Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review: "Far Side of the Sea" by Kate Breslin

Over the years, I've read a lot of fiction set during World War II, but I haven't read much set during World War I. It's a fascinating time in history that I know little about, so I was happy to dive into the period through Far Side of the Sea.

In 1918 England, Lieutenant Colin Mabry spends his days decoding messages for MI8 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.

You know how sometimes a book has all of the pieces to make it a 5-star read, but you just don't connect with it for some reason? That's what happened for me with Far Side of the Sea. Objectively, this is a very good book: written well, great characters, intriguing plot. But subjectively, I just couldn't get into it, and because of that, it took me a very long time to read.

That's not to say that I didn't find any enjoyment in the book. From about the halfway mark on, I was completely engaged in the twists and turns. I especially loved Jo and her quest to find her sister and father (and everything that went into her journey to finding them). There's also an unexpected touch of comedy that added some welcome levity to the story.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book is connected to the other Kate Breslin novel I've read, Not by Sight (which I loved). Apparently Colin is a minor character in that book, but I didn't remember him—it's been a while since I read the book! I did, however, remember his sister Grace and her fiance Jack, as they were the main characters in Not by Sight. It was fun to check back in with them! (I haven't read any of Breslin's other novels to know if they're connected to this one, too.)

If you enjoy novels about wartime, spies, family, and lost love, you'll want to check out Far Side of the Sea. 4 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my review of Breslin's Not by Sight (5 stars).

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 first novel, For Such A Time, won American Christian Fiction Writers 2015 Carol Award. Kate's third novel, High As The Heavens, released in 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

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers through its book reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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