Tom Lewis,
Pea Island Gold #1: Sunday's Child
(VP Publishing, 2006)

I quite enjoy reading a good World War II novel. Author Tom Lewis has written the Pea Island Gold trilogy, which starts with Sunday's Child. This book quickly grabbed my attention and became the best book I've read so far in 2007. But before you go buy this series just because I said it was good, let me give a few more details about the story.

Pea Island, North Carolina, had a small life-saving station house with a contingent of African-American sailors who worked this part of the Atlantic coast known for being the final resting place of many a ship. In 1918, Slick Everette convinces the men of the station house to hire him on as their chef after he demonstrates his skills in the kitchen. At some point, he beds a white prostitute in the nearby town of Elizabeth City. Nine months later, after the mother dies in childbirth, the house madam unceremoniously drops Everette's baby off at the station house.

Thus, Sunday Everette is raised by a group of men who train her in the ways of the sea. As Sunday grows up, she also learns healing and midwife skills from an old lady named Susan Bearclaw. The first 100 pages or so cover the years leading up to World War II. Lewis will maintain your attention as Sunday grows into a young woman and finds out the world beyond Pea Island is not so innocent. She has a rude introduction to womanhood. Thanks to an inner strength, and the fighting skills she learned from her father, Sunday is able to take her own revenge.

As World War II begins, the station house now has the duty to look for German submarines. Sunday continues to enhance her reputation as a healer, fisherwoman and all-around hard worker. She is savvy with the money she makes and begins to start an adult life of her own, beginning with the building of her own small shack on Pea Island as well as her own sailboat.

While most of the war goes on beyond Sunday's secluded island, it one day comes to her. A German submarine, loaded with millions in gold, heads to Pea Island. Sunday experiences the cruelty of the Third Reich and ends up killing one German while capturing another. These two were fighting when Sunday intervened. She nurses the man she saved back to health and ultimately falls in love with him. While it might seem like I have given away the entire book, the reason to read this novel has to deal with finding out the details. Lewis's writing style is also worth your time.

Lewis was born in North Carolina, so he has knowledge of the location he writes about. True, he takes historical figures and places them in a fictional setting. But the storyline is very believable.

As stated earlier, I was totally drawn in to Sunday's Child. The characters are quite believable. The historical angle is the main hook for me. The way the war intrudes on the mostly quiet life of Sunday Everette will leave you wanting to read more. Fortunately for me, I had the second book in the series, Hitler's Judas, ready to pick up as soon as I put Sunday's Child down.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

8 December 2007

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