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The Gathering Storm by Bodie & Brock Thoene

Reviewed by April Gardner

"...different from any book the Thoenes have written... So much mystery surrounds this book that even die-hard Twilight fans might be satisfied."

“As Nazi forces tighten the noose, American-born Loralei Kepler, daughter of a missionary family, flees Brussels ahead of the Blitzkrieg. But is anywhere safe from Adolf Hitler’s evil grasp? Loralei’s harrowing flight leads her into the arms of needy child refugees, who have scarified everything in exchange for their lives, and toward a mysterious figure, who closely guards an age-old secret.” --backcover, The Gathering Storm.

Never has a backcover blurb hidden so much.

From the Prologue, The Gathering Storm is different from any book the Thoenes have written. The reader is led to believe the author, Bodie, is moments way from a London meeting with Loralei, the heroine. But first, Bodie is given Loralei’s diary and as she reads, so do we.

It wasn’t until half-way through that I began to question whether or not this was a true story. Besides the actual WWII history (which, of course, is always accurate with the Thoenes) I still don’t know how much of Loralei’s story is true. Maybe none of it? Maybe all of it…

Either way, I wasn’t expecting the twist Bodie threw into this one. Not by a long shot.

The WWII history is fascinating, and if that’s all the Thoene books had, I’d read them. But in this case, more than any of their other books, the romance intertwined with the history was a love story even you, hater of deeply historical fiction, shouldn’t miss. My mind is still trying to grapple with it, and my heart is still fluttering.

When the backcover summary says “a mysterious figure guards an age-old secret,” you can take that quite literally. So much mystery surrounds this book that even die-hard Twilight fans might be satisfied. I feel I can’t say more without giving away too much, so you’ll just have to take my word for it and buy this book.

As far as the history goes, Bodie did a superb job of portraying a desperate London just at the start of the Nazi assault on the British Isles. I lived there for years and never fully understood just how terrified and alone the British were in early 1940—and for good reason. They were the last nation standing against the evils of the Nazi Regime, and they were sorely unprepared. No one expected Hitler’s army to sweep across Belgium, Holland, and France at such a mind-numbing speed. The desperation of the times bleeds into the characters’ flight, keeping the reader on the edge of her seat.

My only complaint with the book is that I’d like to know what part is true and what part is fiction. I’ve always wished Bodie would include a page in the back of her books briefly sketching the true bits for her readers.

The next in the Zion Diaries series is in the works, although I’m sure it can’t possibly be as good as this one. Then again, Bodie does have a way of surprising me…


April GardnerApril W Gardner writes adult and middle grade historical fiction. Her first novel, Wounded Spirits, releases with Vintage Romance Publishing in November of this year. She is a member of ACFW and reviews for Title Trakk, At Home With Christian Fiction, and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her darling Hubby. A homeschool mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. Visit April's Website or her blog, A Writer's Journey. You can also get to know April on Facebook and Twitter.