Tag: John R McKay

Book Review: The Sun Will Always Shine by John R. McKay

Not long ago I featured author John R McKay on my Northern Reads series. I was so fascinated with his WWI novel, The Sun Will Always Shine, that I had to read it.

Oh, friends, I’m glad that I did. I was introduced to McKay’s work with his WWII novella, V for Victory, so I was hoping for great things, and he delivered.

What I love about McKay’s writing is his ability put you into the shoes of the characters, and he did it straight away. His characters are nuanced and I felt I was in the middle of the dysfunctional Davenport family with man about town but abusive father Alfie, his cowering wife, sympathetic but abused daughter, and two sons, Charlie and Harry, that have a love/hate relationship with their father.

It’s a tale that sucker-punches you from the beginning until the heartbreaking end. Brothers Charlie and Harry have different ways of coping with life and conflict, and their actions after their father mysteriously disappears, including their reasons to join up in the Great War are prime example.

Every character in The Sun Will Always Shine is so well-developed that just like in life, while we think we have someone figured out, we truly never know them.

McKay’s evocation of the time and place beautiful and his local knowledge of his native Lancashire is on full display. While I’m not a huge fan of battle scenes, it’s clear that the author’s research is impeccable. What drives this story, however, are brothers Charlie and Harry. Their experiences during the war set against the lives they are trying to leave behind will keep you reading.

I was so hooked into this novel that I read it easily in a day or two. Well recommended. Five stars.

The Sun Will Always Shine by John R. McKay

To purchase on Amazon, click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IVBN25E/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Book Review: The Darkest Hour

 

 

darkest-final-new-kindle

Today on my blog I’m honored to review the stunning historical fiction anthology The Darkest Hour: A WWII Tales of Resistance featuring novellas by Roberta Kagan, Jean Grainger, Marion Kummerow, Ellie Midwood, Alexa Kang, Mary D. Brooks, Deborah Swift, Kathryn Gauci, John R. McKay, and Ryan Armstrong.

Full disclosure, grab a box of Kleenex and your favorite beverage with this book because you will need it. I connected with characters in such a way I was right there with them. I wish I could say that I read it all in one sitting, but I frequently found myself recovering from such a powerful collection of stories.

I will be the first to admit that I sobbed like a baby with Roberta Kagan’s Bubbe’s Nightingale. I rallied on some fierce heroines in Jean Grainger’s Catriona’s War, Alexa Kang’s The Moon Chaser, Mary D. Brook’s Enemy at the Gates, and Kathryn Gauci’s Code Name Camille. I felt the unbelievable struggle in deciding to choose between your husband and everything else in Marion Kummerow’s Reluctant Informer and Deborah Swift’s The Occupation. I felt right back in Prague in Ellie Midwood’s Killing the Hangman as two brave Czech operatives carried out the perilous mission of assassinating Reinhard Heydrich.  I was swept up with Charles’s small display of protest in  John McKay’s V for Victory as he proved that even small measures can help win a war. I was absolutely terrified for American teen Charles who had the mother of all worst uncles in Ryan Armstrong’s Sound of Resistance. (Seriously, you will need your favorite beverage of choice on that one. I will warn that the language and content was hard to stomach).

As a writer of a teenager heroine in the first book of my series, I will note that loved seeing courageous teens in this anthology. I felt the pain of Brook’s Zoe as she resolved to fight for her Greek homeland after losing her father. I cheered on McKay’s Charles on as he took chalk and paint and boldly marked V for Victory and Vive La France while waiting for his father to come home after being taken prisoner of war. I felt a bond with Armstrong’s Charlie with his love for jazz records amidst his uncle Erich’s brutality.

What always moves me with stories both as a writer and a reader is when I feel so strongly for the character, and each of these ten stories deliver. I loved too the variety of the ages and nationalities of these risk-taking, rule-breaking characters. They were awe-inspiring in courage and heroism. I loved them so much that I am buying more of their work to continue the story.

If you are looking for a good read that will warm these cold winter nights, please read The Darkest Hour. All proceeds go to a worthy cause at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. If you’re ever in D.C, please go visit this museum. It will fill you with more stories of courage and inspiration amidst darkness.

To purchase your copy, click here: https://amzn.to/2R8uWgg