Review: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green
Stephanie's Rating: 4 out of 5 bookmarks

Well, this is a challenging review to write. Instead of being "Between Two Shores", I am between two minds!

A lot of historical research was obviously done in preparation for the writing of this novel. As a historical novel, it is an excellent specimen! The placement of rivers, cities, and battles, movements of porters, trappers, and troops, and the intertwining of alliances, hostilities, and nations is breathtaking in its magnitude. The reader can certainly feel the mood of the era, that is, if you take the time to read all the detail. As a self-confessed speed reader, I found myself often skimming large passages of explanation of trade routes and names of rivers and their intersections. If you are a history buff, you would enjoy the description immensely as it is very well written, just not in my interest range.

The plot line is very intricate and makes use of going backward in time to recount events and then jumping back to present time to build on those events. Again, for me, this is no problem, but I do know readers who do not care for this style and get confused with who did what when!

Book Synopsis, courtesy of Baker Publishing:
The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years' War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.
Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

Between Two Shores is not a light read and is much more realistic in its presentation of life than I have found many novels to be. The main character, Catherine, faces a life filled with hardships, decisions, and consequences of decisions. The first half of the book has a deep undercurrent of anger, bitterness, and a struggle to be loved. I feel deeply when reading, so I was bothered by the continual grating pain that influenced every conversation, remembrance, and choice. I began to feel Catherine's struggles and wonder if she would ever see the light of day in her spirit. The book had a bogged down, sluggish feeling at this point. The second half of the book gets going again and provides the context for Catherine's deliverance from her inner pain, and I was glad to find that she finally came to a calm acceptance of all life had been. The book certainly does not have the tidy happy endings that I have come to expect from most novels, but it did portray a realistic ending that should resonate with many.
Jocelyn Green
© Double-Wide Design

In summation, this is a deep book. There are no easy answers or clear paths laid out, but there is an eventual peace that does come. Read with the knowledge that you will be challenged and may not particularly "like" every part when it doesn't go the way you may wish!

I would recommend that those under the age of 18 not try to digest this novel for the familial strife, drunken violence, descriptions of battlefields, and torture practiced by Indian tribes. Though well written and never intentionally crude, these topics can never be made pretty.

Between Two Shores is an excellent and thought-provoking historical fiction novel. Just to be clear, I would not call this a romance novel at all. I give it 4 out of 5 bookmarks merely because I didn't particularly relish the detailed geographic descriptions and because it drug through so much back story before really getting going.

Stephanie Garrett is a busy homeschooling mom of three who somehow always finds time to read. She has been a voracious reader since childhood and even won a bicycle in elementary school for having read the most books! She enjoys learning and growing and never turns down an opportunity to try something new. Her first love is the Lord and service to Him, second is family, and reading. She believes that anyone who learns to read with comprehension can go anywhere and do anything! She also enjoys music, theatre, sewing, and mathematics.

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


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