Book Review: Mary Rosie's War by Catherine M Byrne

mary rosies war catherine m Byrne book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:
WW2 has been declared. A strange find on the beach gives Mary Rosie the chance to fulfill 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 north of Paris. Johnny has to find a way to get home and to the girl who no longer waits for him.

Leisel is a German Jew who lost her family to the Nazis and has to make her way in Britain, a strange new country while harboring 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.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Published: 6/2018
  • Pages: 284
  • Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
mary rosie's war catherine byrne book review
Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world: “We are still masters of our fate. We are still captain of our souls.”
— Winston Churchill

Why I Chose This Book

When this tour was announced I knew I had to join. I love a good WWII story! 

First Initial Thoughts

This is the third novel I have read so far this year that is taken in place in Scotland. And I couldn't complain! 

Mary Rosie is a 17-year old girl that is pressured by her family and society to marry her childhood friend Johnny. Although she doesn't feel that deep connection and love towards him, as he does towards her. Her Aunt Agatha visits her family and wants Mary to go live with her for a little while, as she can provide a better life (she is well off). However, Chrissie her mother says no. She longs to support the war alongside her friends but also feels pressured to stay at home with her mother. 

Johnny is a shy boy who loves Mary and hopes to marry her someday. I didn't really like him at first and found him to be aloof to his relationship with Mary. However, we see him grow up a bit when he goes off to war later on in the story. 

Liesel is a young girl with a baby out of wedlock. She is a Jew that fled her home country and tells everyone she is 'Christian'. I felt kind of bad for her because she was surrounded by people who spoke badly of Jews. But that is what it was like unfortunately during the war. 


Catherine did her research on this one. I didn't know what really happened in Scotland during the war. We are taught about England but not so much Scotland in School. So it was a nice change. And of course I love Scotland and she brought out the country so well. 

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
— Matthew 24:6-7

Final Thoughts

The whole book goes through each person's perspective - Mary, Chrissie, Johnny, and the other characters. I really appreciated that as we get a different perspective on the war and how it affects them. 

Mary Rosie really grows up in this story. She started off very naive in my opinion. But we all have been young and have learned our own mistakes in relationships. I think this story emphasizes that. I really appreciate that because - we all don't meet our 'prince charming' right away. She realizes that her family is what is most important and true love isn't what's told in fairy tales. It takes time to love one another. 

My favorite couple out of the whole story was Chrissie and Sinclair. They were just too adorable! I love when two older people fall in love (gushing over here). Chrissie was definitely hesitant about starting a relationship with Sinclair because her husband was the love of her life. But we all should get second chances at love, right? 

Overall this story reminded me of how war changes us. How life, in general, changes us. We go through many life changes, as we are young and old. What we do after those life changes, ultimately shapes us. 

Would I Recommend? 

Yes. It's a clean read with lots of hard lessons to learn from. I think anyone would enjoy this one. 

About The Author

Mary Rsies War - Author

Catherine Byrne always wanted to be a writer. She began at the age of eight by drawing comic strips with added dialogue and later, as a teenager, graduated to poetry.  Her professional life, however, took a very different path.  She first studied glass engraving with Caithness Glass where she worked for fourteen years. During that time she also worked as a foster parent.  After the birth of her youngest child, she changed direction, studying and becoming a chiropodist with her own private practice.  At the same time, she did all the administration work for her husband's two businesses, and this continued until the death of her husband in 2005.  However, she still maintained her love of writing and has had several short stories published in women's magazines.  Her main ambition was to write novels and she has now retired in order to write full time.

Born and brought up until the age of nine on the Island of Stroma, she heard many stories from her grandparents about the island life of a different generation. Her family moved to the mainland at a time when the island was being depopulated, although it took another ten years before the last family left.

 An interest in geology, history and her strong ties to island life have influenced her choice of genre for her novels.

Since first attending the AGM of the Scottish Association of Writers in 1999, Catherine has won several prizes, commendations and has been short-listed both for short stories and chapters of her novels. In 2009, she won second prize in the general novel category for ‘Follow The Dove’ 

In 2016 The Road to Nowhere won second prize in the Barbara Hammond competition for Best Self Published novel. The follow-up, Isa’s Daughter won 1st prize in the same competition the following year.

Although the books follow the fortunes of the same family, they are all stand-alone.

The fifth book in the Raumsey series is  Mary Rosie’s War.

Catherine Byrne lives in Wick, Caithness.

Social Media Links –

Giveaway time!

1st Prize – all 4 of Catherine Byrne’s previous books in paperback. 
6 x Runners Up Prizes – Paper Back copy of Broken Horizon  (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


You can purchase the book ---> HERE (it's on Kindle Unlimited right now!) 

Good luck to those that enter the giveaway! 

Who else enjoys reading stories from WWII? Share in the comments your favorite WWII book! 

the caffeinated bibliophile