4 out of 4 stars
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The Last Soldier by Marsha Landreth is a historical fiction novel that takes place during World War II. The setting is the Channel Islands owned by the British. The English declare it a demilitarized zone, and the Germans invade.
Margaret Ross is conscripted into service in the English army immediately following medical school. Her father, also a doctor, has refused to leave the Channel Islands. Maggie has to take leave to force him to return with her. Unfortunately before they can flee the islands, the Germans invade. Waverly, their homestead, must accommodate German officers. Maggie is approached by the English army and asked to spy for them while living under occupation. One can only imagine what Maggie will be asked to do before the war is over.
This book is written in the third person from Maggie's point of view. As I said above, it takes place during World War II. However, this book does not center around the Jews or concentration camps. It focuses instead on a lone spy living amidst German gestapo. I love that it offers a different perspective on this war. There are so many different events that took place during that time period, and I love this concentration on a woman spying.
The author is also good at employing imagery throughout the novel. From the beginning, Ms. Landreth sets the mood of the story with her descriptive yet fun use of words. The following is one of my favorite sentences showing the author's skill with the English language. "As her pyloric sphincter's spasm brought up the Earl Grey as an inglorious projectile."
The characters are well fleshed out and realistic. We learn about the various Islanders as well as some of the Germans. The Baron is one of the German officers that end up staying with Maggie at Waverly. We learn his story so as to better empathize with him even as a German officer. I enjoyed his interactions with Maggie and her father.
The plot had a great mix of action and story development. I have read books that are so full of action that the story is never really developed, but that isn't the case here. The author helps us to understand the characters' motivations, yet she adds just the right amount of intrigue and suspense to keep the reader involved. It is a story that you can really sink your teeth into.
Overall I give The Last Soldier 4 out of 4 stars. There were a few minor formatting errors I noticed but nothing distracting. The story was good and the characters enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction.
The Last Soldier
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