13 September 2012

Guest Review by Debra Marvin: Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

Wings of a Dream

Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer
Bethany House, 2011

Reviewed by Debra Marvin

Wings of a Dream, from Bethany House Publishing is Anne Mateer’s debut novel. I consider it historical fiction with romantic elements.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book other than I knew Anne was a wonderful writer and skilled editor. I had no doubts as to the quality of writing.  But these are often not enough, because it all comes down to a compelling storyline and characters we are eager to explore, bond with, and hate to part from.

Rebekah Hendricks is a dreamy nineteen-year-old when the story opens. The Great War rages in Europe and she is at odds with her small Oklahoma world. Her caring father and domineering mother are both wrapped up in concern over their son off in Europe and Rebekah is anxious to leave.  Nothing makes this more clear to her than her boyfriend’s decision to join the service, and leave her behind.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be like or be able to invest in Rebekah. It’s been a long time since I was a teenager and her focus on what she wanted made her a little selfish and all too realistic. But Anne’s beautiful writing carried me through chapter after chapter. When Rebekah’s plan for a new life in Texas completely fails, her life couldn’t have been more frustrating--and that’s when I found I’d completely invested in this character. She became precious to me.

I’ve read the two or three 3-star reviews for this book (and a few of the over forty 5-star Amazon Reviews) and the biggest complaint was Rebekah’s selfishness. It’s there but I disagree that it takes away from the book. If she’d been unselfish at nineteen-years-old, when the ‘wings of her dream’ were clipped I would have probably put this book aside as lacking credibility.

Rebekah’s life changes dramatically over the course of the book, and rather than give away plot points, I will just strongly recommend Anne’s book. It is a look study of a very difficult time in American, and world history, and exquisitely paints life in a small town during a war.

Anne brings us into the world of Spanish Flu long before Downton Abbey showed us. And yet neither could really teach us the impact of the world’s largest pandemic of death. It’s a wonder we didn’t lose an entire generation from the Tuberculosis and Spanish Flu carried home with servicemen and women after the Great War.

Rebekah’s story is one of maturity and growth. Rather than let her youthful selfishness breed resentment, Rebekah opened her heart and kept moving forward even after repeated emotional wounds by her young man, loss of her family, and the domineering, thoughtless treatment by her mother. Rebekah found joy again and optimism for the future, through situations few would have handled so tenderly. Wings of a Dream’s romance runs beautifully smooth and realistic, and I might add, did not run the obvious route but gave us a lot to consider.

I had high expectations for this book and I was not disappointed. It was in my top ten books of 2011, and I’m glad to recommend it to readers of historical fiction, historical romance, and women’s fiction, yet it is completely appropriate for male readers as well because of the vivid portrayal of this period of history. Also appropriate for the YA market.

I was sorry to see this book end and look forward to more from author Anne Mateer.

Anne's books can be purchased through Amazon, CBD, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday. Your choice of Anne's books and choice of format*. Void where prohibited by law. *International winners will only receive the book in ebook format, not as a paperback.


  1. As I look at the cover again, I am amazed at how well it portrays Rebekah. Wonderfully done!

    It was a pleasure to read this book and recommend it!
    Thank you Anne and Carrie.

  2. Very thoughtful and insightful review, Deb! You presented the aspects of the young woman's character in a very appealing manner. The setting and era of this book combined with the heroine's journey through life sound like a compelling read.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  3. DEBRA, thank you for sharing your review with us! It's a wonderful and insightful review.
    I'm currently reading and enjoying ANNE's new book. :)

  4. the book sounds wonderful. Love the era.

  5. DEB, thank you for such a loving review--and for "getting" Rebekah and her story! At the time I was writing and revising the book, I had an 18 year old girl who turned 19, so I was seeing it all first hand, lol! You said all the things I wish I could have said to those who remarked she was selfish and immature. :)

    VIRGINIA, Deb did a great job enticing you to read the book, I hope!

    MARIAN, so glad you are enjoying At Every Turn! That thrills my heart!

  6. Oh, I'd love to win this one--it is just right up my alley!! Please enter my name in the drawing. Blessings!! Darlene


  7. Welcome, DEB!!! Thank you so much for "guesting" with us today! I got to be a guest myself, yesterday, at the HEA romance blog for USA Today, which was quite a thrill. We may not be as exciting, but we are glad to have you here!

  8. Beautiful cover !!! I enjoy reading historical and women's fiction books. Very interesting review on Rebekah's characters !!! I would love to win this book.

