Those I Have Lost by Sharon Maas

Thank you to Sarah Hardy for the invitation to join the blog tour and to Bookouture for the digital review copy to read and review.


A family on a faraway island. Seas crawling with Japanese spies. A terrible war creeping ever closer…

1940 When Rosie loses her mother and is sent to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to live with her mother’s friend Silvia and her three sons, her world changes in a heartbeat. As she is absorbed into the bosom of a noisy family, with boys she loves like brothers, she begins to feel at home.

But the war in Europe is heading for Asia. Searching for comfort from the bleak news and the bombings, Rosie meets a heroic soldier on leave, and falls in love for the first time. Yet the war will not stop for passion; he must move on, and she must say goodbye, knowing she might never see him again. She is left with just a memory.

Meanwhile, one by one, the men she considers brothers leave to fight for their island paradise. As she waits in anguish for letters that never come, tortured by stories of torpedoed ships and massacres of innocent families, she realises that she, too, must do her bit. Rosie volunteers to work in military intelligence, keeping secrets that will help those she loves and protect her island home. But then two telegrams arrive with the chilling words ‘missing believed captured’ and ‘missing believed dead’. Who of those that she loves will survive the devastating war, and who will she lose?

An emotional and heartbreaking read with rich historical detail set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka during World War Two. Fans of Hazel Gaynor, Fiona Valpy, Kristin Hannah and Clare Flynn will be swept away by Those I Have Lost.

My thoughts:

I visited Sri Lanka in 1999 but had little knowledge about what had happened to the island formerly known as Ceylon and the neighbouring countries during the Second World War. This epic story has helped fill in some of the blanks.

The story starts slowly as we discover why Rosie leaves her father behind in India to live with her late mother’s best friend and her family in Ceylon. Rosie grows up into a young woman during the story, and starts to discover how difficult falling in love can be for her friends and family.

As the war starts in Europe, life in Ceylon slowly changes, but then as the war spreads further and nearer, life changes rapidly as the three young men in the family join up and evacuations begin. Rosie works hard to support the war effort and to help her new family cope with devastating news.

The story looks at how the priorities of the families changed during the war and how sometimes something evil can be closer to home than you realise. Is honesty and truth more important than family pride?

This is a story featuring family relationships, friendships, love, loss, new beginnings, tragedy and bravery. I enjoyed reading this historical fiction book and I look forward to reading more by Sharon Maas in the future.

Author Bio:

Sharon Maas was born into a prominent political family in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951. She was educated in England, Guyana, and, later, Germany. After leaving school, she worked as a trainee reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown and later wrote feature articles for the Sunday Chronicle as a staff journalist.

Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, is set in Guyana and India and was published by HarperCollins in 1999. In 2014 she moved to Bookouture, and now has ten novels under her belt. Her books span continents, cultures, and eras. From the sugar plantations of colonial British Guiana in South America, to the French battlefields of World War Two, to the present-day brothels of Mumbai and the rice-fields and villages of South India, Sharon never runs out of stories for the armchair traveller.
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By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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