BookBrowse Reviews Two Storm Wood by Philip Gray

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Two Storm Wood

A Novel

by Philip Gray

Two Storm Wood by Philip Gray X
Two Storm Wood by Philip Gray
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  • Published:
    Mar 2022, 384 pages


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About this Book



Two Storm Wood is an immersive blend of World War I fiction, thriller and romance.

Philip Gray's historical novel Two Storm Wood received an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from our First Impressions readers. Gray has co-authored thrillers under the name Patrick Lynch, and has published previous novels, including The Einstein Girl and The Valley of Unknowing, as Philip Sington.

What the book is about:

This is a compelling novel that combines historical fiction, suspense, romance and social commentary, and has all the best elements of each. The story alternates between two timelines: the latter part of WWI and just after the war. Amy Vanneck's secret fiancé, Edward, has enlisted late in the war, having been forced to do so by the influence of her parents… Amy travels to France to try to recover his body after he goes missing in action. As she searches for his corpse amidst the horrors of the trenches, she uncovers the scene of a gruesome mass murder. Soon she is mired in an investigation, not knowing who to trust amongst the military on the scene (Rebecca H).

Readers found the novel immersive and engaging.

From the very first pages, I loved every word. It's one of those moments when style and cadence competes with content, or it could be the other way around because the content grabbed me right away and then I noticed how the style complemented my immersion in the story. This was true all the way through this gorgeous story of an English regiment in World War I, fighting in France, and Amy Vanneck's search for her fiancé who is described as "missing in action" (M K). The scenes of combat and wartime devastation are gripping… There were a number of times I found myself reading and thinking the story would make for an engaging movie (Kimberly C).

Some warned that the descriptions of battle, while a realistic portrayal of the horrors of war, may be upsetting for those sensitive to violence and gore.

The graphic descriptions of the violence and atrocities of war may deter some readers (Martha G). It's a dark book filled with grief. Parts of it were difficult to read but weren't there for shock value (Susan R).

However, many appreciated the realism and high level of historical detail…

Philip Gray's writing style and descriptions are powerful, and sometimes graphic, so you can almost feel the goosebumps and sodden discomfort of the cold downpour of rain, or the frightening echoes of those that were lost in the brutal trench warfare (Mary F). One thing that piqued my interest was the fact that Edward became addicted to cocaine and opium during his military life… This led me to discover that use of mind-altering substances was often widely sanctioned and encouraged in both World Wars (see Beyond the Book). This and other aspects of the book will prompt many discussion areas for book clubs (Virginia M). Having read many novels based on WWI, I had never read any dealing with the subjects raised in this title. I won't mention those that are spoilers, but I honestly had never thought about who was responsible for retrieving the thousands of soldiers lost in the war (Renee T).

...and the mystery of the novel proved intriguing, even to those less inclined towards war fiction.

Military battlefields are not my favorite scene for a novel… Much to my surprise, the book kept me enthralled, wanting to read on! I found myself intrigued to uncover along with Amy the various connections and associations of the characters to solve the mystery of what really happened to Edward Haslam (Anne M). This is the best thriller I have read in quite some time. A woman goes to the battlefields of the Great War to search for her fiancé, missing and presumed dead…in spite of the descriptions of some of the horror she sees, this book will have you on the edge of your seat 'til the very last page (Lesley F).

This review first ran in the April 6, 2022 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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