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The Single Soldier: Love and secrets collide in a beautiful historical romance

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The brilliant debut novel of renowned actor George Costigan. 'A magnificent, big beast of a book.' - Willy Russell, playwright, musician and novelist It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to everything that matters? In war torn rural France, amongst the devastati The brilliant debut novel of renowned actor George Costigan. 'A magnificent, big beast of a book.' - Willy Russell, playwright, musician and novelist It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to everything that matters? In war torn rural France, amongst the devastation, physical and emotional, of German occupation, a man decides to move his house, using only a cow and a cart, six kilometres to the other side of his village. Where he painstakingly begins to re-build his home. By hand. Why would anyone do such a thing? The war was being won but would he ever find peace? History, passion, love, secrets and painful truths collide in this astonishingly human, warm and emotive debut from writer and actor George Costigan.


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The brilliant debut novel of renowned actor George Costigan. 'A magnificent, big beast of a book.' - Willy Russell, playwright, musician and novelist It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to everything that matters? In war torn rural France, amongst the devastati The brilliant debut novel of renowned actor George Costigan. 'A magnificent, big beast of a book.' - Willy Russell, playwright, musician and novelist It is said that home is where the heart is, but when war rips a young man from everything he knows and loves, will he be able to find his way back to everything that matters? In war torn rural France, amongst the devastation, physical and emotional, of German occupation, a man decides to move his house, using only a cow and a cart, six kilometres to the other side of his village. Where he painstakingly begins to re-build his home. By hand. Why would anyone do such a thing? The war was being won but would he ever find peace? History, passion, love, secrets and painful truths collide in this astonishingly human, warm and emotive debut from writer and actor George Costigan.

47 review for The Single Soldier: Love and secrets collide in a beautiful historical romance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    George Costigan is probably better known for his TV acting roles but I think from now on he's going to be equally recognised as the incredible author of his debut novel "The Single Soldier" published by Urbane Publications. This is a beast of a book with a beast of a storyline and is simply unforgettable. "The Single Soldier" is hugely emotive and will make you stop and think on more than one occasion. Heartbreaking and heartwarming this story contains history, war, passion and love and conveys h George Costigan is probably better known for his TV acting roles but I think from now on he's going to be equally recognised as the incredible author of his debut novel "The Single Soldier" published by Urbane Publications. This is a beast of a book with a beast of a storyline and is simply unforgettable. "The Single Soldier" is hugely emotive and will make you stop and think on more than one occasion. Heartbreaking and heartwarming this story contains history, war, passion and love and conveys how war can impact on even the rural of places and its inhabitants - lives so fragile that they can change and be lost in a heartbeat. Set in war torn rural France, the author is so descriptive you feel you are actually there in France with the varied and diverse characters you have empathy for, who are deeply religious and loyal to their country. It's highly evident to see that there has been intensive research done for this book and George Costigan has clearly transferred his obvious passion on the subject into his book "The Single Soldier". The intelligent and clever writing style is very unique and may or may not be to everyone's tastes but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it will definitely be a book I will return to again in the future. It's beautifully printed too - the likes I have not seen before and I wish George every success with his talented debut novel and rightly deserved too. I really hope to read more by him in the future.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Polly Krize

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. With seemingly simple writing this is a perceptive, sensitive story encompassing war and deprivation. War has taken his home, but he is determined to move it and rebuild...step by step.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** 3.5 stars Full review to come.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Isobel Blackthorn

    Set in France during the German occupation of World War Two, The Single Soldier tells a moving story of a simple farmer and the lives of those who surround him. In a short prologue, Jacques is observed by a child as he uses his cart and cow to move his house from one side of the village to the other. Jacques’ father died in World War One before he was born and his mother is wracked with grief and refuses to leave her bed. While Jacques milks cows and cuts hay and feeds chickens, far away in north Set in France during the German occupation of World War Two, The Single Soldier tells a moving story of a simple farmer and the lives of those who surround him. In a short prologue, Jacques is observed by a child as he uses his cart and cow to move his house from one side of the village to the other. Jacques’ father died in World War One before he was born and his mother is wracked with grief and refuses to leave her bed. While Jacques milks cows and cuts hay and feeds chickens, far away in northern France Simone witnesses the murder of both her parents and flees using a well-trodden escape route. Eventually, she arrives at Jacques farm. Even while the Germans remain far away, under the occupation the villagers’ fear each other, fear the Collaborators, fear the Resistance. Some secretly listen to exiled De Gaulle on the radio. Others are loyal to Vichy France. As the war progresses and the Germans circle nearer and nearer, danger looms and Jacques must choose his fate. The Single Soldier provides not only a gripping dramatization of history, but a deeply moving and at times heart-wrenching story of love and loss, courage and cowardice, and above all, resilience. Strong characterisation is demonstrated throughout, the main characters especially well-honed. The raw simplicity of rural France, the loyalties and the alliances and the divisions are all depicted with acute observation. Costigan gifts his readers a vivid sense of place, bringing south-western France, a mountainous region inland from Burgundy and Bordeaux, to life. I felt I walked with Jacques through the village of St Cirgues and smelled the wine and the pastis as he sat with Jerome and Arbel at the Café Tabac. And I sensed the menace of the German occupation, a dark shadow waiting. Costigan has chosen to write in sparse prose using a deep point of view, a literary style those in the thriller genre will be more familiar with. For readers of a more historical bent wishing for a fluid read, the lack of punctuated dialogue, the complete absence of attributions and the almost abrupt composition might be an affront. Yet this story warrants persevering with, the effort taken in getting used to Costigan’s approach paying dividends not far in, and once mastered, the reader will be rewarded with rich, dense and tremendously evocative storytelling. Some of the best fiction being published today is coming out of the small, independent presses, including the hybrid publishers, those who will take a risk on works that buck trends, that shun the formulaic. As readers we should be prepared to be challenged from time to time. The Single Soldier is a memorable story, haunting and relevant. Costigan has penned a tale to stir the heart. (reviewed for Trip Fiction - https://www.tripfiction.com/novel-set...)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather Kidd

