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Posted July 24, 2012
As a bit of a history buff, I eagerly anticipated the release and reading of M.L. St. Sure’s debut historical fiction novel Evensong. Set in the midst of World War II, the book chronicles the life of Christina Cross, a young girl set on achieving a better life for her and her sister, Nicolette. Born in America to an Austrian father who survived World War I, Christina travels to Europe with Nicolette after his death and gets involved in the war effort. However, trouble ensues when Nicolette is taken by the Nazis. The novel also narrates the complicated love triangle between Christina, Laurent, and Liam, with Christina attracted to Liam, a man who has a paternal attitude towards her, and Laurent highly captivated by Christina. More than anything, Evensong tells the heartbreak and bitter reality of war. I love how the book stands on its own as a unique piece of literature, giving the account of an individual’s story. It doesn’t remind me of anything I’ve read before, which helped me focus even more on Christina’s tale.
Reading this great novella was an experience. St. Sure’s convincing characterization brought the characters to life and gave them distinct personalities, I felt like I could connect with them. I liked the interaction between Christina and Nicolette, the heartwarming devotion and protective displayed. I was so immersed in the characters, details, and historical setting within the novel. While I loved the elaborate, ornate details, at times they seemed out of place or made a scene too dramatic for my taste. At the same time, the imagery added richness to the writing, a weightiness behind the words. The plot was quite interesting, but seemed to lack cohesion in stringing different facets of it together. There’s so much potential in the writing, and I enjoyed reading the novel, but found some aspects of the history imprecise. However, it didn’t spoil my overall outlook or opinion of the book.
I was quite sad to reach the end of the book, but commend M.L. St. Sure for crafting such a terrific novel. I’d definitely recommend this to people who like loosely-based historical novellas.
Posted July 22, 2012
Evensong by M.L. St. Sure is an excellent author who has put much time into researching and presenting this historical fiction. It is so well written that the reader can actually place themselves inside the story and make it come to life.
I had no problem understanding the plot. I felt once you understood the type of book that you were reading and the era, you were able to dive right into the book and not put it down until the very end.
There were several areas in the story were I could feel the real emotion, the first was when "Christina lifted her head in dismay. "Father's dead! It'll never be all right. God Almighty struck him down and he laid there in the mud." Tears gushed from her eyes and down her cheeks." There is such emotion in these few sentences, that you had to be grieving right along with Christina. How could one not feel the intense emotion of learning that "Father's dead"?
I really felt Christina had a very strong character, she was strong, determined and will to do whatever it takes to get what she wants especially when she was trying to find her sister.
The author brought such intensity into this story. You could just imagine the scenes and visualize it as if you were right there, it was like you were looking through the eyes of Christina when you entered certain areas of the book.
I was able to picture this scene, "He seemed twenty years younger when he laughed, Christina thought. His hair had turned silver and his dark eyes were not as frightening as she remembered. She scanned his ribbons and medals. He look as though he had accomplished much in his life." Each time the author puts such detail into the story, I was able to visualize what was taking place. It takes a real good author to be able to get the reader so intense on the reading that they are actually in the story flowing thru it as if they were living it.
I take my hat off to M. L. St. Sure being able to great such an intense book, and bringing out the details of the countries and the era of the war. It takes such talent to be able to produce such a great story out of such tragedy that has taken place during that time period.
I seriously recommend reading Evensong, and feel the intensity of this wonderful story and the great writings of M. L. St. Sure.
Posted July 20, 2012
This story begins with various events in the life of Christina Cross, many of which are heart wrenching. Christina does what she can to honor her father (which was killed by lightening) and take care of her family through tragic events that occur. She is a very strong and determined lady. She desires to help her family and provide the best she can for them. She soon finds herself working in a hotel providing for her mother, sister and brother. She tries to offer her love and support even if they don't realize it. Christina has a passion to sing as her father did, and uses that gift to the approval of Senator Caradine. While Senator Caradine looked at Christina as a daughter figure, she looked at him romantically. However, Laurent a gentleman seeking Christina's attention soon enters the picture causing greater confusion. This story provides much historical data of which I am typically not a fan of, but I do enjoy the storyline that follows Christina and continue to follow it at a fast reading pace.
Right in the middle of the war with trouble on every hand, Christina was told something pretty profound. "The important thing is that you keep love in your heart. Strife separates man from principle, but love mixes them together again." Later in the book we find Christina within blockhouse #7 speaking to the prisoners, encouraging them and rallying them together urging them to not lose hope in the midst of such a terrible situation. This is what one must do today when faced with difficult situations, be strong, courageous and encourage others.
The amber fossil that Christina found while on the farm with her father made it many miles, through wars and later ended up in the hands of her sister Nicolette as she drew her last breath. This is how love travels it appears. When one falls in love with someone even the ills of life can't steal the love and admiration that one has for another.
