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
Ah my favourite kind of story, that moves back and forth through the past and present time. Superbly written! In the present day, Cara is an antiques dealer, who is dealing with an estate of a recently deceased lady. She finds an old diary in amongst her things. It is a diary written in the WW2 era about a war time romance. She is fascinated and begins to try to solve the mystery. The story goes back in time as Cara reads the diary entries. In the present time Cara is also trying to find out a family secret about her own Grandmother during the second World War.
Sometimes when I read these past and present stories I enjoy one more than the other but in this book I equally enjoyed both stories. They were well thought out and told brilliantly little by little until the end and the big reveals. I will definitely be reading more from this author. If you enjoy Wartime romances I highly recommend this one. I chose to read this around Remembrance Day. I think it added to the nostalgia. I really enjoyed it!
Thank-you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me the opportunity to read this Advanced Reader Copy.
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!
The best part of this story- the Ack Ack Girls!
The present meets the past in this pleasant book by Julia Kelley. Cara is the modern day character, broken by a divorce and the death of her parents. Louise is a young woman in the 1940’s, growing up in a small village in Cornwall.
Cara has left her posh life in London and retreated to a small town, where she works for an antique dealer. She discovers a diary in a dusty armoire, reads it and bonds with the writer. She decides to track down the writer, or at least the young diarist’s family.
Cara and Louise’ stories are told in alternating chapters, which works because much of Cara’s story is based on the diary, that we know is Louise’s. Each woman has a love interest and both of their men are appealing.
Louise has dreams to go to college and yearns for California. She is ready to leave her confining small town life, so when a British airman sweeps her off her feet, she runs away and joins the Auxiiliary Territorial Service (ATS). She qualifies to be a Gunner Girl and serves in London and other posts, shooting down enemy pilots.
Thanks to the author for featuring the story of the Ack Ack Girls. The stories of their brave service should be remembered. The historical part of the book interested me the most.
The romances of Cara and Louise were interesting but not compelling. The mystery involving Cara’s grandmother- the grandma is a fun character, didn’t move me. Perhaps this book needed to be longer, so that that the coming of age story of Louise could really shine on the dramatic stage of World War II.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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!
I enjoyed this book tremendously. Thank you Goodreads Giveaways! The main characters were two women - one called Louise who lived during World War II and the other called Cara in the present time. Both learned to be strong and resilient women. Both had struggles and dreams and had to go through difficulties to realize that they were able to overcome these trials.
There was some love scenes in this book, but they were handled tastefully.
How hard it must have been to see bombs coming down and also seeing the destruction left afterwards! I admire the men and women that lived to tell their stories.