Published by Gallery Books on January 8, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Historical
AMZ US Apple Books Apple Audio
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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.
I was provided a review copy by Gallery Books; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
❝You deserve to never be disappointed, and you deserve to be with someone who doesn’t make you feel like your choices aren’t the right ones.❞
The Light Over London was a superbly written, emotional, and deeply passionate dual narrative, filled with dazzling, unforgettable characters, intrigue, and a gripping love story.
Cara was fascinated by a diary she found at one of the estates where she was working. As soon as she started reading it, she felt compelled to find the owner or at the very least, the family of the woman who wrote the diary. The diary held both a passionate love story and a brilliant story of a fierce young woman who is working as a Gunner Girl during WWII. Not only do we learn about Louise’s story through her diary, but we flashback to her younger days when she meets the love of her life. We watch as she leaves her overbearing mother to become a vital part of the war effort. She beautifully transforms from a shy, reserved young woman, to being a leader and force to be reckoned with. Interspersed with Louise’s story, we return to the present and read how Cara adjusts to being a divorcee while dealing with the death of her parents, all while she searches to find out what her mother and grandmother were arguing about the day her parents died.
With all of that going on, one would suspect it would be easy for the reader to get lost, and for the plot to become muddled. But the contrary occurred. I was completely captivated. The story was evocative, nostalgic, stunning, and devastating. The Light Over London is a must-read for lovers of stories with strong female characters, passion, and intrigue.