  9. DEBRA great review, so glad you are here with us! :)

  10. The cover definitely makes me want to read this book and your review definitely makes me want to add this book to my to-read list.

  11. DEBRA, we are so excited to have you with us on OTT! What a great review and thank you for being our distinguished guest this week.

  12. I have a small miracle to thank God for. Everyone knows I am waiting on a new computer battery to come in the mail. After about 5-10 minutes on the computer, it will poof out and I was terrified to write a review last night lest I lose the whole thing.

    I was on the computer for almost an hour and a half-had to write it up, save it to documents, and get it on Net Galley. When I was done I hesitantly looked at the charge left on my battery and was amazed to say the least! It said 100% fully charged. Now someone tell me that wasn't the Lord! I just tried to email Teresa, and after a couple of minutes it poofed out on me and had to rewrite it. PTL for not letting me lose my review!

  13. Awesome DIANA! The Lord takes care of everything!! I'm going to say it again: reviewing is important work!

  14. Another one to add to my list. Deb, you're a bad influence on me - I have a pretty big list going thanks to you! Love to win this one.

    Maquis15 (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. Great review! This one is on my to-read list, and I would love to read a new to me author. Thanks for the chance to win!


  16. I will love to win !

  17. Thanks for stopping by, DARLENE!

    ANONYMOUS (both of you!)--I love that Deb's review got you so excited about the book!

    Thanks for noting the book on your to read list, LORAINE! I love hearing that!

    DIANA, don't you love that the Lord cares about the little things as well as the big ones! Great testimony on your battery!

    Thanks, BETH, for wanting to take a chance on a new author! :)

    Glad you stopped in, DEBBIE!

  18. Hello all,
    I'm sorry that a last minute meeting took me away from my computer.

    Thank you all for your kind words, but it's easy to write a review when you really do love the book, isn't it?

    It is nice to see so many lovely faces and some new ones. I'm sure that readers will love Anne's writing and now we have two of her books out with more to come.

    Diana, it's in those little things that we see how God can care for us individually which is sometimes hard for me to comprehend. How He knows the little things in my heart, the unspoken things is so amazing, and new batteries too!

  19. I usually like my historicals set in an earlier period than this, but I was so glad I picked this book up!


  20. Patty,
    Anne really took a chance to write in what is an uncommon time period - at least that's what I thought. Seems that since them, with the success of Downton Abbey and the interest in the Titanic, I've seem many more stories set in the first two decades of the 20th century.

    In any case I am so glad she did and now I am much more open to this period--in fact I look for that setting.
    Usually I am stuck in the 18th and 18th century.

  21. Thank you PATTY for taking a chance on Wings of a Dream! (And you, too, DEB!) I confess, I'm usually stuck in an earlier time period as well. This one kind of snuck up on me. :)

  22. I'm usually in the 18th and 19th century, too, but am edging toward the 20th. I think it is because that era of the first two decades is now a hundred years ago, hence it is historical. Whereas when I first started writing that was my grandparents and great-aunts and uncles eras. Hearing various stories, growing up, it just doesn't strike me as early 20th century being historical! I feel old!

  23. I find this book interesting because of the time period. I've read other books set during World War I but I don't think any of them dealt with the Spanish Flu epidemic. It's on my "want to read" list so it would be nice to win a copy.
    Thanks for the chance.


  24. I read a Christian novel that was very in depth about the Spanish flu epidemic in a small town and it was part of a series--just don't remember who wrote it.

    My great-uncles were medics during WWI. Uncle Fred came home from the war and was immediately asked to help care for people in lower Michigan suffering from the Spanish flu. And I was told that people could not reenter the upper peninsula of Michigan during quarantine for a while, but I dk if that is true or not. If so--that meant he couldn't even get home until he got the quarantine was lifted.

  25. So fun to hear it is on your "want to read" list, PAM!

    CARRIE, that probably was true. It was such a swift and devastating disease that they often did quarantine. That's how I ended up with the Spanish Flu and this time period--family stories!

  26. this sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the chance to win a copy

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  27. This was a horrible time in our history. Good review. I would like to win this book of Anne's. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

  28. This sounds like a wonderful story worthy of investing my heart into!

  29. APPLE BLOSSOM it sure does sound like a wonderful book. ANNE is a talented author. Good luck in the drawing!

    MAXIE, I agree DEBRA did a fine job on the review. Good luck in the drawing.