    Ugh. The beginning held promise despite the choppy writing style and jumping back and forth between many characters’ POV. The second chapter hooked me. Simone’s story. The next parts were also interesting until Simone left and then the book fell off a cliff and died a slow agonizing death. The stories lifeblood draining away until suddenly it finally it died. Abruptly. I was left with a sour taste in my mouth and couldn’t believe I wasted so. much. time. reading it. I guess I kept hoping for som Ugh. The beginning held promise despite the choppy writing style and jumping back and forth between many characters’ POV. The second chapter hooked me. Simone’s story. The next parts were also interesting until Simone left and then the book fell off a cliff and died a slow agonizing death. The stories lifeblood draining away until suddenly it finally it died. Abruptly. I was left with a sour taste in my mouth and couldn’t believe I wasted so. much. time. reading it. I guess I kept hoping for some revelation or hope... ugh.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    A fascinating read, although it did take me a while to get used to the narrative voice.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rory

  8. 4 out of 5

    dianne loades

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diners Bookclub

  10. 4 out of 5

    cath kindree

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia Hanak

  12. 4 out of 5

    Philip TUFFIN

  13. 4 out of 5

    Thelastwordreview

    Many will know George Costigan as the theatre, television and screen actor, best known for appearing in the successful hit TV dramas Rita, Sue and Bob Too as well as Happy Valley as well as many theatre productions. The Single Soldier is his debut novel set in France during the German occupation and is just an outstanding success. This is a story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it is big and the passion that runs through the heart of this incredible story-line. There is some much in Many will know George Costigan as the theatre, television and screen actor, best known for appearing in the successful hit TV dramas Rita, Sue and Bob Too as well as Happy Valley as well as many theatre productions. The Single Soldier is his debut novel set in France during the German occupation and is just an outstanding success. This is a story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, it is big and the passion that runs through the heart of this incredible story-line. There is some much in The Single Solider that will stop you and make you think. Set in a village in South Western France tells the story of Jacques who has running the family farm on his own after his father was killed during WWI, it is also a story of Simone a young woman fleeing the onslaught of the German army and has found her way to the farm and has been taken in. She has endured a perilous journey and is lucky to be alive. The war is raging around them and Jacques is trying to maintain the farm he has looked after single handed since he was thirteen. It is not long before war brings both Jacques and Simone together. As the months move on Simone gives birth to a baby boy but now German troops are looking seeking revenge for the activities of the French resistance fighters and it is now too dangerous for Simone and their son to remain on the farm. It is decided that they should leave to stay would put their lives in danger. Now the story become so heartbreaking as Jacques later finds out that Simone and his son have fled Europe. Jacques is now all alone, he cannot follow his family so he does what he has done nearly all his life and that is bury himself in his work on the land. This is the story of how one man moves his entire house via a cart pulled by a cow to rebuild his shattered life after hopes and dreams are destroyed. The war is over now peace returns to rural France but can one man ever again find similar peace. This is simply an outstanding debut novel with so many vivid characters and the storytelling so lifelike that you feel part of the story and the lives the community during those war years. This is testimony to the sacrifice of those who endured and suffered the brutality of the German occupation and the tone is captured superbly. The Single Soldier is beautifully presented by Urbane Publications and this is a book I highly recommend at over 500 pages it is by no means a quick read, but once you have started reading you will quickly come to realise this is a remarkable story. 560 Pages Thank you to Matthew at Urbane Publications for the advanced review copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Woods

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ann Poulsen

  16. 5 out of 5

    cary morgan

  17. 4 out of 5

    anne harwood

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nelly

    Have long admired George Costigan as an actor, and can now add as an author to that. Emotional and descriptive - a real pause for thought book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janice.M.Park

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  22. 5 out of 5

    G.R.Mann

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike Honey

  25. 4 out of 5

    tallaluh vickers

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Holmes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lindstrom

  28. 4 out of 5

    Al

  29. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

  32. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Park

  33. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  34. 4 out of 5

    G.Washbrook

  35. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  36. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  37. 5 out of 5

    Aisling

  38. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

  39. 5 out of 5

    Steven Pilling

  40. 4 out of 5

    Nipu

  41. 5 out of 5

    Catherine North

  42. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

  43. 5 out of 5

    Rose

  44. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

  45. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  46. 4 out of 5

    Ellensreads

  47. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra O'Malley

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