Before the Dawn by Emma Pass (review)

When Ruby Mottram meets Private Sam Archer, both have complications with their families and Ruby has been forbidden any association with the newly arrived Americans. As Sam trains and becomes part of the D-Day invasion, Ruby’s life grows ever more complicated.

Before the Dawn by Emma Pass is a debut novel, primarily set in a small English coastal town in the days of America’s involvement in WWII. With a solid sense of time and place, the story unfolds with a few surprises as Ruby learns why her family is so opposed to her knowing an American and Sam’s time in France takes an unexpected turn. 

For fans of well researched WWII era stories with a forbidden romance, plucky best friends, a bully, and who don’t mind a bit of swearing/taking the Lord’s name in vain and intimacy on the page.

This review refers to a temporary digital galley that I voluntarily read and reviewed, courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.  A positive review was not required and all opinions are my own.

About the Book

When everything you hold dear is torn apart by war, can love put you back together again? 

It’s 1943, and the Second World War is raging. Ruby Mottram works for her local newspaper, the Bartonford Herald, typing up adverts and obituaries, whilst dreaming of a more exciting life. Between her shifts as an ARP warden and caring for her ailing father, the chance for escape doesn’t come often to Devon.

Meanwhile, in America’s deep south, Sam Archer is hatching a plan to raise enough money to get his mother and sister away from his abusive stepfather. Using falsified documents to hide his age, he enlists with the U.S. Army.

Two chance encounters bring Ruby and Sam together from opposite sides of the Atlantic, giving them the chance of love, hope and freedom from their troubled lives. But fate, in the shape of D-Day and Omaha Beach, has other ideas.

When their very lives are at risk, will their promise to wait for one another be what keeps them alive? 

For fans of Suzanne Kelman, Ellie Midwood and Catherine Hokin.

Before the Dawn by Emma Pass | Aria – Head of Zeus, March 2022 | ebook, 336 pages