Book Review: Sweet Sanctuary

Today I have a super sweet, charming, and perfectly pleasant historical fiction novel to share with you all! Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer was graciously provided to me by the folks at Bethany House Publishers through their blogging review program.

Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer reviewed on

Here is a description of the book from the publisher:

Lydia Eldredge and Dr. Micah Hatcher both have secrets to protect. Lydia longs to provide sanctuary for her young son Nicky. Micah spends his days doctoring the immigrant population of Queens. But under cover of darkness, he has undertaken a secret mission to help the innocent victims of a war far away. When Lydia and Micah become wrapped up in each other’s callings, can they find refuge and hope in one another—and the God they serve?

And, as usual… my five point review:

  • I have only read one other book by Kim Vogel Sawyer before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Sweet Sanctuary. As much as I enjoy reading Christian fiction, many books share the same themes and plot lines. I have noticed that Bethany House tends to publish books with a bit more oomph, suspense, and passion–but generally, Christian novels kind of blur together. Great for escape reading, not so much for a challenge. This novel is not like that. Kim Vogel Sawyer does not shy away from tackling hard issues like custody of children, drug addiction, or the dilemma of following the laws of your nation versus following the calling of your God. And she does it well.
  • I was initially drawn to this novel because it is set in 1944, at the tail end of World War II. I’m very interested in that time period, and read a lot of fiction and nonfiction about that era–novels, memoirs, biographies, etc. Check out my Goodreads board if you are interested in author/book suggestions [Pam Jenoff is excellent]. Being that this is a Christian novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect but once again, I was blown away by how well this novel was written. The author does not treat war and the Holocaust in general terms, but she uses specific characters and themes to address these subjects thoughtfully and respectfully. I also like how she is mindful of American prejudices towards immigrants and Jews during World War II and analyzes these through the lens of a faith-based, counter-cultural approach to life [especially demonstrated by the dashing, heroic Dr. Micah Hatcher.]
  • Speaking of Micah, he was definitely my favorite character. He was well written, likable, and someone who I would aspire to be more like. He is a man of integrity and cares for immigrants, widows, and orphans as God calls us to do. The entire time I read, I was cheering for his romance with Lydia… but does it all play out as you would expect?!? You’ll have to read to find out. 🙂 I was certainly a bit surprised at the end. **wink, wink!
  • My biggest complaint with the novel is that it discusses so many issues. I’ve already mentioned the drug addiction, the war, and custody of children [i.e. Lydia’s son, Nicky, who she raises for her friend who passed away]. There are more hard issues in this book, like violence and poverty. It’s a complicated story, with many characters and needs. It’s a little hard to keep track of everything as you’re reading… but then again, isn’t it similar to life in that regard?
  • Overall, I highly recommend Sweet Sanctuary. I will definitely be checking out more of Kim Vogel Sawyer’s books at my local library. There are so many fun, thought-provoking themes in this novel to explore regarding faith, the love we [should] have for children [that society does not always demonstrate well], and doing the right thing no matter what… I would love to discuss this book with you if you’ve read it, and if you haven’t, go find a copy now! It is EXCELLENT! 🙂

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!