A Hundred Years to Arras by J.M. Cobley

In this historical fiction work, Private Robert Gooding Henson leaves the family farm to enlist in the Somerset Light Infantry against his father’s wishes. 

The writing is outstanding in this captivating story that follows Henson and two of the fellow soldiers he befriends. The emotional turmoil a 23-year-old soldier feels fighting in a war is delicately explored. The horrific conditions the soldiers experience and the awful things they see are matter-of-factly juxtaposed against flirtations, humor, and lighter moments.

It was interesting, but not surprising, to learn of the connection the author had to Private Robert Gooding Henson at the end of the book. While it is a fictional account of Henson’s life, the book had a respectful undercurrent appropriate for honoring an ancestor.

A Hundred Years to Arras by J.M. Conley

The book has been compared to All Quiet on the Western Front, which is one of my all-time favorite books, and I can see why.

Like All Quiet on the Western Front, the story is poignant, moving, expertly written, and does not glorify war.

I recommend this book to those who are fans of World War I-era history or war novels told from the perspective of an individual soldier.

Thank you to J.M. Cobley for providing a free e-review copy. I am leaving this review voluntarily and the opinions expressed are my own.

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