While I really enjoyed the story of Christina, I'm not much of a history buff and didn't enjoy all the details of the war, etc... however for anyone that enjoys history and war stories I'm sure you will find this a very refreshing read. There is great history concerning people, location, war, that I'm sure a history buff would find very interesting and entertaining.
I would give this book 4 of 5 stars.
Posted July 14, 2012
If you like a good historical fiction, replete with heart-pounding action, unspeakable tragedy, and unquenchable passion, M. L. St. Sure’s Evensong is worth checking into.
The story opens in America, just before WWII, where the daughter of a famous opera singer and haunted WWI veteran, Joseph, takes her family’s greatest treasure – an amber talisman – and Nicolette, her adolescent sister, away from their dysfunctional home and travels to Europe in search of their French grandfather. When World War once again plagues nations still recovering from previous disasters, the sisters find themselves struggling to survive in its deadly currents as Nicolette becomes imprisoned, and Christina fights desperately to locate and save her.
The character development and believability of Evensong are brilliant, though the story is a bit heavy on plot advancement, and a touch light on building up each new development. Even still, I quickly found myself enthralled in my disgust at the unthinkable horrors of Nazi exterminations, my love for a tale set in historically-derived settings, and a hope that Christina might somehow rescue her sister, finding some semblance of happiness and fulfillment after the torturous roads she is forced to travel.
This is not a children’s story, by any means, but I would highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction and can withstand the grief and sadness of war. The familiar elements of Evensong sharply reminded me of treasured stories like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Schindler’s List, and James Michener’s Poland, though the plot certainly retained its own brand of originality.
In my humble estimation, Evensong rates at least 4 out of 5 stars, and is well worth the purchase.
Posted July 12, 2012
Evensong is historical fiction set in the time of Hitler’s cleansing of the Jews. The story begins with Christina living on a farm with her family in Missouri. Her father, a WWI veteran, does not like to discuss the terrors of war, but his daughter wants to learn what happened in his life. She has inherited his gift of singing and is able to use that gift to help her family after her father dies.
Along the way, she meets Laurent who falls in love with her. However, Christina is in love with Liam, a father-like figure who started her on her career path. When Christina and her sister Nicolette go to Europe to visit their grandfather, Christina runs into Laurent again. He is working tirelessly to keep France free of Hitler’s reign, and Christina and Nicolette join in this pursuit.
I definitely wanted to keep reading this book to find out what happened. My favorite parts occurred during the war. The descriptions of the children and the horrors of war and injustice are heart wrenching. The author definitely draws the reader into the situation. However, she jumps from one situation to the next without enough character development in between. The book would be much better if it were longer and better developed. Readers of historical fiction would enjoy this novel, and those wanting a quick weekend read would also find it entertaining.
Posted July 12, 2012
Evensong, by M.L. St. Sure is a work of historical fiction and romance beginning in pre-war America and transitioning to war-torn Europe at the time of World War II. It is the story of a young American girl, Christina Cross, who dreams of a better life — the life her Austrian-born father and opera singer Joseph, left behind at the end of World War I. Escaping her alcoholic mother and renegade brother she takes her sister Nicolette, still a child, their father’s amber talisman and embarks on an uncertain path that ultimately takes them to Europe to find their French grandfather, the renowned Philippe Pétain, and what they hope is a better life.
St. Sure is artful with weaving the stories of the characters in this novella so they are enmeshed and yet separate in the telling of the short-lived comfort of Paris, the heartbreaking story of Hitler’s Kinderkamps and the unspeakable evil inflicted on the people of France. Hitler’s madness overtakes Europe, and as the French Maquis fervently try to rescue and hide the innocents, Christina must also try to find her young sister, Nicolette, taken prisoner by the Nazis. Handsome and driven, Laurent de Gauvion Saint-Cyr is torn between passion for Christina and his deeply-rooted love of country, as he tries to save them all from the inevitable horrors of war.
This novella is tightly-packed, too much so sometimes, for the wide and sweeping subject matter. A longer, deeper treatment would not have been unwelcome. Some of the segues are abrupt, but St. Sure’s consistent style, balanced approach and accuracy in the telling of this bittersweet tale makes for a story well worth reading.
Posted July 11, 2012
Evensong by M.L. St. Sure was an entertaining historical fiction that takes place during World War II. The story begins with Joseph Cross, a promising young opera star in Austria, giving up family, fame and fortune to fight for his country. The book then fast forwards and we find Joseph back from the war, wounded in battle and unable to ever sing again. He seeks a new life in America and ends up on a farm in poverty barely making ends meet.
Christina Cross is Joseph’s oldest child and she yearns for a better life. When Joseph dies in an accident, her mother blames her for his death. The family takes a downward spiral and Christina leaves to make a better life for all of them. She gets a job at a nearby Inn and vows to return for them all especially her younger sister Nicolette. While at the Inn, she is discovered for her singing abilities and with the help of Senator Liam Caradine, her career begins.
