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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A New Beginning is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, interpersonal drama, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is best suited to adult readers and was penned by author Barry Cole. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the story unfolds in war-torn northern France in 1944 when a group of English soldiers takes shelter in a convent. Among them is Joliane, a young Frenchwoman sought by the local Maquis for alleged collaboration with the Gestapo. The soldiers, led by Sergeant Albert Clemens, decide to protect her from the impending danger. As they reach Allied lines, Clemens uses his influence to let Joliane assist in a field hospital. When she is abducted by members of the Maquis, Clemens embarks on a perilous journey to rescue her. Their escape leads to a brother-and-sister ruse as they navigate the chaos of war-torn Europe.
Author Barry Cole has crafted an imaginative but realistically grounded novel that masterfully captures the emotional complexities of his characters as they grapple with the traumas of their pasts and strive for a brighter future together. The story's suspense and unpredictability keep readers engrossed throughout this wartime odyssey, and I especially loved all the little touches and details of daily life that were so well-researched and realized in the description. The author’s skill for injecting so much emotion into the dialogue also makes for a moving tale of hope, love, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Overall, A New Beginning is a powerful narrative that explores the profound impact of war on individuals and the extraordinary lengths people go to for love and survival, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to fans of wartime dramas everywhere.