“WHAT HAPPENED TO BRIGITTE BERTHOLD?
The question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.
Now a wealthy old man, Daniel’s final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby’s tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons—and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel’s lawyer, Lucas Hough—the lure of Brigitte’s story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.”
The novel Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson is a historical fiction novel with strong themes that speak of the Christian romance genre. This book mainly addresses the heart-wrenching aches of abandonment, and seeks to satisfy the longing for redemption, reconciliation, and reunion.
A couple of things that made this book enjoyable for me as a reader:
The first thing is the plot structure. I really appreciated how the different threads woven throughout the story ended up being connected in the end. While it seemed too neat of a connection at times, I still think it’s cool that there were no loose ends, every puzzle piece fit at the conclusion, even though the threads all seemed separate in the beginning.
The second was that there was heartache, scandal, and pain. What I mean by this is that there is sometimes a stereotype of Christian fiction that it presents itself as unrealistic: the stories aren’t as messy as real life. And yet Dobson did a brilliant job of including broken marriages, affairs, unforgiveness, betrayal, and other difficult themes to give the story the depth of reality.
The third thing was the history. The historic aspects of the story were really educational. I learned a ton about the London Blitz and about the tragedy faced by so many during the war. I was totally unaware of the existence of Hutchinson Camp, smack dab in the middle of Douglas, on the Isle of Man. Throughout my primary education, I hadn’t been really informed of all of England’s part in the war, and Dobson successfully piqued my interest in this part of world history.
A couple of things that made this book difficult for me as a reader:
The first thing was the writing. There was a lot of telling but not a lot of showing. I didn’t feel like I had to work to figure out the story because all of my questions were answered for me through Dobson’s exposition laid out in Quenby’s mind. I think that if Dobson put more of what Quenby was thinking into dialogue with the other characters, it would’ve been a more challenging read. As in, I would be having to figure out Quenby’s wounds and difficulties and values instead of her just telling me everything, and in the end, when Dobson would seek to expose big things about Quenby, I would’ve either enjoyed my success at “figuring out” Quenby, or I would’ve grown through my misinterpretation. There were also several times when the point of view shifted that were awkward and distracting because the shift was inconsistent.
The second thing was Lucas and Quenby’s relationship. I don’t feel like two weeks together was enough time for them to bring in romantic love, at least not when it seemed like Quenby was meant to seem so averse to getting close to anyone…I feel like Lucas would’ve had to work a lot harder. Also, there were times when Quenby thought through how she didn’t care about Lucas’s opinion, or stated that he’d have to gain her trust, or mentioned that he was annoying and that there was nothing between them, and these thoughts came up really often, as if Quenby were convincing herself of them as well as trying to convince the reader, when, in reality, the very fact that convincing was needed suggested that the opposite was true: she likes Lucas from the beginning, she doesn’t find him annoying, she’s trusting and depending on him already and freely.
The third thing was the presence of faith. I don’t feel like faith carried as much weight in the story as Dobson desired. While the gospel of Jesus Christ was brought in at both the most heart-wrenching and the most casual of moments in the book, faith didn’t really seem that important to any of the characters. Brigitte seemed to be the most faith-driven character in the book, and yet we’re not privy to her relationship with Jesus before she gets to England. I feel like for some characters the presence of faith in their lives could’ve been removed and nothing would have changed. If Dobson’s intention was to make faith central to the book, then I would’ve appreciated seeing more of the small ways Quenby and Lucas operated out of their relationship with Christ, and more of the big ways they sought to obey Him. I think I wanted their faith to be central to their lives, when it didn’t seem that way at all, but came off more as seeing Jesus as their Savior, but not necessarily as their Lord.
Despite the criticisms, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a wild journey through the history of friendship between two old souls, for a realistic look at the suffering of war victims, and a walk through the transformation of being wounded and then finally, after so long, being healed.
About the Author:
“Writing historical and time-slip fiction is really just an excuse for Melanie Dobson to explore ghost towns, interview fascinating people, and spend hours reading old books and journals.
Melanie is the award-winning author of fifteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels. Three of her novels, Chateau of Secrets, The Silent Order and Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, have received Carol Awards, The Black Cloister was named the ForeWord Religious Fiction Book of the Year, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won best “Fiction of Indiana”.
Melanie met her husband, Jon, in Colorado Springs, but since they’ve been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times with Jon’s work including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. Along with their two daughters, Karly and Kiki, they now enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific, and they enjoy serving together with the orphan care ministry in their church.Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master’s degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, she was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and the owner of Dobson Media Group.
When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys teaching fiction writing, line dancing, and reading historical novels.”
If you’re interested in knowing more about this author, behold, I present thee with a link to her blog 🙂