Evensong by M.L. St. Sure Book Surge
reviewed by J. Alpha
"Reason and logic are lost, slaughter has become a delight, and it has unleashed a holocaust of war that will end in the destruction of the world."
Evensong is at best a well-written historical novel—with threads of a romance story woven within—and at its very best, it is an honest depiction of the way in which the ugly realities and destruction of war often destroy reason and logic, leaving a deceptively well-reasoned madness to prevail in the void.
The story begins in a poverty ravaged farming town in Missouri, during the time of World War II. Where Christina Cross waits for the dust of hopelessness to swallow her family's shanty house, as she fills her mind with her early childhood memories of her father's elite opera career, her mother's French couture wardrobe, and the Persian carpets, silk draperies, flowers, and green lawns of the beautiful Austrian village that were all lost to The Great War.
Christina longs to understand "her father's determination to till the unmanageable." She longs for him to share with her his thoughts and feelings about his childhood, his grand opera career, and the war that tore him from the grand life her family had shared in Austria. Then, she longs to be able to turn the tide of unfortunate events that tragically led to her father's accidental death and the destruction and demise of her family that followed. Until, the depth of her longings to save her family, and herself, take her back to the very epicenter of the war—that began the destruction of her life—where she joins Operation Cri de Coeur, rescuing babies from Hitler's camps. However, like her father, she too has become a celebrated opera singer and soon finds herself in mortal danger—being forced to sing the singspiel before Hitler.
Historical fiction fans will be drawn to M.L. St. Sure's rich narrative, which maintains a page-turning pace that is not hampered by an infusion of information that can often overwhelm the plot and characters of historical novels. That said, the plausible characterizations and vivid descriptions of the novel's various settings—both beautiful, and scarred by the brutality of war—add to the story's physical reality and portrayal of tragic historical events.