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Publisher's Summary

In the space of a single night, four lives collide as Berlin staggers under the weight of British bombs. Mick, a Lancaster pilot, proposed to Grace on his last leave but one more mission stands in between him and the end of his tour. Grace harbors a secret, one which she fears might change the nature of their relationship forever. Unsure of how he will respond, she has decided to tell him upon his return knowing that to do so risks losing him forever.

Seven hundred miles away in Berlin, war-weary firefighter Karl is haunted by the images he's seen both on the home front and in Russia. Now he takes command of a group of teenage auxiliaries who find themselves on the front lines of Germany's defenses against a nightly rain of fire. On a call, he meets Ursula, a young woman who lives near his station. Karl quickly finds himself falling for her, unaware that she is playing a dangerous game, one which might place his own life in danger.

As the raid unfolds, they face choices which will forever change them, and those they love.

©2019 Brady L Hutchison (P)2019 Brady L Hutchison

What listeners say about So Others May Live

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

More romance that historical fiction but still fun

So Others May Live is more romance than historical fiction. The story is told almost completely through the eyes of two young ladies – Grace and Ursula. They are on opposite sides of the war but both strive to be good people and help those around them. While each woman is employed, the ladies as a whole spend about 75% of their time talking about or thinking about men romantically. That said, the male characters spend about 50% of their time thinking of or talking about the ladies romantically. For me, romance isn’t my cup of tea, so I found the plot a little slow. That said, I can clearly see that the story and characters are well written. So if historical romances are your thing, then I expect this book will shine for you.

Setting the romance aside, I really liked that all the ladies had names and were employed in doing something other than child-rearing or being wooed into marriage. I especially found it interesting that young ladies served as firefighters in Germany, a dangerous job to begin with but add in bombs dropping nearby while you work feverishly to put out the fire in front of you. Very exciting stuff!

Ursula was my favorite character and this was because she was doing some spy work and also her association with a fireman gave us a solid glimpse into the lives of German firefighters during WWII. Ursula is new to spy craft and it shows. She yearns for the old glory of Germany prior to Nazism. So she strives to do what she can to bring that back.

Grace’s fiance Michael provides more insight being from Catholic Ireland. Grace’s family is Protestant and Grace has a family secret she feels she must share with Michael before they wed. I was surprised by her secret (not what I was expecting from the story). Michael gives us a look into the great strain airmen were under during the bombing raids.

Since most of the plot is romance-centric, it plodded along. There’s a little suspense built towards the end giving us a little crescendo before the sudden ending. I would have liked a short epilogue showing us where the remaining characters ended up 2-5 years later after the war. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Siobhan Dowd was a good choice for this audiobook. Her voice for Grace was spot on. I also liked her various UK accents. Her male voices usually sounded masculine though some sounded like teenage girls. Her German accent was decent but there was sometimes a slight slur on Ursula’s name – Ursha, Asha, etc. So at first I thought we had a few more German ladies in the story. The pacing was perfect and there were no technical issues with the recording. 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this audiobook. My opinions are 100% my own.

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Surprisingly Entertaining While Still Realistic

Historical Fiction is a genre I don't read often, so to find a story that grabs my interest from the start, I knew it would be a special story! I was impressed by how much I enjoyed listening to this one, and loved how the story was written and Siobhan Dowd is a skilled narrator, and really brings this one to life around the listener! The topic is heavy, but is written in a way that just feels like life, the good and bad, light and dark all serving a purpose, while also transporting the reader/listener back in time. This is Lee Hutch's debut, but he's definitely an author to watch! I didn't want this one to end, and I'm looking forward to more from him.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Lee Hutch. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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Wow

War changes everything and everyone. It brings some people together, and it tears some people apart. One gentleman confesses his love to his girl and proposes to her. Another man meets a woman who may put him and herself in danger. The war will change life as everybody knows it. Especially for these four.

I really did not enjoy the beginning. I was getting very confused. I couldn't keep up. I wound up having to restart it. Once I did, it all came into place. This is a very deep and touching read. I am very glad that I took the time to give it a listen. I also adore the cover of the book very much. It is very obvious it's a historical war book.

Between reviewing this a few days after I finished and the book being very fast-paced, I am having trouble remembering the characters' names. This isn't a jab at the writing being unmemorable. I just have a lot going on. I do know that the women's backstories were absolutely heartbreaking. It's amazing how much happened back then that is similar to things that happen now.

