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The Spider and the Sparrow

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  52 reviews
May 1915. After tragedy strikes during the Second Battle of Artois, Frenchman Julian Olivier will do anything to get out of the trenches. So when British Intelligence recruits him to spy behind enemy lines, he jumps at the opportunity. Just before he begins, however, he has a chance encounter with a young French woman who leaves his heart marked for the remainder of the wa ...more
Paperback, 291 pages
Published February 1st 2016 by Covenant Communications Inc.
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  141 ratings  ·  52 reviews


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A.L. Sowards
Nov 05, 2015 marked it as books-i-wrote  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my fifth novel. It takes place during a new time period for me (WWI instead of WWII), and it’s a new subgenre too. I’d classify my previous novels as historical thrillers; this one is historical fiction. The plot revolves around several characters working against a German spy and sabotage ring during the Great War, and the book is about how those characters survive (or try to survive) the war.

So who are the characters?

First, there’s Julian Olivier, a French infantryman with an Alsatian
...more
Paul
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I was sent an advanced copy for the purpose of reviewing this book, but it did not influence my review.

This is another outstanding work by A. L. Sowards, and it’s the fifth book I’ve read by the author. Like the previous novels, the research is impeccable, and the story – while essentially a love story – incorporates the historic events into the narrative; they are not merely setting for the story, but the events are woven into the thread of the plot. This attention to history i
...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
I want to start by gushing and letting everyone know that I think A.L. Sowards is an amazing writer. This is her fifth book, and it is the fifth book of hers I have read. I know every time I will find an excellent book that brings the time period to life for me. She researches the period and the battles, it shows in her writing.

This story focuses on WWI. Julian is the first character we are introduced to. He is fighting in the trenches for France. It is miserable! He is miserable. After an injur
...more
Katie W
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-clean, war, wwi
I remember when I was young after my great-grandma passed away--we were cleaning out her house and came across a "hidden" panel in a wall, where we found my great-grandpa's WWI gas mask. I remember wondering about what he went through and what that mask had seen. I'm not sure where it ended up, but I do know that this story really brought that period of time alive for me.

I love a book that has a few different story lines that are woven together in a way that binds them in unexpected ways. It alw
...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
THE SPIDER AND THE SPARROW was another superb release from this author! I frankly do not know how she does it... How she immerses the reader in this historical and terrible time in history where your emotions are pulled in every which way. Emotions of devastation, heartbreak, but also determination that these characters will do what they can, and hope for the future, for a future with the possibility of love. The tensions and suspense grows throughout the story until the climax at the end when y ...more
Mara
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novels that take place during wars were not something I read before reading A.L. Soward's book Defiance which takes place during WWII. Reading that book opened me up to enjoying books of that genre, if they're well written, which hers are. She brings the stories to life with her writing and as a bonus, I learn a lot because of her meticulous research.

This one is set in WWI in France and Germany, and intertwines the lives of French soldier Julian Olivier, Canadian pilot Warren Flynn, and a Frenc
...more
Melanie
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is only the second book I've read by this author, but she is quickly becoming a favorite. This book takes place during WWI and it's well researched and well written. I felt like I was witnessing what was happening firsthand.

Julian is French and wants to get out of the trenches so he becomes a spy. Before he leaves, though, he meets a French woman and continues to think about her even though he never learned her name. He lives with a German family and comes to truly care about them and what
...more
Charissa
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, historical-war
This WWI historical fiction opened my eyes to a piece of history I wasn’t very familiar with. Yes, I learned about WWI in school, but this book made me feel like I was there…and it wasn’t pretty. I slunk around in the trenches with French soldiers. I soared in rickety fighter planes with a Canadian pilot and watched men and burning planes fall from the sky. I followed spies around and discovered how they sent their secret codes and felt the drama of wondering if they would be caught as the sun r ...more
Ranee Clark
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I. Love. This. Book.

Both of the World Wars are a fascinating time for me, but I've spent most of my time studying World War II. The time period around the first world war is just so super fascinating though, and the author did a fantastic job of weaving in historical details with the story. I felt so immersed in it. I loved the romance of it, the action, the look into the awful life of soldiers and those at home. I love how the author didn't paint the Germans as all-evil villains, and how all th
...more
Rebecca
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. A World War I novel that's fast-paced with lots of plot twists (and even some romance; my fav!). I don't know if you've read A. L. Sowards' books before, but she writes amazing historical fiction with details that blow my mind. Seriously, I'm not sure how she knows all that she does about WWI weapons, strategy, politics, and airplanes. Pretty cool. Her previous books have been WWII, but this one is set a few years earlier, during WWI, in France and Germany.

Bev Walkling
I was very pleased to be given a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. I had already purchased, read and enjoyed A.L. Sowards earlier trilogy set in World War Two and was excited to read another book set in the Great War Era.

One thing that I found particularly interesting was that one of the main characters, Julian Olivier (also known as the Spider) was a French "poilu" Almost all Great War novels that I have read have been written from the viewpoint of someone from Britain, USA o
...more
Mike
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Note: I received this free copy of The Spider and the Sparrow from the author, A.L Sowards, with the expectation that a review would follow. A.L. is a Goodreads friend and I always pay attention to her comments and book reviews. This is the first book of hers that I have read (although I do have another of her books on the shelf-purchased from Amazon) Here is my review:

This 3.5 Star WWI novel opens with this great first paragraph:

May 1915, Artois Province, France

THE SKY RAINED WATER DROPLETS and
...more
Cathy
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have loved every one of A.L. Sowards' books. They really make history jump off the pages for me. I love the way that she is able to incorporate love stories into the harsh landscape of these wars.

