Review: Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
Hannah's Rating: 5 out of 5 bookmarks

Who's with me on loving a good spy story? How about a mystery that keeps you guessing until the last page? Kate Breslin's books always tick both boxes for me, along with giving me deep suspense and sweeping (but clean) romance. The only thing I dislike about her is that she doesn't publish books every other week!

The Plot

In this book, Colin is our hero. He is perhaps an unlikely one; he has come back from the trenches minus a hand and is still learning how to live with a prosthesis while working through a case of shell shock (now known as PTSD). He has been assigned to a post on the English shore working with carrier pigeons and is handling and decoding messages they bring. He's working through the sadness of being within hearing of the shelling of Paris, the challenge of being determined to remain strictly independent despite having just one hand, and feeling sidelined because he isn't carrying a gun into the trenches anymore. When he receives a carrier-pigeon message from Jewel Reyer, the woman who saved his life the first time he was wounded, asking him to meet her in Paris, he drops everything and begs his handler, Lord Weatherford (who we met in another of Breslin's books, Not By Sight), to allow him to go to the meeting despite that danger. Weatherford agrees, giving him a contact name in Paris to check in with.

Johanna Reyer, daughter of an artist and a free-spirited woman who recently died in the Irish Easter Rising, is desperate to find the sister she never knew about. She went to France in hopes of finding her long-lost father, disdaining the dangers of war, only to find him long gone and her sister Jewel recently disappeared. She takes over her sister's place caring for the carrier pigeons, but worry for Jewel forces her to take the desperate step of trying to contact the man whose name is prominent in her sister's journal.

Kate Breslin
Photo Credit: ©Samantha Panzera Photography
In a cloak-and-dagger thriller, Colin and Johanna are in for a game of cat and mouse with an enemy willing to do anything to get to the finish line first--even to the point of separating Colin and Johanna and making them distrust each other. Who's the real traitor?

The Characters

Colin is a determined fellow, and I really admired his determination and his "fight"; whatever he sets out to do, he's bound and determined not to leave unfinished. Tenacity is a great quality in a hero and one of my favorite qualities to read, especially since attention to detail is really what "makes" the character quality and less detail can make the character seem controlling or stubborn instead. Breslin delves into his motivations and his internal questions, making his character show clearly which fully engages the reader from his first attempts to dress, shave, and eat with one hand to the final showdown.

My favorite qualities in Johanna are her loyalty and her soft but staunch heart. She doesn't hold grudges and pout; she picks herself up and goes forward. She's not abrasive, but she is determined, and nothing is going to keep her from doing her level best to find and help her sister. Even contacting an English stranger in the middle of a war to help her find Jewel isn't something that would stop her. I loved her for it, too. Don't we all hope our own sisters will go to the ends of the earth for us?

Final Thoughts

While there are recurring characters from other books (more from Not By Sight than High as the Heavens) the plot does not carry over at all and this book stands alone.

There is very little spiritual content, but it's obvious that the characters rely on God. There is not a spiritual lesson to learn, but they are believers. As for other content: there are a couple of kisses, a bit of wartime violence, and Colin's favorite swear is "Titan's Teeth!" which he uses fairly frequently.

All in all, this fourth novel only solidifies Kate Breslin's place as one of my top favorite authors. I'm still hoping the mysterious Marcus, a spy who's made brief appearances in all three of her WWI novels, is going to get his own book soon!

I recommend Far Side of the Sea to both male and female readers who enjoy a solid suspense/mystery story. This book does have a romance element, but the action angle is more prominent.

Hannah Gridley has been a dedicated bookworm since the age of 4. By day she works for a local nonprofit; in her spare time she works in a bookstore, teaches music, plays violin in two local orchestra groups and in her church, and enjoys hiking. Favorite reading genres include Christian, historical fiction, suspense, and vintage/classic novels. When she isn't working, writing, or reading, she spends money adding books to her home library or collecting fountain pens and fancy inks.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a free copy of this book for promotional purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

Hannah Gridley

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