I'm thrilled to be sharing my review for Mary Rosie's War by Catherine M Byrne as part of the blog tour today. First of all though let's take a look at the description for the book...
WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.
France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.
Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.
Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.
A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.
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I loved how this story was told from different perspectives although the main two voices were Mary and Chrissie. It never felt confusing and I really felt that it added a more rounded and balanced reading experience. Especially as you get to see what each character makes of the different situations along with their inner feelings.
You really get to experience all of Mary's hopes and dreams along with her fears for an uncertain future. Mary has lived a pretty sheltered life but is determined to help in any way she can even though her mother wants to keep her safe. There is an innocence to Mary that I couldn't help but like and I hoped that she would find her own way in life. All of the characters were developed in a way that made them such a delight to get to know. I really became attached to this wonderful group of characters and the terrible situations they faced.
There were some emotional moments but they felt so poignant especially with the realities of war. The setting of the story was great and showed the effects on all the characters even the ones who stayed behind. I hadn't really any knowledge about Scotland during WWII so it was very interesting to discover more. I have to mention that even though there is an emotional feel to this story there is also a wonderful warmth as each character brings so much to this story.
Emotional, heartfelt but ultimately hopeful!
With thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for my copy.
Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.
An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.
Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’
In 2016 The Road to Nowhere won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.
Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.
The fifth book in the Raumsey series is Mary Rosie’s War.
Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.
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1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon (UK Only)
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