Review of A Soldier's Quartet

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Review of A Soldier's Quartet

Post by Christieee »

[Following is an official review of "A Soldier's Quartet" by Colin Baldwin.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The First World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Many good men all over the world died. Many innocent Germans who had nothing to do with the war also died. Four German friends, Wolf, Erich, Bruno, and Felix, also known as the Quartet, living in Kleve during that time were also not spared; they were drafted to fight in the First World War. When Conrad Bentley, a retiree in the 21st century, comes in contact with a letter from a German lieutenant informing Herman Deppner of his son’s death in the war, he makes it his mission to uncover the dead soldier’s life. Conrad vows to give him and other soldiers who fought in the war a voice. With a letter of fate finding its way across the world from Germany to Australia a century later, A Soldier’s Quartet details how Conrad revisits history through Wolf and his friends.

Colin Baldwin wrote this book with inspiration from his real-life story. Readers get to see Conrad in the 21st century. But there are also stories and scenes featuring the Quartet and other characters from the 1900s. I enjoyed the flashbacks the most. By going back in time and showing readers beautiful and emotional friendships that the war ruined, the author fulfilled an important requirement of a good book: to make readers feel deeply. The scenes involving the Quartet were especially touching. But I was grateful that the author spared readers too much gore.

I also enjoyed the occasional banter present-day Conrad had with people around him. Conrad was so taken with the project of discovering Wolf’s family that a lot of his time went into researching or talking about it to anyone who would listen. I found his persistence hilarious. I was also entertained when his wife and other friends humored or chastised him.

This book has some fictional elements, like the scenes featuring characters from the 1900s. But it is largely based on true events that are simply not so exhilarating. Readers who are looking for a thrill will not find that here. I found some conversations, especially the ones between Frank and John, stiff and uninteresting. I also felt less keen to get through the parts that were not set in the 1900s. Conrad’s story would have been more engaging if the author had written it in the first person.

The editing was splendid, and the book had a good flow, with occasional light comedy. For these reasons, I rate A Soldier’s Quartet 3 out of 4. I removed a star because I found it lacking persona and engaging dialogue. As I previously stated, the author’s voice would have been more profound if he had told his story in the first person. This book is suitable for most audiences, especially those who are looking for a simple read of rediscovering history, specifically the First World War. The premise of the book is interesting and would make a heartwarming movie, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

A Soldier's Quartet
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Post by Rishi_reviews »

A really interesting story with great plot building and I always like a book which talks about the past. Thanks for the review.
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