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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you enjoy dramatic fiction that blends a heart-tugging story with historical events, A Song for a Soldier by Emily Daniels is for you. Centered around the World War I “Christmas Truce of 1914,” it follows the lives of two men and their families in the period leading up to and after the Truce event itself. Both men, ordinary soldiers in the armies of England and Germany, are so affected by what they experience during the Truce that their feelings about war and killing the “enemy” can only change. In addition, the effect of the war on their loved ones and neighbors back home is sympathetically portrayed.
In A Song for a Soldier, Daniels gives us an engaging and emotionally evocative narrative. The characters are well defined and become believable and relatable to the reader. The plot moves along at a good pace, punctuated with periods of suspense and sadness as it alternates between the men on both sides of “No Man’s Land” and their families in England and Germany. Juxtaposed against the thoughts and actions of the men on the front lines are the orders of the senior and mid-grade officers over them. While this story is certainly appropriate for the Christmas season, its underlying theme of amity and understanding is timeless and goes beyond the setting of a single holiday or military event.
“What would happen if the spirit shown during this Christmas truce were to be caught up by the nations of the world?” one of the men wonders. “What if the leaders were to offer well wishes in place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of reprisals? Would not all war end at once?” he asks. “We are more alike than we are different. Why are we led to believe otherwise?” These questions are just as relevant today as they were over a hundred years ago.