I loved the characters, and the way that you see things from multiple points of view. In this one you see things through Evette's, Claire's, Warrens and Julian's points of view and they each have a very different point of view.

Evette is a young French peasant woman trying to escape her abusing half
...more
Olivia
I hate how relieved I feel to finish this. It has so much good potential, and I can't say everything about it is annoying, but in general I just couldn't ever get into it despite my fascination for the First World War.

So the characters....Warren Flynn (the RFC pilot), Claire Donovan, Julian Olivier (French soldier...I love his name which is one thing in his favour!), and Evette something-or-other. I can't say I grew attached to any of the characters, although I would say Warren is the best of th
...more
Cami Checketts
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How to convey how much I love this book? Hmm. First of all, I couldn't stop reading, even though I had dozens of obligations I needed to keep and cute boys begging for my attention. I'd sneak into the bathroom and read, my boys worried I was sick. Second of all, it's just so good! Action, romance, heart-wrenching stories of the war, family drama, characters that you can't help but love.
I would highly recommend this book and anything A.L. Sowards writes.
Shauna
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
War stories intrigue me! The people have such a passion to do anything to aid in the 'war effort.' Lives are put on the line, but lives are also being lost, so if they can help, they will--Such bravery!
I cannot even imagine being a spy, or being put in a war prison, or trying to escape enemy territory--within these pages you will experience it all. This book is one that you will want to read!
So well written you will feel as if you are right there too-
Sara
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This WWI novel has it all--action, intrigue, romance, and suspense. So nice to read a novel that is clean and has characters with real values! Never read anything by A.L. Sowards before and I look forward to reading more of her novels. Her attention to detail is impressive and I feel like I really learned things about the Great War.
LAWonder10
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was amazing tale - based on factual events - of the horrors of war, espionage with touches of romance. It brought to life, some of the inhumane treatment men and women struggle with during war times, without the gruesome detail. Many of those not out on the front, are unaware, but often suffer economically. Although this is the setting of WW1, it greatly applies to all wars. The setting of this tale is in historical France and Germany, just prior to and after the U.S. involvement. It is a l ...more
Sara
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot.
Lisa Johnson
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Title: The Spider and the Sparrow
Author: A. L. Sowards
Pages: 341
Year: 2016
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
My rating is 5 stars.
This author pens a wonderful intriguing tale involving spies, intelligence passing between parties from different nationalities and tension with each page. I loved how various characters were crafted in a way readers knew whose side they were on while others were harder to know their stance. There was authenticity in the novel shown not just in the war sequences,
...more
Melissa McShane
I requested this book after recently meeting the author and wanting to read something she'd written. I like historical fiction, though WWI is not a period I've read much about, and this was a gripping adventure story that kept me interested from beginning to end. The story centers on espionage in World War I; the Spider of the title is Julian Olivier, a German-speaking Frenchman sent to spy on the Krupp munitions factory, and the Sparrow is Evette Touny, involved in counterespionage in Paris. Th ...more
 The Flipped Page (Susan K)
I received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Romance, clean
While I started out listing this as romance, the main story line is really the espionage and the subterfuge behind the group trying to infiltrate and cause havoc in Paris. The story is set in WWI.
This was a beautifully written story. There are multiple interrelated story lines going on, and two romances. The subtle interweaving of the story lines, the intermingling stories worked well for me as a reader. The suspense to see
...more
Jana Brown
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found out about this book after attending several events where the author was present. Each time the cover and blurb caught my attention and when I had a chance to read I happily took it, and I'm glad I did.

I'll admit that a WWI romance is a bit outside of my usual reading, but I found this one thoroughly enjoyable. The setting of WWI was a fascinating one, giving some of the flavor of a traditional war romance, but with the specifics of WWI. The opening scenes in the trenches of France are po
...more
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love when stories are based on real events in history and take me to a place I've never been before. I think it's so important to remember events like WWII and the people who fought and lost so much. It was such a terrible time in history- so much suffering.

This book brings in characters from several countries and follows them in their separate plights that eventually all link together. It incorporates the ground battles, the air men and their
...more
Kim  Dennis
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Had I known how much I was going to enjoy this book, I probably wouldn't have started it when I did. I had a lot of grading that needed to be done, and I was totally distracted by the book. I was listening to it as an audio book, but I also have a hard copy of the book. When I first started listening, it took all my self-control not to ditch my grading and read. However, as I neared the end (and I found myself doing other things and listening so that I could get more of the story in), I finally ...more
Lela
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WW1, action, espionage, and romance

It isn’t often an author is able to represent both sides of a conflict in a compassionate and respectful way. Sowards does that in this book. You see the human side of war and how neither side escapes the tragedy.
I enjoyed the characters, action and light romance in this book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good novel.
Gail Tavis
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, It has a little mystery, adventure and romance in it. Ms Sowards really described the 1st World War well, I knew a lot of what she described but also learned some new things. I have enjoyed all her books and keep saying the one I am reading is my favorite, but I have to say I think this one is my favorite.
Christine
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, good flow between characters and excellent twist and turns. A wonderful novel base on World War 1 with spies and lovers.
Susan
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
War stories are not my favorite genre so I'm sure I would've enjoyed it more had it not taken place during WWI.
Kathleen Anderson
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A WW1 spy novel that we listened to on cd. It was good for entertaining us while we traveled but it was a bit predictable.
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I love books, so that makes Goodreads my favorite social media site. As a reader, I enjoy a variety of books. As a writer, I create historical novels with a wholesome mix of action, adventure, and romance. My novels include a Whitney Award winner and several Whitney finalists.

I grew up in Washington State, then came to Utah to attend BYU. I’m still in Utah, where I live with my husband, three chil
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