As WWII ration cards and battle scars become commonplace across America, it seems to Evelyn that even love is rationed out. When she finds a message from her late husband tucked inside a music box, Jim’s words have the power to change her life: Don’t die with me. Words written out of love, long-lost but never forgotten. Grief stricken, Evelyn is unsure of how to honor his request, but she finds the courage to keep on living. Jim’s note urges her to give the music box away to unlock the secret within, and although it breaks her heart again, Evelyn trades the music box for a cradle to hold her infant son. Thus begins the decades-long journey of the music box, mending broken hearts, reuniting lost loves, and giving people the courage to heal themselves along the way. This romance crosses battlefields and time as the music box touches the lives of two soldiers, a broken father, a crippled child, a struggling farmer, and a woman once called the soldier’s bride.
Sissy: The Soldier’s Bride was an unexpected surprise for me. I was anticipating something sweet and ordinary but found instead a much more complex and deep story. The most refreshing thing about this book is the music box theme. Though the story centers around Evelyn and her journey, the music box itself is a starring character. There is the very vaguest hint of the paranormal in regards to the music box, but this is not the main focus of the story. The way the music box touches people and moves them in certain directions seems very organic and only the slightest bit mystical. I would actually like to know more about the music box’s back story. But the lack of it doesn’t negatively affect the narrative. It allows the story to be people-centric, I believe.
Bubby: I love how the melody of the music box brings different emotions to different people. Hope to one, good memories to another, belief in oneself or in love to a third. It’s a great way to highlight the power that music has. If I want to feel close to Dad, I put on some Glenn Miller and dance around the kitchen, just like he and Mom used to do. If I want to feel like I can conquer the world, I play “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor and suddenly, I can do anything! There are songs that always make me smile and ones that always make me cry. Music is truly magical. I also loved that the music box itself wasn’t anything special – just a cheap paper and cardboard box with a dancing ballerina. That put more value on the music emanating from the box, instead of the value being in the box itself.
Sissy: The music box and the inspirational notes that its different owners have pasted under the lining weave the whole story together, from Jim and Evelyn at the beginning, through a full circle back to Evelyn again at the end. Evelyn’s story is not without heartache and has plenty of twists. I particularly enjoyed how everything was resolved at the end. All the characters whose lives come into contact with the music box need its magic because of trials or sorrows of some sort, and without exception, the music and the notes help them to heal and move on. This is not a fluffy, lightweight novel but rather one with substance and depth. Beautiful writing by Rachelle J. Christensen.
Bubby: Even though it is not light and fluffy, The Soldier’s Bride still manages to have our requisite happy ending, though – several of them, in fact. I think I enjoyed the story about the Japanese family with the sick daughter the most. This family has the most interaction with the music box besides Evelyn and it was so interesting to see how small choices made such huge impacts in theirs and other people’s lives. We were already fans of Rachelle J. Christensen’s work, and this Kindle Scout winner reminded us why!
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