Under the Shadow of War by Lawrie Gartside

Title: Under the Shadow of War

Author: Lawrie Gartside

Rating: 3/5


A remarkable account of World War 2, from the declaration through to the rescues at Dunkirk and the London Blitz, with devastating accuracy and observation of how three young people dealt with the serious threat of invasion. The trials and tribulations, fears and apprehensions, are woven through the phases of warfare with outstanding accuracy, thus bringing the reader into the thick of the action.


Under the Shadow of War is a thrilling account of World War 2 from the view of England.  The novel follows three different characters and how their points of view intertwine under the threat of invasion.  I always love a good historical fiction and Under the Shadow of War reveals a point of view that I am not very familiar with.  I enjoyed reading the story to take a crash course in World War 2 England.

However, I was often distracted by the abundant use of adverbs in the writing.  I am not fond of adverbs being used after almost every line of dialogue, and this was the case in Under the Shadow of War.  Too much description was also given after dialogue when the writing would have been better finalized with “he/she said”.  An example of this from the novel is:

“‘We’re still sufferin’ from the last one.’  She shook her head wearily.

‘Huh, so much for appeasement!’ he spat contemptuously, in his Irish brogue.

‘You always said that Chamberlain was was playin’ a dangerous game.’  She added emphatically.'”

The numerous adverbs take away from the dialogue, and it doesn’t allow for the reader to fill in their own ideas of how the characters said a certain line.

But once I moved past the problem with the dialogue, I enjoyed the layout of the story.  The characters were well developed, and Lawrie Gartside did well with organizing events and details.  I enjoyed the historical context and the life experience that Gartside presented.  If some of the over describing aspects of the novel were changed and the story drove the novel more, Under the Shadow of War would be a great historical fiction read to educate the masses on World War 2 England.  I look forward to seeing how Gartside grows as an author.


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