The Light Over Londonby Published 08 Jan 2019
|The Light Over London.pdf|
Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted.
It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.
In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.
Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.
Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties.
The Light Over London Reviews
This could have been a fascinating book about one of the first and only woman bombers in WWII. The woman's story is interesting but for some reason the author juxtapositions the tale of modern day antique dealer, Cara, who discovers the diary in a house of furniture being prepared for auction. This odd pairing leads to an average historical romance instead of an illuminating look at underreported aspect of women roles during the War. What a sad missed opportunity.
When I saw this was compared to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I would’ve been happy with a book even in the same ballpark, but sadly The Light Over London pales in comparison. While I enjoyed the story and reading about women’s roles in the war, I know it will not have a lasting impact on me. It was just “okay.” I read The Nightingale almost 10 months ago and I still think about it to this day. Unfortunately this will not be one of those books that sticks with me for weeks and months to come.
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and Gallery Books for a chance to review it!
Cara Hargraves is newly divorced and training to be an antiques dealer. While working on a job site with her mentor and boss, she comes across a mysterious tin that holds a diary and some photos that date back to World War II. She is instantly intrigued about the diary and is determined to reunite it with its owner. Chapters switch between present day Cara to Louise Keene, a young woman from a coastal village in England, who we come to realize is the woman in the photo that Cara unearths. Louise is living a very simple life with her parents and working at a shop in the village. It's a very mundane life until her very gregarious cousin, Kate, invites her to a dance. Louise goes not expecting much though as her overbearing mother thinks she will marry a local boy who is off at war. When Louise goes to the dance, she is immediately thrown into Kate's group of outgoing friends and meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton. He is mysterious, good looking, and makes her heart skip a beat. Their romance ensues much to the dismay of her mother, but this all changes when Paul gets unexpectedly deployed. Louise decides she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life with her mother dictating her every move and stuck in her childhood bedroom, so she decides to, along with Kate, join the women's branch of the British Army and trains to become a gunner girl. Julia Kelly's The Light Over London is perfect for fans of wartime fiction. If you like your historical novels with a strong side of romance and drama then this novel is a good fit for you
Read the rest of my review here:
This is not the sort of book I would usually pick up. There is a historical war time romance story and I prefer contemporary books. But once I started, I found myself pulled into the story and I ended up really enjoying it.
The book interweaves the story on Cara, an antique dealer in the present day, with that of Louise, a young woman who runs off to join the war effort in 1941. There are some similarities between the two woman. Both woman are unlucky in love and feel they will never meet the man of their dreams. You know what happens next. Cara meets her new neighbor and finds an attraction there. Louise meets a young pilot at a dance and begins a romance with him. I was hoping for both women to find love and was interested to see how Louise's life would turn out.
The book moved along at a nice pace and I was never bored reading it. The chapters alternated between each woman's point of view. That is not my favorite way to tell a story, but I enjoyed the book enough that it didn't bother me to much. I would recommend this book, especially for fans of war time romances.
I received a free ARC from the publisher through a goodreads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.
The Light Over London is a dual timeline story that grabbed me from page one. I love historical fiction about strong women who buck the societal norms to make their own way in life! Julia Kelly’s latest work is a must read for historical fiction fans!