. My mom was in a book club and bought my son the series in hardback and I would read it to him in homeschool…I couldn’t pronounce the names and didn’t even understand what was going on. Finally my dh convinced me to watch the movies and the lightbulb went on so to speak. Now each time I reread a book I find some new tidbit to love. Thanks for stopping by my post!

  3. I hate to admit this, but my son is enthralled with true crime stories so I may have to find the axe one! I was surprised to be rivited by Colombine–I even had it as my possible “must read book of the year” last year. Sometimes it does us good to break out of our reading ruts.

  4. Ok, yes, I was wondering about the Fear No Evil. BUt that’s because I have a morbid fascination of my own with true crime stories. It’s hard to read and it’s also rather incomprehensible that people are capable of such things.

    Thanks for linking up!

  5. That is, your review of Fear No Evil sent shivers up my spine. I haven’t read it. (Although I might just have to now.)

  6. If I read “Fear No Evil” I’d probably not sleep at night. That one, I’m pretty sure I won’t read.

  7. I will have to look for A Distant Melody. This love reading fiction set during WW II.

  8. Yikes–I would be compelled to read that book, too, even though the story is gruesome. I’d only read it in daylight though. ha. Enjoy!

  9. Holy cow on the FNE book– how surreal it must have been to be able to connect to references in the book about place and people. All I can say is holy cow!!

  10. I have seen A Distant Melody all around book blogs lately. I am going to have to read it. Thanks for sharing your list.

  11. You asked how I liked Cherries in Winter. I ended up not reviewing it because I couldn’t be very positive about it. I have to agree with you. She definitely had a “poor me” attitude. I think she should have just written about her grandma and left her story out of it!

  12. There is a strange fascination when you know people involved in these horrible crimes and can’t believe they were capable. There was a group of boys here that called themselves Lords of Chaos, and they killed the local band director, among other crimes. One of them was in the band, consoling other students after the murder. We knew some of them and knew people who knew others, and it was very weird.

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