    MELODY that's a good way of putting..."investing my heart" I LOVE IT!! Good luck in the drawing! :)

  30. I always feel guilty leaving a second comment but Diana encouraged it on FB, so here it is :D. I would really love to win this book!!!! Blessings!


  31. Oh my goodness, this sounds like a fabulous book. I have to read it! When I saw the cover art, I have to admit I thought of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley. :)

    Thanks for your comments about my blogs.



  32. Wow, I'm so glad to see the readers interested in this book and I hope many of you purchase it if you aren't a 'winner'.
    It's been a nice week with all you ladies and a delight to promote Anne's writing. Just today, one of my blog-mates on Inkwell Inspirations told us how much she LOVED AT EVERY TURN. So if you haven't read either of these books, I suggest you change that.

    Thank you again, Carrie, Theresa, Marian and Diane for hosting and giving us all a chance to get to know more of Anne Mateer and her writing!

  33. ANNE, I love how family stories can inspire fiction books! Great to use all that information to tell stories!

    DIANA, My computer poofed out again and I am waiting on the new battery. At least it now seems to stay on as long as I have it plugged in, thank God.

  34. DEBRA, we have been so HAPPY to have you on as a guest and it has been great to get to know ANNE a little bit better. Sounds like I have to break down and order myself a Kindle copy of her new release because it does sound AWESOME!!!

  35. CHERYL!!! So great to see you over here and thanks for the follow! Your blogs are really nice. I could not get the two I tried to let me follow earlier today. Will try again tomorrow. Yes--ANNE's books sound great.

  36. Hello everyone! Sorry I've been AWOL today. I drove 4 hours north to do research for my 4th book then spent the evening with the lovely Regina Jennings, author of 60 Acres and a Bride!

    I'm so grateful for all your kind words! And yes, CHERYL, that was my first thought, too! She looks so much like Anne Shirley!

    Forgive me for not replying to each one. I'm exhausted and have a speaking engagement in the morning, so I thank you for grace!

  37. Deb, great review! Anne, I totally agree with Deb's review. Like Deb, it's on my top ten list for 2011. I loved the "voice" of this book.

  38. Thanks for offering this giveaway. I posted it on my site too.

  39. Looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win!


  40. I've never read anything from this author before...but this seems like a great time to start. Thanks for the giveaway and bringing this book to my attention! Can't wait to dive in!


  41. I'm entering for my daughter...I think she'd like this one! Thanks for the review!


  42. Please enter me in the drawing. This sounds wonderful.


  43. This sounds like a great read! Please enter me! thanks!

  44. Im not familiar with the author yet but this book sure sounds like a definate winner to me thanks for a chance to win this book so i can dive into it and learn about the author !Diane Cunningham @nursedi808@gmail.com

  45. I'm so pleased with the number of comments and new readers for Anne's books. If you haven't had a chance, read the earlier posts this week and you will get to know more about Anne and her debut book as well.

    Marie, I don't know if Carrie has your email address so.. a reminder to all to leave it (Safely)

    It's a good thing the drawing is random but I wish you could all win - if not, please keep them in your sights to pick up on your own!

    I've been at a conference this week so I apologize for not responding individually. I will say I like the idea of John getting it for his daughter - I don't know her age but I think you will all find it it more than appropriate for any teen who reads YA fiction - and for male readers as well. Anne did some detailed research into this period of history and I definitely learned something from it.

  46. Uh oh....sure hope I'm not too late to enter this fantastic giveaway!!! Just read about it and I'd love to read it after reading your enticing review. I knew I had to read it. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win a very interesting read.

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  47. DARLENE KEITH, You are our winner for the overall drawing this week. CONGRATS!!!

  48. Aren't you glad I encouraged you to enter on any of the posts this week now, DARLENE? LOL Congrats!

  49. DEB!!! SOOOOO great to see you here, girl!! LOVE this blog and love you, of course, so what an unbeatable combination!!

    And I LOVED this book!! Anne Mateer had me from page 1 till the very end and weeks after -- EXCELLENT book, EXCELLENT review!!


  50. Haven't read any of Anne's books, but "Wings of a Dream" looks Great! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!!! God Bless You!

  51. JULIE, We are glad you are back from vacation and pray it was a great trip!

    ABIGAIL - we already drew a winner. We try to announce that on Sunday afternoon. I agree, this looks like a great book!


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