Delightful Characters, Wonderful Setting
In Times Like These by Gail Kittleson is a fantastic Christian historical read. the book is set in Iowa between December 1941 and spring 1943 and it follows the fortunes of young wife Addie.
The descriptions of Addie’s farm and countryside are so well depicted that the book really comes to life. For the reader it is less about reading and more about walking through the novel.
Addie is wonderfully drawn and captures the reader’s heart immediately. She is a gentle young woman married to Harold who verbally bullies her mercilessly. “Those taunts stole her peace.” Addie spends her life in fear, fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Addie has let Harold’s words and labels define her. Gail Kittleson shows how important it is that we do not live in the shadows of the words and labels that others give us. We have a God Who loves us and does not want us to live in fear. “I’ve spent my whole life in fear instead of living each day.” Addie needs to realise she is more than the words spoken over her, she is a child of the living God.
The novel emphasises the need to be patriotic in times of war. “All across the nation, people of all ages joined together to support the war effort.” There are many ways to help the war effort but Harold is blinkered, he wants to fight. Each time he is turned down, Harold becomes more angry. The need to be a soldier consumes him. He refuses to see farming as useful to the war effort. In his frustrations, Harold lashes out at others.
There is the theme of power and strength within the novel. “The thing he (Harold) cared most about was power.” For Harold, power means putting others down but true power lies in strength of character. Addie faces each day believing she is worthless, but she has great power and strength of character. It takes courage for Addie not to crumble. She is stronger than she thinks.
Gail Kittleson shows the need for true friends in the book. Addie and Kate formed a strong friendship at school. They will support each other across the years and across the miles. Their letters unite them. Their friendship is vital. No-one should go through life alone.
World War I veteran Norman is bedridden and Addie visits him. A friendship forms in spite of the age difference. Addie loves hearing Norman’s tales. Norman sees the vulnerability in Addie and “motivated her to believe in herself.”
Within the novel is the theme of carpe diem. “Don’t have t’know everything about the future to do somethin’ today… Wish I’d known that back then.” Too often people waste a lifetime waiting for the perfect moment. Don’t do that, seize the day! Advice that is even more important in times of war.
All the characters were well drawn and just waiting for the reader to get to know them. I loved meeting George who delivered and collected the mail, and Jane who loved tending her garden. My personal favourite was Addie, but then the novel is written from her viewpoint. I am really hoping for a sequel as I feel quite bereft to leave the characters behind.
This was my first novel by Gail Kittleson but I want more! Gail Kittleson writes with such attention to detail and created such delightful characters that I believe she could be the next Jan Karon. I got the same feeling of liking and caring for the characters as I get for those in Jan Karon’s Mitford. I think there is a long running series to be written!
Absolutely wonderful book. Give yourself a treat and download a copy today. You will be glad you did.
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. No monetary compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.
Thank you so much, Julia for this great review of Gail’s book. I am going to put this one in my Kindle library and on my Must Read list right away! j