Yours is the Night, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2021)
This lyrical tale of hope found in the darkness released just in time to honour the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the American Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Readers learn from the prologue that a soldier significant to the story will not survive. Then we meet the American Matthew, Mira, a young woman who lives in a forest in France, and others who intersect their lives.
Any fan of Amanda Dykes’ work will know to expect characters who are at once “everyperson” and yet whose particular circumstances lead them through pain to hope—in ways that linger in our imaginations long after the story ends. Without shielding them from hardship, she presents their lives with tenderness and their surroundings in often poetic description.
This makes Yours is the Night, a story set near the end of the Great War, an accessible read. The horrors of war aren’t in-your-face graphic. Instead, perhaps more powerfully, they’re shown mostly by the way they affect the characters. Despite its at-times fairytale feel, this is no lightweight novel.
It is, however, beautiful and hopeful. Heartwarming and encouraging. And it’s told with great respect for the real-life men and women who endured the unthinkable in the war. Highly recommended!
Here are some of my most favourite lines:
His smile did not fall, but it changed. It looked like one of Grand-père’s creations, carved into wood. [Mira, about her father, page 28]
…his eyes seemed to hear things even when his ears could not. [Mira, observing Matthew, page 121]
He was all of us, just a boy in a war too dark for him in a world too big, trying to do his part. [Matthew’s thoughts of a young fellow soldier, page 284]
Christy Award-winning author Amanda Dykes has written two previous novels, Whose Waves These Are and Set the Stars Alight, as well as shorter fiction. For more about the author and her work, visit amandadykes.com. As well as book club resources, you’ll find links to her blog and a way to sign up for her newsletter, “The Scriptorium”.
[Review copy provided by Baker Publishing Group via Graf-Martin Communications. My review is voluntary and is my own uninfluenced opinion.]