Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Somewhere A Song: Follow-Up to Pella's "Written on the Wind"

Somewhere A Song, the sequel to Judith Pella's Written on the Wind, begins immediately where the last book ended. Soon all three Hayes daughters--Cameron, Blair, and Jackie--hear the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor -- December 7, 1941. Cameron has just returned to the Soviet Union; Blair has been living in the Philippines for a few weeks; and Jackie continues her life in Los Angeles. The story covers events of the next six months, until June 1942.

Though the book opens and closes on Cameron's life, Blair's story is the most exciting and developed one. After all, as Cameron knows too, the action is now in the Pacific. Blair matures through her hardships, as she faces evacuation from Manila, separation from Gary due to the war, and then a rough lifestyle in the wilderness of the Philippines. Later she and some friends live for a while with Christian missionaries in a remote area. The once-spoiled "glamour girl" learns to survive by depending on God, noting that He always provides others to help her along.

Cameron, meanwhile, has changed her attitude from religious indifference to outright hostility. Her harsh attitude poses irreconcilable differences with Alex--her recent romantic interest--and his new-found Christian faith. The story of Cameron's Russian half-brother is developed more, with a few tantalizing clues for Cameron as well as the reader -- again to await further development in the next book. As in the first book, Cameron's American journalist and Russian friends are back in their minor roles, including the Fedorcenko family. Fans of Pella's "The Russians" series can appreciate these minor characters in this new "Daughters of Fortune" series, with a glimpse at the later years of Anna Yevnovna, her son and grandchildren.

Jackie's story is again too brief (another excellent storyline), but includes more of her relationship with a Japanese-American man, Sam, and a surprising outcome. As hostilities increase in California, towards Japanese after Pearl Harbor, Jackie and Sam must decide what's most important in their lives. This part of Somewhere A Song also discusses the internment camps for Japanese-Americans, a subject also dealt with in another recent Bethany House historical novel (All the Way Home, by Ann Tatlock).

Somewhere A Song is another excellent addition to Judith Pella's "Daughters of Fortune" series. Building on the events from the first novel, it continues several interesting plot developments. Again, several story elements are left hanging, for the reader to eagerly await the next book.

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