Featured Review: The Sins of Soldiers by S J Hardman Lea

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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MarisaRose
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Featured Review: The Sins of Soldiers by S J Hardman Lea

Post by MarisaRose » 28 Feb 2017, 15:05

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Sins of Soldiers" by S J Hardman Lea.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Sins of Soldiers by S J Hardman Lea tells the fictional tale of Anson Scott, an American journalist undercover as a British soldier during World War I. Anson’s mission is to understand and report on the daily life of British soldiers fighting on the Western Front; if caught, he could be tried and convicted as a traitorous spy, a designation that surely warrants the death penalty. Much to Anson’s surprise, he finds solace in his comrades as well as in the life of a soldier. Anson must decide what type of soldier he will be when his best friend’s life is threatened by Company Captain Tollman. The Sins of Soldiers is as much a tale of war as it is a tale love and loss and what makes us human.

Though the narrative is written through the point of view of Anson, this does not detract from the overall feeling of well-developed characters. The author expertly gives insight into the background of other characters through Anson’s experiences. David Alexander and Captain Tollman, both incredibly pivotal characters, are both developed to full capacity. Through Anson’s eyes, we see Alexander and Tollman exuding personality traits that showcase the good and evil they represent. The actions of the main characters, though not always predictable, always make sense.

The emotion and imagery expressed in the author’s writing style were by far the most enjoyable aspects of the novel. It was easy to picture the war ridden fields and quaint French streets on which the story unfolds. Further, the use of foreshadowing by the narrator provides a sense of anticipation as well as an emotional awareness of impending ruin. Anson is a strong narrator with strong emotions that translate easily to the reader. For example, one pivotal scene halfway through the story finds Anson realizing how deeply he feels at home in the company of the other soldiers. Through Anson’s narration of this revelation, his sense of camaraderie and purpose emanated through the pages.

The only flaw worth mentioning is the overall pacing of the novel. The first half of the story progresses rather slowly; we are taken through the day to day life and feelings of a soldier. Though certain aspects of this storytelling were interesting and in some cases, compelling, the first half of the book tended to drag. It isn’t until the halfway point that any true notions of suspense occur. However, it is notable that the climactic events are all drawn together by events taking place earlier in the book and therefore, though the pacing could have been better, at least it did not feel like any sections of the book were pointless.

Despite the sometimes sluggish pacing of the novel, The Sins of Soldiers is an enjoyable and provocative read. The author foregoes overloading the reader with burdensome historical facts and focuses more on the human element. Therefore, I happily rate The Sins of Soldiers 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction and general fiction.

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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Mar 2017, 09:22

It sounds very interesting. I think we could use more novels that are written from the point of view of a soldier. I'm uncertain whether I would like this one, though, because of the dragging in the first part of the story. Thanks for the nice review though!
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Post by MarisaRose » 01 Mar 2017, 09:31

kandscreeley wrote:It sounds very interesting. I think we could use more novels that are written from the point of view of a soldier. I'm uncertain whether I would like this one, though, because of the dragging in the first part of the story. Thanks for the nice review though!
Thank you for the kind words! The novel definitely provides an interestering perspective. Worth a try!
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Post by gali » 01 Mar 2017, 15:01

It sounds too slow for my taste, but it sounds like an interesting read. I am glad you enjoyed it and found it a provocative read. Good job on the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by MarisaRose » 01 Mar 2017, 15:34

gali wrote:It sounds too slow for my taste, but it sounds like an interesting read. I am glad you enjoyed it and found it a provocative read. Good job on the review!
Thank you! I can understand that this one may not be for everyone :)
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 03 Mar 2017, 08:52

Great review! Sounds a bit slow, but I would probably enjoy it just the same. I love that the characters are well-developed and real.
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Post by Lest92 » 08 Mar 2017, 08:36

Slow or not, reading this one seems worth it - the human element in the work reminds me of All Quiet on the Western Front, so definitely a book I'd like to read. Congratulations on finding such an outstanding book to review:)

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Post by muqeet ahmad » 08 Mar 2017, 14:06

best story i totally loved great work by the author i always enjoy reading these type of books i thinks more books should be published based on world war 1 or 2

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Post by Acwoolet » 09 Mar 2017, 19:37

Great review! It sounds like an interesting book from a unique prospective!

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Post by abhishek7081 » 12 Mar 2017, 01:47

The Sins of Soldiers is a captivating tale of love, loss and the First World War. It will certainly appeal to those interested in the period and the human impact that occurred as a result of war.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 12 Mar 2017, 12:05

Lest92 wrote:Slow or not, reading this one seems worth it - the human element in the work reminds me of All Quiet on the Western Front, so definitely a book I'd like to read. Congratulations on finding such an outstanding book to review:)
I was thinking about All Quiet on the Western Front as I read this review too.
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Post by Owonikoko Olushola » 17 Mar 2017, 07:36

Quite interesting, think about the loss, the love, war front, spying, courage summon (a journalist turning to soldier )and others. It's the best.

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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 23 Mar 2017, 09:07

Sounds like a great book not just of war but of love and life. I 'm not much into war books as I get too emotional when I read one, but this sounds like something I would enjoy. Great job on the review. Congratulations to S J Hardman Lea on such an obviously well written book.

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Post by mehmetakkoch » 25 Mar 2017, 20:56

Telling the truths needs courage. The Soldier in the book is absolutely fighting against/for himself in order to reveal what is going on during the war and relief his consience from all happenings in these hard time. Maybe the book is the outcome of his big pyscological conditions. It is pretty impresing....

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Post by Jaime Lync » 26 Mar 2017, 12:09

This book sounds really interesting...your review makes me think of 'But can the phoenix sing' by Christa Laird, a historical fiction novel that really captivated me.

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