A New Beginning

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
273 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2023
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Author Biography

Barry Cole was born in Yorkshire and after leaving the army he began contributing stories and articles to the monthly magazines of two Native American charities. With a love of film, he then studied for two years at the London Screenwriters Workshop. His first book, The Time Bandit was published in 2016, followed by a historical novel Shingas a few months later. His third book The Conquistadors Horse was published in 2018 and has been optioned as a short film by Looking Window Pictures. His latest book The Letter, which was inspired by the Battle of Stalingrad was published by Michael Terence Publishing in 2021. After living on a narrowboat for several years he has now returned to his roots in North Yorkshire. The idea for his latest book: A New Beginning came from a short screenplay written while studying at the Screenwriters Workshop which he now plans to re-write as a feature. For those who may be interested, the principal character is named after the author's great-uncle, Albert Edward Clemens who died in August 1915 during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. Although the only thing they have in common is that both were soldiers his inclusion in the book is to celebrate the family's ancestral connection with one of America’s greatest writers Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain).

    Book Review

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.

Manik Chaturmutha

A New Beginning is a historical fiction novel by Barry Cole that takes readers on a journey with the soldiers of C Company. It primarily focuses on Sergeant Albert Clemens as he navigates the aftermath of World War II. A young woman named Joliane joins them on their journey, bringing a sense of hope and survival that inspires the soldiers in their search for harmony. From the touching relationships to the challenges of finding a fresh start, the novel creates a beautiful narrative of resilience in the face of adversity.

From its opening pages, A New Beginning immerses readers in a journey through war that is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. The authentic depiction of camaraderie among the characters and their individual growth allowed me to invest in their stories. Sergeant Albert Clemens is a seasoned soldier who has experienced the horrors of war. His journey from a battle-hardened soldier to someone who seeks healing and a second chance highlights the human capacity for change and is inspirational to read. Cole beautifully explores Clemens's complexities, and his connection with Joliane adds a layer of tenderness. Their struggle to find peace and the desire to escape the war further add to the emotional depth of the story while creating a sense of suspense regarding their future.

The seamless inclusion of diverse character arcs makes this a story that effectively captures the lasting effects of war. Joliane's character stands out for her selflessness and willingness to help the soldiers, supporting them amidst the chaos of war and helping them with their wounds. Cole skilfully crafts a narrative rich in historical context. The writing style is captivating and descriptive, effectively bringing the characters and settings to life. Overall, A New Beginning by Barry Cole is a moving read that skilfully navigates the complexities of conflict, healing, love, and loss—a must-read for anyone who enjoys narratives on war and its impact on humanity.

Edith Wairimu

In Barry Cole’s engrossing historical novel A New Beginning, two lovers traveled together across war-ravaged Europe fueled by the desire to start a new life away from the devastation of WWII. After a surprise attack in Bremoy, France, in which two of the men from his regiment were wounded, Sergeant Clemens and six other English soldiers took refuge in a convent. They met Joliane Cabouret, a French woman who had also sought sanctuary in the convent after being accused of betraying members of the Marquis to the Gestapo. Determined to save her life and live for something more than survival, Clemens took Joliane with him. The partners faced an attempted abduction and the aftermath of the war, finally deciding to begin anew elsewhere. Their plans were, however, threatened by the past and the ongoing war.

This is an incredible story that vividly portrays the impact of WWII told through the gripping experiences of two people trying to survive, despite the struggles they faced. Joliane and Clemens are compelling characters whose lives offer an eye-opening glimpse into the hardships of those who experienced the brutality of WWII. The story is packed with absorbing twists that kept me invested. Despite the destruction caused by the war, Clemens and Joliane’s love and their belief in a better future provide a ray of hope in the story. Both are believable, courageous protagonists who are determined to survive. Other characters were expertly crafted and the novel’s dialogue is engaging. While it covers a well-known period, A New Beginning by Barry Cole contains original concepts and unique role-players. It is rich with striking descriptions and riveting scenes that will keep readers involved in the story.