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Love & Retribution

A wartime story of love, loss and revenge

(8 customer reviews)
Authors: Catherine McCullagh
03/Jan/2022
Historical Fiction, World War II
400
Paperback
153mm x 230mm
9781922488770
$29.99

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It’s July 1943 and the world has been at war for almost four long years. One morning, young widow Emmy Penry-Jones discovers two men washed up on the beach below her house on the west coast of Cornwall. Emmy is used to rescuing washed-up sailors, the deadly Battle of the Atlantic exacting a heavy toll on shipping. But these men are not like the shipwrecked sailors she has rescued before and Emmy is soon drawn into a web of intrigue that will test both her ingenuity and her patriotism. Rocked by accusations of war crimes against a man she knows to be innocent, Emmy launches a bid to defend him, all too aware that the accusers could turn on her. The trial marks a turning point and Emmy is drawn further into a deadly cycle of post-war retribution from which only one man can save her.

Catherine McCullagh

Catherine McCullagh

Catherine McCullagh is a highly respected editor and author. She has worked as an editor and advisor on numerous military and Australian history books and has two published works to her name, Willingly into the Fray, a narrative history of the first 100 years of Australian Army nursing, and War Child, the true story of […]

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8 reviews for Love & Retribution

  1. Catherine McCullagh once again gives us a page-turner that reflects her meticulous historical research. Set mainly in Britain in World War II, Love and Retribution vividly portrays the impact of war on the lives of both ordinary citizens and men in battle, focusing on choices made in times of fear and uncertainty. A tale with many twists, the story is dominated by love, grief and revenge and is set against the backdrop of pitiless conflict. This is Catherine McCullagh’s third book, and I would highly recommend all three. Now, I’m looking forward to the next one!

  2. Love and Retribution is a pacey, well-structured story with a tightly woven plot and realistic characterisation. I loved the richness of the descriptions of life in a Cornish fishing village and others set amid the carnage and destruction of war. I particularly enjoyed the breadth of the plot, which transports the readers from the cliffs of western Cornwall to the grim horror of the shattered ruins of Hamburg and then to blitzed and battered London in the grey misery of winter. The characters were complex and edgy and I found myself caring deeply about their fate. Love and Retribution is a great read!

  3. Love and Retribution opens with an innocent rescue. From there the story unfolds within an authentic and detailed illustration of life in wartime England, quickly giving way to adventures rich in revelation, subterfuge and fiery passion. Plot twists to make your palms sweat run concurrently with heartbreaking studies of the human condition. This story is a vivid reminder that even the quietest of lives can attract the most unforeseen of circumstances.

  4. Love and Retribution gives the reader an insight into the inner worlds of some of the people and communities affected by World War II. Much of the story is situated in the fictional Cornish fishing village of Tot where Emmy, briefly married and now widowed with the death of her husband at Dunkirk, moves to her parents’ house to care for her ageing mother and father. Her life is changed one morning when she rescues two shipwrecked sailors who have been washed up on the beach. What happens next takes the reader into the worlds, lives and different perspectives of those living through and affected by the war.

    Given Tot’s position on the Cornish coast, we learn about battles between the German U-boats and Allied navies and the fight for intelligence both during and after the war. Morals, ethics and values are called into play. The strength of community, friendship, family and allegiances is tested and shines through. The story is gripping, moving, suspenseful, yet there is humour and light-heartedness amongst the fear and pain. Love, compassion and hope win over fear, nastiness and selfishness. Emmy proves to be a strong woman, standing by her values, morals and ethics, as do others, while they are tested by those who behave badly. The beautiful descriptions, images and engaging narrative take the reader on an immersive journey, stepping back in time many decades. Readers will often find themselves not only asking ‘what would I have done in this situation?’ but also ‘what will I do when I’m faced with adversity; what kind of person do I aspire to be?’

  5. Love and Retribution is the latest historical novel by Catherine McCullagh. While her previous novels were set in occupied France, in this one, the setting is shifted to Cornwall in England during World War II. The book tells the story of an impossible love set against desperate times in a Britain weighed down by war.

    Main protagonist Emmy is a memorable character — a perky, sassy heroine who is forced to balance loyalty to her family and country with her desire to love and be loved. Her counterpart, Max, is an atypical hero whose past comes to haunt him in a variety of unexpected ways.

    The setting in Cornwall highlights some of the lesser known aspects of the war in Europe and the background history is researched with great detail and accuracy.

    The story is easy to read and will appeal to readers interested in both war history and historical romance.

  6. With a backdrop of the beautiful coast of Cornwall, Love and Retribution describes life in a seaside village during World War II. When two men are washed ashore, young widow Emmy will be thrust into a life of love, upheaval and drama. Meticulous research by Catherine McCullagh describes a world of intrigue, passion and revenge as the story moves from Cornwall to London to Europe. A page-turner!

  7. This is a novel I highly recommend to lovers of historical fiction with a focus on WW2. It slips a wedge in your heart and stirs up your mind. It leads you to question and think about loyalties and appearances— particularly in war. A nice romantic triangle maintains the human thread as it weaves its way through the war’s dark tapestry; drawing us in at a personal level. For this story is not just a history lesson weighted down with facts and figures of WW2. The relationships make it real and provide a vibrant beating heart to which we can connect.

  8. A fictional story that creates believable characters based on real events can be a tall task. But Catherine has delivered well and shown us that war is not just a machine led by faceless men. Through her careful design and fascinating cast, we experience what it is like to live through loss and betrayal. And how love and faith can and has helped many endure. For the bloodiness of war can paint a grim picture of humanity. Yet still there were and are real heroes who braved its challenges and torments. And survived. ‘Love and Retribution’ offers a positive resolution to suffering—and that there are such things as second chances and happy endings. I sincerely recommend this 5 Star novel.

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