Historical Fiction Book Review: Far Side of the Sea
Publisher's Description"In spring 1918, Lieutenant Colin Mabry, a British soldier working with MI8 after suffering injuries on the front, receives a message by carrier pigeon. It is from Jewel Reyer, the woman he once loved and who saved his life--a woman he believed to be dead. Traveling to France to answer her urgent summons, he desperately hopes this mission will ease his guilt and restore the courage he lost on the battlefield.
Colin is stunned, however, to discover the message came from Jewel's half sister, Johanna. Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence, found Jewel's diary and believes her sister is alive in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust begins to grow between them.
When their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot, danger and deception turn their search for answers into a battle for their lives."
My ReviewFar Side of the Sea, by Kate Breslin, is such a wonderful novel! The breathtaking, European settings, the WWI era mystery and intrigue, and the thoroughly engaging characters make this book a delight to read. Well-researched and beautifully written, it is certainly a book to be treasured and savored.
From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Breslin’s elegant and expressive writing. Her detailed descriptions of the clothing, manners, customs, and culture of a time long since faded into memory make this novel especially fascinating and engaging. The compelling mystery within this story, the intriguing details of espionage, and the unique role that pigeons played in the fight to win WWI are a few of my favorite components of the overall plot. Like all great stories, Far Side of the Sea also artfully integrates a compelling thematic combination of struggle and success, heartache and hope, and loss and restoration.
The characters within this book are truly authentic and relatable. I found myself easily invested in their stories, sincerely caring about them and eagerly turning the pages to learn more about them and their fears, their motivations, and their faith. The gently unfolding romance in this novel is wonderfully endearing and heart-warming. Ms. Breslin has the talent to ensure that the mere description of an evening walk along the beach is a literary moment that is sweetly thrilling and memorable.
With its thoroughly satisfying blend of history, romance, faith, and mystery, Far Side of the Sea is a well-written, delightfully entertaining novel that I can enthusiastically recommend to all readers.
*I was given a copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written contains opinions that are entirely my own.
My ReflectionWithin the pages of this novel, the characters display tremendous personal growth as they move from brokenness to wholeness. There are no easy solutions or quick fixes for the characters in this story. They must grapple honestly with the consequences of their choices, their mistakes, their expectations, and their insecurities. They must bravely pursue the answers to tough questions, and they must fight desperately to grasp the healing and the hope that might be found within their losses and brokenness. But it is in that search for hope and healing that the significant themes of this novel manage to encourage and inspire. The characters persevere. They carry on. They learn to accept help when needed. They seek forgiveness. They fight for redemption. And in so doing, they become an inspiration, and their story becomes one of encouragement and hope. They show that even though life can be very hard, and trials can befall anyone, God’s strength, grace, and forgiveness are always available to make the process of healing and restoration possible. Throughout this book, the characters’ perseverance is evidence of a faith grounded in a God who is always trustworthy. How uplifting it is to find examples of emotional healing woven into the words and sentences of a fictional story! What a treasure it is to have novels like Far Side of the Sea that overflow with affirming examples of humble endurance, perseverance, and redemption!
About the Author: Kate Breslin
"Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing's 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her debut novel, For Such A Time, was shortlisted for both the Christy and RITA awards and received the American Christian Fiction Writer's 2015 Carol Award for Debut Novel. Kate's third novel, High As The Heavens, released June, 2017. When she's not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington's beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas. Please visit her at www.katebreslin.com." --Biography from Kate Breslin's author page on Amazon.com.