Monday, 18 November 2013

Review: The Other Side of the Bridge by Katharine Swartz

Ava Lancet has lost her job, her marriage, and her baby when she discovers she has inherited her grandmother’s dilapidated farmhouse in a tiny village in central Greece. With the kind of emotional impulsiveness that has frustrated her stony-faced husband for years, she decides to move there and recover from life’s sorrows. It only takes a few minutes in her new home to realize just what a dump it is, and how ridiculously rash her decision was. Yet Ava perseveres, and thanks to her grandmother’s legacy, is welcomed into the village... as well as by handsome widower Andreas Lethikos.

When an elderly woman in the village mistakes Ava for her grandmother, telling her, with tears trickling down her face, that she is so sorry, Ava is both touched and intrigued. What is the woman sorry for, and what secrets did her grandmother keep? With the help of a local schoolteacher who is interviewing the remaining Second World War survivors in central Greece, Ava discovers the
surprising threads of her grandmother’s life... and they help to weave her own life back together.

In 1942, in Italian and Nazi-occupied Greece, Ava’s grandmother Sophia Paranoussis is fighting to keep her family, and especially her impulsive sister Angelika, safe. When she is approached by a stranger to help with the local Resistance, she longs to refuse, yet a sense of both duty and honor compel her to agree. Frightened and yet with growing courage, Sophia begins to aid twelve
British SOEs who have parachuted into Greece to blow up the Gorgopotamos viaduct--and falls in impossible love with one of them.

Spanning three generations and exploring the lives of two very different and yet surprisingly similar women, The Other Side of The Bridge will remind you how a fragile hope can spring from both tragedy and despair. Written by USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt, writing as Katharine Swartz.

Terri's Review

I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

For those that know me they know that this is the type of novel that I gravitate towards.  Historical fiction surrounding wartime.  When I read the synopsis of the story I knew I had to read this book.

This book was centralized around Greece during WWII and the Greek resistance.  This was an aspect of the war that I have not been introduced to previously and I enjoyed learning another new piece of the puzzle.

The story is told through two different characters.  Ava in the current day who flee's to Greece to overcome the grief of losing a child and a failing marriage and Sophia during wartime who plays a reluctant role within the Greek resistance.

For the first time I was drawn to Ava's story more than Sophia's.  Normally I am drawn in to the story of the past however I felt Ava's journey was compelling and complex and I enjoyed how her story progressed.  Without giving any of the plot away her journey was one of growth, acceptance and love.  By escaping to rural Greece she learned to see past her own issues to accept that other's may handle situations different than herself and that does not make their feelings any less real than her own. I liked how she was vulnerable yet strong. I enjoyed how her relationship with Simon played out throughout the course of the book and felt that it was realistic.

I was less drawn to Sophia's story at first.  Although a strong character I felt that the reader did not really know who she was for the first half of the book.  Her character was focused on what was expected of a female during this time and the traditions that needed to be honored.  It was not until her story started to conclude that we saw the strength of her character and she started to win me over.  I will not tell how her story played out however the conclusion was both tragic and beautiful.

Another highlight for me was how Greece was highlighted through a small rural village.  It held a charm of its own throughout the story.  I could easily visualize it and dream of visiting a place like this.

It is my understanding that this story was written by Kate Hewitt under the name of Katharine Swartz.  As I found this an enjoyable read I will be checking out other works by both names.


About the Author (Kate Hewitt)

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of 25 romances with Harlequin Presents, hundreds of short stories, and several historical novels and anthologies now available on Kindle.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in New York City, she now makes her home in a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, with her husband, four children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

Twitter:  katehewitt1

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