Anne Clare’s debut novel Whom Shall I Fear? is not my typical read. I’m not big on realistic war fiction or romance novels. This is both of those things, and yet I found myself drawn into the characters and their dilemmas. It’s a great story and surprisingly compelling.
Why did I like it even though it falls outside my general taste? Part of the reason is that Anne Clare made her characters likable. Without that seemingly simple ingredient, there wouldn’t have been any point to the story. It is heavily character-driven. Sergeant James Milburn reminded me of male leads in classic films. In fact, while reading this I felt like I was watching something like I’ll be Seeing You or It’s Always Fair Weather. And that is a very good thing.
The relationship between Sergeant Milburn and Evie Worther is believable and charming. Achieving that is no easy feat. Is it a little cheesy? Maybe, but it ends up being a good contrast with the incredibly slimy villain.
Anne Clare also did an enormous amount of research and it comes through in the text in a big way. The attention to little details, whether it was some bit of geography, parts of a soldier’s kit, or some off-hand reference to surrounding events all made the story feel very real and solid. This wasn’t some half-hearted attempt at historical fiction. The author took her research seriously and it was clearly thorough.
Truly setting it apart from anything else that might be considered “Christian Romance” were the punchy action scenes. Sergeant Milburn doesn’t spend all of his days writing letters. He’s a soldier and the action in this book is full of tension and are executed with the precision of a sniper. And it really is war. Side characters you like might not make it out of the book.
If you are a history buff or tired of the slush typical of romance novels, give Whom Shall I Fear? a try here.