This book was narrated by Siobhan Dowd. She did a pretty amazing job. Once I got adapted to the story, I was able to enjoy her unique narration. This is the very first book I've listened to by her, but I am definitely willing to listen to other books she narrates. I'll have to do the research to find out some of the titles she's narrated.

I didn't think I'd love this book at first, but once I got into it, I started enjoying it a lot more. It was a very emotionally gripping book. It definitely makes you think about some things. I'd definitely be willing to listen to this book again. Maybe not anytime soon, but one day in the future.

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So Others May Live

So Others May Live is a wonderful debut by Lee Hutch. I was fascinated with this World War II era story. I loved the relate-able characters and vivid historical details. I had the pleasure of listening to Siobhan Dowd’s narration. She did a fantastic job bringing this tale to life. I was intrigued until I finished the whole book in one day.
I am giving So Others May Live a very well deserved five plus stars. I would love to read more by Mr Hutch in the future. I would love to see what other stories he may come up with.
I received the audio version of this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Harrowing, realistic depictions

AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: SO OTHERS MAY LIVE takes readers back in history to World War II and into the lives of two sets of people, who are supposed to be enemies. One set of the main characters is living under the command of Hitler and the Nazis who are sending air raids to London. The other set is in England, whose Royal Air Force is sending air raids to Berlin. Everyone is dealing with the consequences of those air raids, of communism, and the effects of war. Lines of loyalty are blurred as the very real human cost comes to light, and it becomes clear that only extreme measures can change outcomes.

“The men spoke with the easy familiarity of those who had faced death together and survived. Rank did not matter to them.”

Author Lee Hutch has done his research and his experience as a firefighter brings readers a harrowing story filled with the vivid ugliness of war. Based on the cover blurb, I was expecting the story to be more about relationships between the characters and less about individual struggles, both internal and within their roles in society. Be warned: SO OTHERS MAY LIVE is realistic historical fiction, and nothing is sugar-coated. It is about survival, but not as much about the relationships that help one survive. Readers do get a glimpse at the camaraderie between the pilots, and the camaraderie between firefighters, and those parts were touching and powerful. However, because the stories are so grim, I really needed more about the relationships and the threads of hope that sustain humans in dark times.

“Faces came and went in the mess. New officers often went down before Michael even learned their names. Most went down within their first five missions.”

While the narration is outstanding (more on that below), I think SO OTHERS MAY LIVE might have worked better for me had I read it with my eyes, not my ears. Hutch’s descriptions are often richly detailed, pulling readers into the scenes (bomb shelters are “an olfactory nightmare”), but there are several places where the story drags, and readers are being told a litany of historical facts – it’s information overload. And in these scenes, there isn’t enough action to hold interest unless you are a huge history buff. Another warning that the story is realistic: some of the descriptions of the aftermath of bombings bordered on putrid. This is not to say that the author was unnecessarily graphic – there is nothing gratuitous –rather, descriptions are realistic. For someone like me (who avoids realistic war films and books), I think reading with my eyes would have helped me step away and handle the scenes better, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t have picked this to read because it’s too painful and true to history and without even a glimmer of hope.

SO OTHERS MAY LIVE is told in four parts, at times through a limited omniscient point of view and at other times, through each of the four main characters’ perspectives. This strategy ultimately shows that victims of wars, no matter which country they are in, have more in common than not, and that whether civilian or military, they often feel that it’s not their war but the battling governments’ war. Human casualties are expected; they are relegated to statistics in ledgers.

Part four of the book was the strongest and the action is ramped up to make for some edge-of-your-seat moments. There are few loose ends by the end of the story, but there is nothing neat about the resolutions to each of the characters’ stories. The story is authentic, so expect a realistic conclusion that will weigh heavily on your heart and for sensitive readers, the melancholy is pervasive.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Siobhan Dowd is a master narrator. (or naRATEor, as she would say.) She performed multiple accents: British -- including cockney -- German, Scottish, and even Louisiana-in, and regardless of male or female voices, she gave a unique identity and personality to the characters. Her pacing is perfect, and I was able to listen at regular speed. Technically, the recording was excellent with no glitches or hiccups, and the sound being even throughout.

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions and the author for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. This full review and other special features on Hall Ways Blog.