21 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Camp Sunshine (Sunshine Series) by Ruth Francisco

I’ve read and raved about other books by this author so when this one came in for a review, I was excited to check it out. I wasn’t disappointed, exactly, but I wish it hadn’t been so over written. Let me see if I can explain a bit, but first… the good.

I was transported completely back to this era. This author is truly gifted in bringing you into a time and place and making it feel familiar. She doesn’t hold punches with characters and doesn’t mind showing their true colors – the good and the bad. You can feel her research bleeding off of the pages and it makes for a great historical fiction writer.

The problem is that there’s just too much of this in this book. It felt too much like a history lesson in places and less like a fiction book. I definitely need to know about the place and period of time, but there’s a thin line that I think she just crossed over a few times.

This is NOT to say this a bad book — VERY far from it. I absolutely loved most of this book and I found myself up until late at night to find out what was going to happen with the story, the characters and the place. It made me laugh and it broke my heart.

Well recommended for historical fiction readers or WWII buffs.


For her ninth novel, Ruth Francisco brings us a WWII saga, based on the true story of Camp Gordon Johnston, an amphibious training camp on Florida’s desolate Gulf coast. It is a tale of young men on the brink of war and a country on the brink of civil rights, a tale of soldiers and officers, daughters and mothers, death and redemption, and a man unyielding in his integrity, compassion, and struggle for justice.

Here, in this harsh but mystically beautiful land, twenty thousand young recruits test themselves to the limit in love and combat; politicos and tycoons offer aid with one eye to profit; women patrol the coast on horseback, looking for German subs; a postmaster’s daughter, the only child on base, inspires thousands with her radio broadcasts; and a determined woman bravely holds together her family and the emotional soul of the camp.

But when Commanding Officer Major Occam Goodwin discovers a murdered black family deep in the forest, he must dance delicately around military politics, and a race war that threatens the entire war effort. Amid tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the soldiers and their country hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to find his destiny.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2013: 22

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