So I Write

A blog all about books, writing, baking, and life as a woman in her twenties

In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for M18 after suffering injuries at the front. When he receives an urgent summons by carrier pigeon from Jewel Reyer—a woman who saved his life and whom he believed to be dead—he can only hope he’ll regain the courage he lost on the front lines as he’s driven back into war-torn France.

But Jewel isn’t the one waiting for him in Paris. Instead, it is a stranger who claims to be her half-sister, Johanna, who works at a dovecote for French Army Intelligence. She found Jewel’s diary and believes her sister is alive and in the custody of a German agent. With spies everywhere, Colin is at first skeptical of Johanna, but as they travel across France and Spain, a tentative trust grows.

That trust is quickly put to the test, however, when their pursuit leads them straight into the midst of a treacherous plot and their search for answers quickly turns into a battle for their lives.

Far Side of the Sea

Far Side of the Sea is Kate Breslin’s most recent release, and is a book that I was looking forward to reading for a very long time. I’ve read every one of Kate’s earlier novels, and loved all of them immensely, so I knew I would love this one too. Especially once I found out it was a sequel to Not by Sight. Not by Sight is one of my favorite of Kate’s books, and I always wanted to know more of Colin’s story. Then, once I read the synopsis and found the drama, mystery, and intrigue it described, I knew I was going to love this book.

Kate always does a fantastic job of transporting you straight into the World War-torn locations of her novels, and Far Side of the Sea is no exception. I immediately felt like I too was in England–and later France and Spain–shuddering as bombs were making landfall all around me. Then, as the story, the dangerous, spy-filled journeys took off, I felt myself carried along with the perfectly fast pace of everything unfolding. When I started reading this novel, I had the blessing of being on spring break and having extra time on my hands, so I was able to actually allow myself to not put it down.

Colin and Johanna were just the most perfect characters for this story. While I do often read novels with well-developed emotions in the characters of the stories, Kate just did a phenomenal job of having Colin and Johanna grow and change throughout the course of this book. In the beginning, we see a picture of their hearts, their struggles, and what they have been through. But as the story ebbs and flows, Colin and Johanna’s emotions heal and change along with it, and I applaud Kate for how well she accomplished that.

Honestly, I cannot praise this novel enough. Kate has outdone herself, and I am already eagerly anticipating the day when she releases another book. I still think For Such a Time is my favorite of her novels, but Far Side of the Sea is a very close second. Even though I didn’t think it possible, Kate’s writing just keeps getting better and better, and I highly recommend everything she has written. If you enjoy World War I and II historicals, these books are for you.

Rating: 5 bookshelves

Recommend? Yes!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for only my honest review. I was not given any incentives to give a positive review; every opinion expressed was my own.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Kate Breslin and Bethany House Publishing.

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