“I told you, I’m not staying.” Catherine Stands-Apart drew back from her sister’s touch and planted her feet wide at the edge of their mother’s grave. The freshly turned soil pushed between her toes. “I only came to say good-bye.”Opening lines of Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green
The back cover describes Jocelyn Green as inspiring faith and courage and that shines through her latest historical novel Between Two Shores. My shallow understanding of the war between the British and the French fought in Canada didn’t prepare me for the brutality. As is often with wars, poverty, disease and the denial of human rights is rife and Jocelyn exposes all of these.
Catherine is the leading lady representing both the Mohawk and French perspective and her former fiancé Samuel stands in defense of the British as a born American. Ethnic, religious and political lines are drawn and crossed as the novel progresses. The pain of loss echoes through all of the characters and the horrors inflicted by solidiers on all sides highlights the similarity of the innocents caught in the fight rather than their differences. The goal of ending the war supersedes sides for our leading characters as they fight to save the ones they love.
Anticipating a historical romance, I expected the facts to be cushioned in pockets of happiness and a triumph for the characters we come to love. Jocelyn is more true to life. The journey taken is harrowing and devastating for characters and readers alike and whilst mercy, grace and hope come to life in the end, they do so covered in blood sweat and tears. Gritty stories are not my forte, too deeply do I feel the emotions of those I read of and so, there was little enjoyment for me in this one, a three out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale, The writing is beautiful, the characters walk off the page and the history, accurate. If you are looking for realism and heart with Christianity threaded through, I highly recommend it.
From the back cover:
The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.
Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.