Title: Once More Unto The Breach
Author: Megan Holloway
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Pilos Books
I requested this from Netgalley and I was lucky enough to be allowed to read it. It combines history and art, two of my loves.
Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city’s liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them. Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal was has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son’s trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs of Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first. The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his own son’s actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it’s too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg for forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive.
‘You lashed out in the moment and said something you regret. You were human. Everyone in fallible. Everyone. Sons and fathers. But you are here. In a strange, torn county in the grip of war, searching tirelessly for him. You can tell me all of your wrongs ’til the cows come home, but that… that tells me more about you as a man, as a father, than words you spoke years ago that haunt you still.’
We first meet Rhys, in a war-torn Paris, beginning the search for his missing son. He soon meets Charlotte, who helps him on his quest. The journey the go on is epic. Truly. We first believe Owain has been helping hide Art from the Nazis, but we soon find out what he really has been doing, and it makes you want Rhys to find him even more.
One of the things I liked most about this book, is that right from the start you know it’s a quest, a journey and the character has a goal to achieve. I always enjoy that in a book. It’s sets up the possibility of a great story, and this book achieves that. I was hooked from the first chapter. I enjoyed every page of this beautiful book, eager to find out if the quest was completed.
What a journey Rhys and Charlotte go on. It is thrilling, this whole book is thrilling. So many twists and turns happen along the way. It’s what makes this book such a page-turner. I had no idea what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to find out. I genuinely could not put this book down.
Also, whilst Rhys and Charlotte make their way on the journey, they’re being followed by Henrì. And we as the reader, get little snippets from his perspective and it makes the book really interesting. It adds such a different dynamic to the book. We also go back into Rhys’s memories, which were so endearing. Adding yet another layer to this gorgeous story.
My favourite thing about the book is the characters. Rhys and Charlotte are so likeable. They are both complex, brave and real. Rhys is such a wonderful main protagonist that it just makes you want him to find his son even more. Also, the friendship the two form over the journey, and Rhys’s yearning for his son, are the heart of this book. It’s fantastic.
Megan creates such a atmosphere with her writing. You really get the sense of France at the end of the war. You could feel the tension in the characters, the fear. The descriptions of the recently liberated country are so vivid, you can feel the unease as the characters travel around the country. Also, there were moments in the book where I was holding my breath, it was so gripping and intense. I won’t give away any spoilers here, but that ending! It was exactly what it needed to be. The story, the characters, the action are all blended together so seamlessly. It’s a joy to read. It’s all just a testament to the great writing throughout this book from Meghan Holloway.
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. It’s fantastic. The whole book is wonderful from its characters, atmosphere, descriptions and ending. This book would honestly make such an excellent adaptation for tv or film. The whole feel of this book is cinematic.
I received this book from Netgalley and Polis Books in return for an honest and unbiased review. It comes out May 14th and you can preorder now.
Until the next review