An epic war story which follows 3 young characters as their lives are transformed by war The beautifully vivid descriptions transport you into a moment detail, colour and mood are captured perfectly, allowing you to feel as though you re watching scenes unfolding before you The book switches between the three characters with ease Sometimes I find books which jump around difficult to follow, but the author gives you enough to satiate your interest in one thread before moving on to the next The historical context made the book an interesting read The amount of research carried out is impressive and I felt like I leaned a lot about World War 2, especially the merchant navy voyages to Russia via the arctic The shifts in society happening at the time are interesting to read about as well, with Olivia shaking off the shackles of a Victorian style upbringing and forging a life for herself outside of the expectations of her family and class All in all an enjoyable read which kept me lost in the plot until the early hours for several nights This is historical fiction at it s best and if you read this book you will see why Author Vanessa de Haan has written a book that will not only have you flying through the pages, but she will hold you fully engaged in the story So much so you won t want to put it down And when you do, it will be because you ve arrived at the end of the story and if you are like me you ll be wantingAn amazingly well written story that I highly recommend.
I honestly loved this book It was so enthralling to see how the main characters changed over the course of World War 2 and how their paths intertwined I nearly cried during some parts The raw human emotion expertly displayed throughout, no matter what side the protagonists were on, made me unable to put this book down I was even blown away by the fight scenes, which usually don t interest me This book also reaffirms my belief that I need to visit Scotland This is a must read for anyone who enjoys modern historical fiction This is billed as a wartime love story and, indeed, we have three main characters Jack, Charlie and Olivia who create a mini love triangle at the start of the book Jack is from the mean streets of London and becomes a Merchant seaman to escape his impoverished past The other two areprivileged but war strips people to the bones of their humanity and roots can be forgotten There is a lot of description of the war within these pages and if you re looking for a lighthearted wartime romance this is not the book for you I found it a little hard going at times I came away feelingeducated about World War Two but not necessarily entertained by the storyline.
This WWII novel covers the entire war over three characters stories Charlie, Jack, and Olivia , providing different insights into what the war was like for a young woman and two men from very different backgrounds The main plot is formed by the protagonists interactions with each other.
For the most part, the book felt very realistic, due to the huge level of detail and evident research put in by the author Her descriptions of the scenery and everyday life during the war were very evocative, which made the book feel pretty harrowing at times In some senses, I much preferred this book over other WWII books, because its grittiness and the trauma of the protagonists feltrealistic than the light touch treatment and nicey nicey romances in other novels such as The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society .
So why only 2 stars Firstly, the book is incredibly long at nearly 500 pages The battle scenes felt overly detailed and there was a lot of dialogue, where a narrator overview would have provided a quicker explanation of what was happening I couldn t help but feel the author tried to cover too much in including the entire war plus three protagonists and their interactions Since Charlie was the least likable and his piloting battle scenes were hard to follow, I d have enjoyed the book far better if it just followed Olivia and Jack.
Secondly, andproblematic for me, was that the plot and character interactions were far beyond believable Characters just happen to bump into each other frequently, which feels highly unlikely in the chaos of war While I can believe that two people who know of each other might meet on a train the second coincidence , the number of coincidences became ridiculous, and this really detracted from the realism of the book.
I received this copy of The Restless Sea by Reading Groups for Everyone as part of my book club The Unconventional Book Club reviews at.
I won an advanced readers copy of The Restless Sea in a Goodreads Giveaway and overall was very happy with this book I did notice a few errors but it quite clearly stated on the cover that it was an uncorrected proof so I expect these have already been picked up and will be removed from the final edition and therefore it is unnecessary to highlight them in this review One thing I did feel it necessary to warn the reader about is that some may find a few of the bombing scenes are a bit gruesome graphic I won t go into details at this point in time because I don t like to add a review with spoilers before the book is properly published and it is also not appropriate to quote from an uncorrected proof but they were for me a bit distressing I love all the interconnecting storylines and how all the different lives are told in each chapter They are engaging, well thought out and fit together almost seamlessly I felt it was interesting watching how each in their own ways has the formative years of their lives shaped and altered by the effects of war The way the stories interlock also made me feel as though I was able to bond with all the central characters equally whilst still being able to appreciate them individually I loved Olivia, the strong female character of the book and rooted for both Charlie and Jack I even felt for the way in which Betsy was dealt with, despite her being one of theflawed characters within the book I was pleased that she still managed to find a place for herself in the world after the way she was forced to survive the war Some of the sections where Charlie was a POW prisoner of war were incredibly powerful and I felt the interactions with the various German characters were very well done It is rare for a book dealing with the wars to so understandingly and delicately portray the sensibilities of the men on the other side of the conflict It shows Germans who still demonstrated compassion and morals like any other human beings and showed them as having the same dreams, hopes and fears as the other men It is refreshing that the book does not try to imprint the idea of them as simply the enemy with no human thought or emotion behind them it s what makes what happens to Charlie evenheartfelt at the end The book also deals well with the aspects of social hierarchy that existed before and during the war There is the issue of Olivia being quite high born and the attitudes to her turning down someone considered quite a respectable and suitable match Charlie for the rough and ready low born ex thief Jack Then the roles of men and women are also thoroughly explored in that Olivia starts off unable to fend for herself at all andworried about a lost bracelet than anything else and then progresses to her hunting and fishing to provide food and some income for the house, even filleting her own fish and cutting up the carcasses of the deer she has shot After this, when society tries to force her back into the typical female mould she rebels and runs off to work as a WREN The book also does not shy away from other issues like the way women were forced to survive by selling themselves in order to get by or the questions surrounding the results of sexual relations before marriage because so many young men were going off to fight and die and there was no time for traditional courtships like in the pre war days I also found the historical note at the end particularly interesting insightful It is nice to know the ideas germinated from true life family stories that the author heard growing up She even pays homage to some of her relatives in the character names she chooses, but also obviously a lot of fact checking and historical research was involved to secure the books authenticity and ensure the events really felt alive real, even though the characters themselves are entirely fictitious I was surprised to learn that the Merchant Navy actually lost proportionallymen than any of our armed forces during the Second World War, as I really felt for Jack during the ship convoys to Russia and the Arctic Circle and never truly grasped how dangerous it had been before I also thought the poems at the beginning and end of the book were a nice touch All in all I was sad to finish reading it as I didn t really want it to end I will definitely be watching out forfrom this author and hope she follows up on the characters in a sequel as this first debut novel was great