Rating: 4. 75 stars out of 5
THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE
An officer thinks he finds love in the trenches, but is it really waiting for him on the home front?
A doctor and an army chaplain spend the night in a foxhole and discover there’s hope even in the darkest situations
MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION
And an old soldier discovers that there are romantic problems to solve even after you’ve cashed in your chips.
If you have ever read any of Charlie Cochrane’s historical novels, you know not only of her intense interest in WWI but her incredible ability to bring it vividly to life. To take not only the years that encompass WWI but those that preceded it as well as the years afterward where the impact on the survivors who came in many forms, and those who remembered shaped the course of many nations and weave it memorably into her stories.
When it comes to WWI and the men who went to battle, whether they were officers or those on the front line, she takes us into their lives in the trenches. We feel their fear, their hopes, the lives shattered in a split second and get that war is ugly, anonymous, and death has many faces. We feel both the intimacy of the men and their yearning for home.
And their fear for it as well.
All of that makes THIS GROUND WHICH WAS SECURED AT GREAT EXPENSE my favorite story of the three. Five stars plus as it takes us directly into the battlefield as well as the mens live before and post war. It’s grim, the men undergo live changing experiences, and loss. The characters are people we hurt for, believe in, and finally feel relief and happiness there at the end. It’s an amazing story and so well written you can almost hear the sounds of battle ringing in your ears.
Next up is my second favorite, also because of the realism and ability of the author to open her character’s up and expose their vulnerabilities…to each other and her readers in such a way that’s touching and authentic given the circumstances. Such a moving story. Again 5 stars for HALLOWED GROUND. The author got the inspiration from visiting a chapel and those details carry over into the story.
The stories go from the most grim and realistic working their way towards an almost supernatural story, MUSIC IN THE MIDST OF DESOLATION, that’s hard to describe. Here the author plays with the lines between the afterlife and the living and two soldiers from different eras with a mission to accomplish. It’s lighter in tone with WWI still but for me, there were some missing elements as the end where we didn’t find out what happened to a character or two. So the addition of this story with the other two just didn’t completely work for me.
Now I know from the author’s guest blog that the three stories titles all came from WWI poems. If you’re interested, check out more of Charlie Cochrane’s guest post on the subject here. I myself am a fan of Siegfried Sassoon, another WWI author and poet as well as Wilfred Owen who the author loves so much.
I highly recommend this remarkable collection as well as the other historical novels by Charlie Cochrane. The author has a way of putting you next to these men, letting you feel their experiences, empathize with their conditions and lives that will leave an impact on you long after the book is over.
Cover art is perfection with the use of poppies,a symbol of Remembrance from famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’. against the white background. Blood red. Haunting indeed.
Published May 9th 2018 by Williams & Whiting