I should like to start here by stating that I love books, and reviewing them for Blogger News is a bit like being a kid in a candy store, with so many interesting new books out there. When I do a review, I want to focus on those things that the writer has done well, and explain to BNN readers exactly why the book that I am reviewing would interest them, and reward their time and attention. I really do not want to slam a book with a bad review, especially if a writer has gone to the trouble of circumventing the literary industrial complex and publishing their book with a POD firm like Booksurge, or Lulu. There are all sorts of fascinating narrations and eccentric voices that are not well served by mainstream publishing. You may as well find a thumping good read among the POD offerings as anywhere else, and if I can help such a book find a larger audience, then I’m quite satisfied.

I really wanted to like “The Cobbler of Normandy”, as it offered an intriguing and dramatic premise; the activities of the French Resistance in Normandy, and the British and American operatives who worked with them in the lead-up to the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. The author has an interesting background, and would seem uniquely suited by his life experience to write such a narration. He has obviously done an enormous amount of research on WWII secret operations, and spent time on the ground in Normandy. It all adds up to almost 600 pages of not-very-well organized episodes, which would still be an exciting and suspenseful read except for two things. He has a tin-ear for dialogue, and no ability to make cardboard cut-out characters come alive. (The scenes of sexual encounters are also pretty cringe-inducing.) And I would have thought that someone with first-hand memories of Nazi occupation would be better able to convey the realities of wartime Europe, six decades ago. According to the materiel in the press kit with the book, Mr. Berliner worked with four different editors, but he would seem to have paid very little attention to any of them.

There is the potential for a good book in “The Cobbler of Normandy” but as it stands with this edition, it’s a first draft in need of a lot of pruning and polish. It is available from the publisher, Booksurge, and from Amazon.com.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer, who lives in San Antonio, and blogs at The Daily Brief. More about her own books is at www.celiahayes.com

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