Friday, February 24, 2023

Book Review - The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

My Review

The Sound of Light is a historical novel set in Copenhagen during World War II. It is the story of two different (but surprisingly similar) people - Else Jensen, an American physicist working at a research lab and quietly also working to help with a resistance newspaper, and Hemming, the assumed name of Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt, a formerly dissolute playboy and Olympic rower turned resistance hero.

I wanted to read this novel because I love Sarah Sundin's books - she is my favorite author in this genre, and I have recommended her writing so many times over to friends. I particularly enjoy historical fiction set during World War II and was curious about the Danish setting;  I knew very little about life in Denmark during the war.

This is a beautifully told story about people finding courage they didn't know they had and banding together to do good even at great personal risk.  Hemming, the Havmand (merman) rows back and forth at night with messages. Else spreads the truth about the war through underground newspapers, becoming even more involved when her best friend Laila, who is Jewish, is in jeopardy.

Hemming and Laila live in the same boarding house and slowly connect, as friends first, and then there is a spark between them that they can't ignore. Their resistance to the war is also a powerful bond.

The descriptions and writing is, as always with Sarah Sundin's books, beautiful. For example, this is a description of the Tivoli Gardens:

"They emerged from the gardens. Beside a shimmering lake, the Chinese Tower rose in red and black magnificence. Before the war, Tivoli glowed at night, with light bulbs outlining each building, strung between trees, and reflecting in the lake, topped by fireworks shows in the summer. Although the park remained open during the occupation, the lights had been extinguished" (eBook location 920).

I highly recommend The Sound of Light for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in World War II.

Book Synopsis

Copenhagen, 1940

When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden. American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research--her life's dream--and makes the dangerous decision to print resistance newspapers.

As Else hears rumors of the movement's legendary Havmand--the merman--she also becomes intrigued by the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse. Henrik makes every effort to conceal his noble upbringing, but he is torn between the fa├žade he must maintain and the woman he is beginning to fall in love with.

When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence.

Author Bio

Sarah Sundin is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks, Until Leaves Fall in Paris, and the popular WWII series Sunrise at Normandy, among others. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol Award winner, and her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and have appeared on Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." Sarah lives in California. Visit for more information.

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