Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer was sent to me by Bethany House Publishers/Baker Publishing Group. This is the first historical fiction novel by this author.
Rebekah Hendricks dreams of doing something more with her life than just living on a small farm in Oklahoma. When her aunt falls ill, Rebekah jumps at the chance to go to Texas to tend to her. It doesn’t hurt that her aviator beau, Arthur, is in training relatively close to where her aunt lives. Rebekah thinks this is her chance to finally get off of the farm and have some adventures.
But the country is still fighting the Great War and is now in the midst of a war at home: a pandemic of Spanish influenza. Rebekah is thrown into the midst of both when she arrives at her aunt’s home. The flu has hit the town of Prater’s Junction hard, and Rebekah finds herself caring for the sick and also taking charge of four children who have lost their mother while their father is fighting for freedom in France.
The adventures in which Rebekah finds herself are not the ones of her dreams. Only God can change her heart and turn His dreams into her dreams.
My first impression of this novel was that it was nice, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be any more than that. As I kept reading, however, I was confronted more and more with the immense journey that the character of Rebekah is taking. She thought she had her life all planned out. She thought she knew what she wanted. She thought she knew where the Lord was leading.
Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Because of the circumstances that she was in (World War I and the Spanish flu outbreak), Rebekah grew in her faith. She realized that God is in control and can change your heart. (Rebekah figured this out over a span of only a few months. It took years for me to get to that same point, and of course I still struggle with it from time to time).
I can relate to the struggles of faith, if not the circumstances, that Rebekah faces in this book. She wants to do something exciting with her life, and she thinks in order to do that, she must leave the ‘mundane’ life that she knows. At the beginning of the book, Rebekah relates doing something important with doing something exciting. Over the course of the novel, she realizes that being in the center of what God wants you to do with your life is the best place that you can be.
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the story in this novel and the journey of growth that Rebekah takes. As far as structure, I felt the author did very well with writing realistic dialogue and with developing characters that elicit strong emotions. Sometimes, however, I felt the overall story got a little lost in the anecdotal parts that were told along the way. Since you were following Rebekah’s journey in this story, we followed her fully, in every detail, even the routine. I will forgive this, though, since this seems to be the point of this novel.
I also thought that a climactic scene at the very end of the novel stepped too far out of reality to be in keeping with the rest of the book. Everything up until that point had been so realistic, and then there is an occurrence that I just didn’t think would actually happen that way in real life. The scene was fine; I just didn’t think it would happen in exactly that way. (Sorry to be so cryptic, but I don’t want to ruin the story for everyone!)
Something fun from this novel was that it was neat to see a character named “Nola Jean.” This is my mom’s name (well, “Nola Ann,” not “Nola Jean,” but still…), and it is rare that we hear this name anywhere!
In Wings of a Dream, Anne Mateer has written a novel of journeys: to faith, to new dreams, and to true love.
I will give Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer … 4 BookWorms.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."