Mary Rosie’s War written by Catherine M Byrne, publisher Overtheord Publishing, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format. The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.
To buy link: https://amzn.to/2K4BJZq
Product Details (as per amazon page)
WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfil her dreams and contribute to her country, but all is not what she imagined.
After witnessing the first bomb to be dropped on mainland Britain, Mary watches her friends leave to join the forces and longs to be with them, but is held back by loyalty to her widowed mother.
France has capitulated. Johnny Allan’s regiment has been annihilated by German troops. Johnny has to evade capture and somehow get home to the girl who no longer waits for him.
Liesel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country, while harbouring a desire for revenge.
Their lives become entangled in a way that no one could have envisaged.
A story about war, family ties, love, loyalty and loss.
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Catherine M Byrne’s latest novel: Mary Rosie’s War.
Catherine M Byrne has kindly offered to share an excerpt from the book for you all:
WW2. France. As the sole survivor of a German attack on his platoon, Johnny finally makes his way to the south of France from where he has to attempt the perilous journey across the Pyrenees to freedom.
When the clock struck midnight they entered the mission where the six weary soldiers, now dressed in the new clothes, stood waiting for instructions. Stuart opened the door. ‘Good, there’s no moon. Collect your gear now.’
He led the men inside where each was issued with a stout pair of boots, a padded jacket and a backpack. ‘These are all donated by helpful French,’ explained Stuart, to Johnny’s unasked question. ‘You will be climbing in the mountains. Be assured, this is no easy walk.’
Once kitted out, the party filed through the door. ‘Keep close to the wall until you get into the country, then stay among the trees as far as you can. Make as little noise as possible until then and stay in single file. You have the map?’
Marie, dressed like a boy, nodded an affirmative. No one spoke until the streets gave way to scattered farm houses. When there was no sign of pursuit, they relaxed and began to chat quietly.
‘Have you always lived here?’ Johnny said to Marie as she fell in step beside him.
She didn’t reply immediately.
‘I think I know your accent,’ she said at last. ‘You are from Scotland, yes?’
‘How do you know that?’ Most foreigners could not tell the difference between the dialects.
‘Many of your countrymen pass through here.’
‘Really? Maybe I know them if they speak like me.’
‘I never ask their names.’
The night was still, with only the whisper of the men’s feet and their low voices.
They walked for a while in silence. ‘Where are you from?’ asked Johnny at last.
‘I will only tell you that I work for the German army, but that is a cover. Leading stranded servicemen to safety, this I chose to do myself. We had to find a way to get your servicemen out of France. Also there are many British living here. They are in grave danger of being incarcerated.’ She fell into silence.
‘Are you English?’ he asked, amazed by her command of the language.
She shook her head. ‘No, but I’ve already said too much.’
When a grey dawn broke the horizon, Marie held up her hand. We will rest during the daytime,’ she said, ‘and travel by night. Ahead is Perpignan and an innkeeper there will provide us with refreshments, then we’ll grab some sleep in his basement.’
The mountains were tall and rugged, sharp peaks reaching into the sky. They looked almost impossible to navigate on foot, but he had to trust Marie to know what she was doing.
Johnny hoped to get her by herself, to get more information from her, but it was as if from then on, she purposely avoided him.
The innkeeper gave them soup, bitter chicory coffee and bread, and he provided them with blankets. In the morning, after a breakfast of broth and coffee, Marie, looking perturbed, held up her hand. ‘I have news that our route has been blocked. We will have to take the alternative.’
Once more, Johnny fell into step beside her. ‘You don’t look too happy,’ he said.
‘I don’t have an easy feeling. This is most unusual, but it is possible the pass has been blocked by an avalanche. And the message seems genuine enough.’
He tried to engage her in further conversation, but she held her fingers to her lips. ‘It is better we remain silent,’ she whispered.
As they ascended, the temperature dropped and the men changed into their boots and heavy jackets. Before long, it began to snow. They had all fallen silent, no sound but the crunch of boots on snow and the high wind through thin pines. In places the ascent was steep and they slipped and struggled to keep a footing. Tired, cold, hungry and footsore they continued to drag themselves uphill. Johnny tried to remember how much he’d loved the snow as a child. It meant many hours of fun: sledging, snowball fights, snowmen, snow houses, running indoors to warm frozen fingers and toes, just to rush out again as soon as possible. He imagined a blazing range, leaping flames, hot soup. Ahead of them, Marie stopped and held up a hand. She tilted her head as though sniffing the air.
‘Get down,’ she shouted, too late.
German soldiers suddenly appeared from behind high rocks and out of gullies, firing indiscriminately. The men dropped like skittles. Johnny grabbed Marie’s arm and together they rolled into a ditch, miraculously dodging the flying bullets. Hardly daring to breathe, they lay still until they could not feel their hands and feet.
Even after the gunfire had ceased, they did not move. Unsure if she was still alive, Johnny reached out to touch Marie, relieved when he heard her intake of breath. He indicated that she should remain as she was, and he inched his way to the top of the chasm where he raised his head enough to see what was happening. A few other men hid nearby. He heard the Germans crashing through the undergrowth, shouting at the men they uncovered to get on their feet, then marching them away at gunpoint, hands on heads.
Johnny slipped back down, put his hand on Marie’s head and held her face against the freezing ground. He dare not even whisper, only hoped she understood the need to lie still, half buried in snow. Surely, after all he had endured, it could not end now, here like this, when he was so near freedom he could almost taste it. All he could do was press his own forehead against the snowy earth, now warmed by his tears.
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The author has kindly offered a Giveaway:
1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback .
6 x Runners Up Prizes – PB copy of Broken Horizon (UK Only)
To enter please click on the link below:
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