Dieppe Crossing

Romance - Contemporary
202 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Dieppe Crossing by Betty L McLane-Iles is an intense and searching story of family, love, connections, and serendipity that draws readers into a world where everything, it seems, is linked and little is left to happenstance. When Jena Cohn, a lost and slightly disillusioned middle-aged woman, is undertaking her regular pilgrimage back to France on the cross-channel ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe, she slips at the guardrail and almost falls into the churning English Channel. She is saved from falling by a mysterious and enigmatic Frenchwoman who drags her back to safety. The relationship that develops between the pair introduces Jena to a tangled mix of familial relationships that date right back to the First World War but more specifically focus on the resistance movement against the rise of Franco in Spain, the Spanish Civil War, and the efforts of Basque separatists and terrorists in the 60s and 70s.

Dieppe Crossing is a beautifully constructed novel that will have lovers of the English language and its subtleties and nuances wrapped in its warm embrace. Betty L McLane-Iles has a turn of descriptive, poetic prose that sings to the heart of lovers of the language. What particularly struck me about this story is the wonderful manner in which the author was able to link the events of several decades and generations yet still keep the reader completely cognizant of what was taking place. The story of the Spanish Civil War and the atrocities committed by Franco and his minions on the resistance is horrifying and disturbing but, through it all, the characters rise above the turmoil to continue the fight for freedom. Jena Cohn is a fascinating protagonist who is searching for some meaning and purpose in her life beyond alcohol, and the serendipitous nature of her interactions with the woman who saved her were the highlights of the story for me. This is a deep, thoughtful, and meaningful read and one that I can highly recommend.

Melanie Kennedy

Dieppe Crossing by Betty L. McLane-Iles is the charming tale of Jena Cohn, a professor on her way to France to translate a manuscript. On the ferry to Dieppe, Jena is saved from drowning by a mysterious woman, Marie-Louise. A mishap at passport control leads to Jena accidentally ending up with a sentimental photograph belonging to Marie-Louise. In Jena’s search to return the photograph, she meets Marie-Louise’s family and her husband but fails to meet the one person she is looking for. The family is shrouded in secrets and as we share memories from each person, the once broken puzzle gets put together again and unfortunately culminates in a tragic ending. Jena is thrust into this family drama but is determined to repay the favor to the woman who saved her life, even if it is only many years later.

Betty L. McLane-Iles writes a romantic but tragic tale of lovers in France and Spain. Her love stories span multiple decades and we see the ripple effects that love in a family can have on each other. I am impressed with her ability to describe the nature and beauty of France. Her descriptions of settings and scenery are immersive and I found myself wanting to be on a cherry farm in France one day, just to feel the heat on my skin. Betty tells a mesmerizing tale of woe, sprinkled with a little bit of hope, for all her characters. Dieppe Crossing is a tale of love through the ages, not only between people but also love for one’s country.

Essien Asian

Jena Cohn's disillusionment with life is at its peak with an overdue manuscript to deliver on and a marriage that has lost its meaning for her. She takes a trip on the ferry across the English channel heading to France and certain tranquility. While out on the deck, she slips and almost falls overboard but is rescued by a Frenchwoman much like herself. They get acquainted with intentions to meet again later but when Jena tries to contact her new friend, she discovers that Marie-Louise Sandriano may not be the simple lady she claims to be. Jena is thrust into a world of smoke and mirrors, where loyalty to the one you love could be the difference between life and death. Love transcends borders in Dieppe Crossing by Betty L McLane-Iles.

Betty L McLane-Iles crafts a very touching story with her novel, Dieppe Crossing. The storyline is quite intricate and it takes an intuitive reader to connect the dots. Using the period of civil unrest in Spain as the background for this romantic story added a complementary mystery angle to it in a unique manner. Her depiction of the events that take place in Spain is so realistic that it is difficult to believe this is a work of fiction. She puts a ton of effort into humanizing Marie-Louise so that there is no way you will not identify with the sacrifices this woman has to make. Dieppe Crossing is not just a marvelous romance novel; it is a masterpiece in the art of storytelling.

Manik Chaturmutha

Dieppe Crossing by Betty McLane-Iles revolves around a middle-aged Anglo-American protagonist, Jena Cohn. She frequently takes a boat over the channel from Newhaven, southeast England, to Dieppe, northern France. The story follows Jena's debt to a powerful, fascinating Frenchwoman who rescues her from the water while she travels to France. It prompts her to seek the secrets of her new friend's past, and her redemption comes through her payback to the Frenchwoman. When the Frenchwoman forgets a photograph and a purse with Jena, a complex series of events is triggered in a chase-like setting that overlaps numerous nations. It also produces a wide range of memorable characters.

Betty McLane-Iles' writing style is eye-catching and slightly poetic. Moreover, because of the author's exquisite descriptive approach, readers can easily envision Europe's vintage aesthetic. The reader is transported back and forth from 1987 Rouen to 1914-1915 Yorkshire, 1937 Guernica, 1940-1941 Chantenay, and back to 1987 France through the creative use of time-shift. The suspense begins in the first chapter, and the pace is well-maintained. We witness a sad chapter in European history, a few incredible portraits, and a celebration of friendship, unity, and unwavering loyalty. This book can be recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction as we see the protagonist crossing over the time from the days of the resistance and retribution of the French Resistance, of the Occupation of France, and back to the present. Dieppe Crossing by Betty McLane-Iles is an interesting take on historical fiction.

Idowu Adekunle

The story starts in May 1987, when a New Haven ferry was crossing from Southeast England to Dieppe in northern France. An English traveler, Jena Cohn, was saved at sea by a mysterious Frenchwoman named Marie Louise. Jena was grateful to her new friend for saving her life. However, Marie forgot her purse with Jena when she was leaving. Jena finds a photograph in the purse that piques her interest, and she feels obligated to return Marie's belongings to her. Jena learns the truth about Jacques Caldwell, Marie's husband who abandoned his wife and daughter. Marie becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Catherine Caldwell, Jacques's first wife, was murdered in her home. Jena's perspective on life changes during the trip to Dieppe Will Jena's meeting with Marie become the turning point in her life? Find out in Dieppe Crossing by Betty L McLane-Iles.

Dieppe Crossing is an astounding historical novel. The engaging story will grab any reader's attention right from the start. I could not put down the book immediately after I started reading it. This awe-inspiring tale revolved around unflinching loyalty, love, friendship, action, and adventure. I loved everything from the historical storyline to the plot and the sophisticated characters. I can't stop wondering what the circumstances surrounding the death of Catherine Caldwell were. Could Marie be responsible for it? I enjoyed every bit of this book. The storyline wowed me completely. If you are searching for a novel filled with suspense, then you should read Dieppe Crossing by Betty L McLane-Iles.