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  • Historical Fiction Greece WW II

    In 2014, Andrew arrives for his summer holiday at Lake Michigan with his wife Stephanie, children David and William. Every year they stay with his grandfather Papou and his grandmother Yia Yia at their cottage. Andrew asks his Papou about an old photo he found, he recognizes his grandmother, she’s with a strange man and who is he? Papou decides to finally tell him about the past and his family’s life in Greece; it’s a story about two young men and how war changed their lives. In a small Greek fishing village Agria two baby boys are born on the same night their parents name them Costa and Alexei. Now 18, the young men are best friends and are as close as brothers. When war is declared in 1940 they enlist, leaving Agria for the first time, despite the terrible conditions and no military training they win and defeat the Italian army. Before they depart, Alexei asks his first love Philia to marry him and she accepts. When a victorious Alexei returns from the war he and Philia marry, they make plans for the future and start building a house. Unfortunately their honeymoon was barely over when the young groom and his best friend Costa are needed to fight in another war. The Greek army only had the Metaxas Line between them and the much stronger German army; they had planes, tanks and superior weapons. The Greek army digs in, they reinforced the line and nervously wait for the Germans to arrive. Once We Were Here is a historical fiction saga, it’s about nation’s history, its traditions, a special friendship between two young men and their legacy. Despite the terrible odds against them the Greek army made the German’s advancement through Greece as difficult as possible, of course Costa and Alexei were involved in this. What the Greek soldiers managed to achieve is amazing, it helped the allies eventually win WW II and defect the Germans. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and I gave the book four stars.

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  • Greece and WWII

    We find ourselves in the small coastal fishing village of Agria in Greece, in October 1940, and view life through the eyes of Alexei, a young man, Alexei is a well-read youngster, his heroes are Homer and Aeschylus, Achilles, Odysseus, and Alexander... And his biggest hero, his fisherman father Iannis is also a hero, larger than life. He and his best friend Costa have spent their entire youth training together as long-distance runners, with a dream of Olympic medals in their future, and Alexei is a well-trained fisherman and sponge diver, taking up the slack on the family fishing boat as his father slows down with age and the after-effects of WWI injuries. Alexei has also found his life's partner, Philia Karras, daughter of the richest man in the town, and he has already picked out the family goat he will offer her father in exchange for her hand. Big dreams, huh? And then first the Italian army and then that of Germany work their way through Greece on their way to Athens. Young Greeks answered the call and were able to turn the Italian army back, but they were outnumbered and out equipped by the German machine. Now they must figure out how to retreat and hold their world together as war comes again to Europe and the Middle East. I received a free electronic copy of the ARC of this excellent historical novel from Netgalley, Christopher Cosmos, and Skyhorse Publishing. thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Once We Were Here of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work Christopher Cosmos writes a compelling tale with well-researched background and characters who will warm your heart.

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  • Beautiful Story

    This story of courage, bravery and defiance is a masterpiece that will bring tears to your eyes. This booshines a light on the importance of the Greek resistance during the Second World War in a way that compells and shocks.

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  • A good story

    The story is very good, and the history that entwines it is fascinating. I do feel that a little more editing would have helped make the book’s content deeper. Richer. More moving. An excess of onomatopoeias and the word, “alright” (all wrong for formal writing, in my opinion), took away from the mood, unfortunately. That said, it is interesting to learn more of the events of the time in Greece, a deservedly proud heritage of the writer.

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  • Uneven but riveting

    At times, I was tempted to give this book a three-star review. There are flat bits and one chapter near the end reads like nonfiction. And I could have done without the battle scenes being intersersed with "Bang bang bang! Bang bang!" and "Rat-a-tat-tat!" But the adventure and drama and trauma of the war scenes kept me up reading way too late. I found I coudn't put it down. And it was part of WW2 that I knew nothing about. So I updgraded my rating to four stars.

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