~ About the Book ~
The last thing Markos Stavros expects on the eve of his brother’s wedding is to say goodbye to the land—and family–he loves. But a tragic event forces him to flee his beloved Greece, taking with him his younger brother Dino and the girl he loves, Sofia Frangos. With promises to care for both of them, Markos must trust a man he’s never met—his uncle Jimmy, the owner of a café during the bootleg era of Al Capone’s Chicago. Suddenly Markos is in a world he doesn’t understand, forced to make sacrifices he can’t live with. When he’s forced to choose between family and the woman he loves, he makes a desperate attempt at freedom…
Dino Stavros longs to forget the promises he broke…
The last promise Dino made to Markos was to watch over Sofia. But ten years later, Dino has put the tragedies of Chicago behind him, diving into his new life as a medical resident in Minneapolis, his promises forgotten. The world is not large enough, however, to keep him from reuniting with Sofia, and the reminders of all they lost together. When Pearl Harbor destroys his dreams, he turns to the one woman who truly knows him for comfort and redemption, only to find himself in the middle of a terrible betrayal. His only chance for honor comes in the battlefields of France—but is it too late to keep his promises?
Sofia Frangos heart has been broken twice…
Sofia can’t believe she’s lost both the men she loved, but she will have to put her grief behind her if she hopes to survive the German occupation of Greece. More, she’s become a link to the OSS agents helping to plot a British invasion. But what will freedom cost her? And can Markos and Dino finally keep their promise to protect her?
From the sultry Chicago jazz clubs of the roaring twenties to the World War II battlefields of Europe to a final showdown in a Greek island village, the Sons of Thunder will discover betrayal, sacrifice and finally redemption.
Series: #1 Brothers in Arms
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: 19 March 2018 (Re-release)
Publisher: SDG Publishing
~ Excerpt ~
“Time to dance the Kaslamantiano.” Papa appeared at the table, whisking a hand across Markos’s back. Whoops and clapping drove the musicians’ beat, the tempo increasing. His father moved to the next table, urging his guests to the dance floor, to join in the hand-to-hand circle.
Markos timed his movements and caught his hand into Sofia’s soft, yet strong hand. She tightened her hold on his, and for a blinding second, he again wished for merchant’s hands instead of his—rough cut, callused, and reeking of the sea. But she looked up at him, her smile in her eyes. Then the music started, and he fell into the dance.
Round and round, faster and faster. Slow step to the right, quick step right with the left foot, quickstep right with the right foot, repeat. Markos counted out the steps in his head, watching Theo lead them around the portico. Slow step backward with the right foot, quickstep backward with the left, quick weight shift—
Kostas broke into the crowd, grabbing a hand, the other balancing his glass. Something about his exuberance sent a ripple into the circle, the embarrassment of watching a man suffer.
Markos could even smell Sofia, something floral, the orange blossoms and the hot Ionian sun baked into her skin. Maybe he would ask her to take a walk with him across the moon-dappled sand to his boat. Maybe he would tell her that someday they would have their own Kaslamantiano dance, and he would hold her bouquet of Mama’s roses—
With a shout, Kostas dove into the center of the floor, twisting and turning in an erratic solo as he danced—no, leered, Markos decided—at Zoë, then grinned like a shark at Theo.
Drunk. Of course. Like father, like son.
Zoë blanched. Some of the dancers stopped, although the music twined on, tinny and quick.
“Kostas, go home,” Theo said, still trying to reclaim the night, moving to shield Zoë. Despite his smile, a sharpness edged his tone, his eyes stony.
Kostas danced over to a table. “We’re still celebrating.” He picked up a plate, and with a flick, threw it to the floor. It smashed, a thousand white shards spraying the stones. Sofia jerked back, her hand over her face. The music stopped.
~ Review ~
Drama, pathos, love, sacrifice, and a winding, suspense-filled road to redemption—I was hooked from the first page to the last! This story is definitely on the edgy side of Christian fiction, and it involves its fair share of sorrow, but if you’re after a story that will take you somewhere different and hold you in its grip the whole way, then this is your ticket.
Susan May Warren has a wonderful ability to bring a setting to life, and I love that she’s turned that talent to such diverse places as 1920s Chicago and a Greek island village. It’s not just the sights and sounds; she captures the ambiance of each setting and embeds it in every line of the story, transporting you seamlessly to another time and place.
She also doesn’t hesitate to put her characters in difficult situations, and that is the case with all three of these main characters, so don’t expect an easy ride! Sofia’s story was particularly heart-wrenching for me. Each of these characters must reach the end of themselves before they surrender to God, but Sofia goes from being an innocent young girl to a strong, but broken woman who has done what she needed to do to survive.
But through all the mistakes, they each learn that God is the God of second chances—not because we deserve it, but because it’s who He is. He doesn’t deliver us from trouble, but through trouble. “We have to open our angry, stubborn fists and let it go. That’s when we find our deliverance.”
This was authentic and riveting storytelling. I’m already a fan of Susan May Warren’s contemporary books, but now I’ll be hunting down the rest of her historical ones as well!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Other Books in the Series ~
~ About the Author ~
Growing up in Minneapolis and attending the U of MN, I learned to love city life, although I’m a woodsy girl at heart. Or maybe I’m an adventurer — having lived and traveled all over the world, including Siberia Russia as a missionary for eight years. Probably that’s why my characters can’t sit still, and seem to get into one scrape after another — they’re too much like me! I love God, my family, my country, my church, and feel privileged every day to be able to write stories.
Here’s my “Official” Bio.
With over 1 million books sold, critically acclaimed novelist Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA and Carol award-winning author of over forty-five novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill, and Summerside Press. Known for her compelling plots and unforgettable characters, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, rom-com and Christmas novellas.
With books translated into eight languages, many of her novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. She’s a three time RITA finalist and an eight time Christy Finalist.
Of her books, Publisher’s Weekly has written, “Warren lays bare her characters’ human frailties, including fear, grief, and resentment, as openly as she details their virtues of love, devotion, and resiliency. She has crafted an engaging tale of romance, rivalry, and the power of forgiveness.”
And Library Journal adds, “Warren’s characters are well-developed and she knows how to create a first rate contemporary romance…”
Susan is also a nationally acclaimed writing coach, teaching at conferences around the nation and winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year award. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of http://www.MyBookTherapy.com and http://www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She’s also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equation.