The story follows Christina’s journey as she faces trials and tribulations throughout her life. She struggles to keep her family together and to find love all during the outbreak of World War II. She finds herself following in her father’s footsteps in opera as well as fighting for what she believes in. She moves back to France and joins in the fight against Hitler’s army.
The book gave a realistic view of the horrors and devastation of war. It showed just how ruthless people can be when they are fighting for their lives. The book was fast paced and full of action. It had me rooting for Christina and Nicolette as they fought to survive and be reunited with one another. They never gave up no matter what and their courage and strength prevailed throughout the book.
I enjoyed the book and even though I usually do not like historical fiction I found that the story line held my interest and I couldn’t put it down. It had just the right amount of historical background without overwhelming the reader with dates and facts. This book would be good for the teenager to the adult reader. It has short easy to read chapters with exciting colorful characters.
Evensong was a great first book by M.L. St. Sure and I look forward to reading more by her in the future.
Posted April 5, 2011
"Evensong" by M. L. St. Sure is a historical novel that spans the time from World War 1 to World War 2. At its center is a young woman that follows in her father's footsteps and becomes involved in the drama, politics and resistance of World War 2. The father of Christina sought refuge from war by moving to a rural area of the U.S.A. but the untimely death of her father, followed by a downward spiral of the mother and the family, finds Christina accepting an offer to sing in Europe, where she promptly becomes involved in politics. Realizing that she cannot look away when injustice occurs, Christina soon finds herself actively engaged in the resistance fight against Nazis in occupied France. When a person close to her is caught by the Nazis, Christina tries a daring rescue that puts her own life at risk. In the following events, Christina must choose her own personal beliefs over the potential rescue. The story is well researched and provides an in depth look at the cruelty of war and oppression, especially the situation in the Nazi death camps. The author provides as well researched book that will take the reader on a thrilling journey to one of the more tumultuous eras of modern man.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 30, 2011
Leaving to Return Author M.L. St. Sure's, "Evensong"; written by author M.L. St. Sure's is a book that will not only captivate your mind it will entice your imagination. This author has done well in providing you such details that you can do nothing but picture yourself there right along side of the character. The events that occur make you wonder how much people endured as they watched things you would hope no one would ever see in a lifetime. If you are a person that enjoys reading history you will enjoy this book from the time you pick it up because it takes you immediately back into time. You are reading about Hitler and Nazi's and with that you know there will be stories of torture and terror and no one likes to think that they can place themselves in the position of receiving such treatment. It can leave you with a haunting feeling throughout the book. The author describes a few of the characters so easily that it brings them to life. Veteran Joseph Cross and Christina who wants his daughter to sing as he did in the opera, Nicolette her sister becomes her traveling partner to in life as they grace the stages while entertaining many. Their uncle Philippe Petain lives in France which is how they get abroad. It even comes to a point where she must sing for Hitler. Where this leads Christina will surprise you and you will think to yourself for her to have that much courage at such a time is amazing throughout the story. Then the resistance leader Laurent de Gauvion Saint Cyr enters into the story and that by itself brings problems on Christina. "Devil's Palace" becomes a new place for Nicolette after she is kidnapped. A rescue mission is necessary to save her and this becomes another section of page turning to see how it turns out. Are you starting to understand why it hard to isolate a best scene in the book? There are so many and the author ties them together well. Love can bring so much to someone. Happiness, tragedy and cruelty of one of the main characters if caught by the wrong side are something you will read throughout the story. You will read some rewarding parts of the girls helping the infants and saving them from the concentration camps. This is a warm touch in a needed spot in the book. As humans we still look for compassion. One nice feature of this book was from the tragedy at the beginning of her father passing, Christina must grow up quickly and you do see the maturing along the way. Evensong will remind me of a book that can touch many emotions and for that I give thanks to the author. Take this on vacation with you and read it in parts. You do not want to make this a quick read simply enjoy the story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2011
Evensong is a brilliantly written novel. It's evident that the author, M.L. St. Sure has done much historical research and really understood the time in history that the book is written in, which makes reading it that much more of a page turner. There are many phrases in the book in which I found intriguing and made me think. The parts I found most intriguing and interesting to read were the parts in the Nazi war camps; the book is written in a way that makes the reader feel as though they are in the book and the scene's within are so easy to visualize, which makes me as the reader enjoy the book even further. The characters within the book were so relatable even though they are within a time before I was born and a time I couldn't understand. Normally a book set in a war time is hard for me to read and I'm usually not into them as much as I am in other books, but this is definitely an exception and I would definitely recommend it; well worth the read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 4, 2008
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Posted November 9, 2008
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