Category: historical fiction

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Soci…

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Authors: Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Okay, so, I’ll start this review out by being honest: I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, and when I realized that it was being made into a movie on Netflix, I jumped at the chance to read it. It’s been sitting in my library stack for a while, and as soon I was finished with A Room Away from the Wolves, I dove in, eager to see what all the fuss was about. I’m so happy that I read this book; it was, in turns, beautiful, funny, horrific and heartwarming. I loved every moment of it. This book may have been quick and short, but it has made indelible impressions upon my heart. And one of my favorite parts about it was the format: I haven’t read a book composed of letters in years! This novel, telling of the German Occupation of the tiny English island village of Guernsey, has become a recent favorite, and I cannot wait to watch the movie later this week. This book is nothing less than a triumph of the human soul in the face of unspeakable horror and bloodshed.

               The year is 1946, the beginning of the new year, and London is trying to leave behind the Second World War. Juliet Ashton, a young writer, is having trouble finding an idea for her new book. When she receives a letter from a man she’s never met, saying that he found her name in a secondhand book by Charles Lamb, Juliet is hit with inspiration and curiosity about the island of Guernsey and its residents. When she arrives, she is welcomed with open arms. Gathering stories of when German soldiers occupied the island, Juliet finds unexpected friends and perhaps even more. Buoyed by her new friendships and a group of book lovers, she finds new purpose in the most unexpected places.

               I absolutely adored this book! It’s definitely one of my more recent favorites. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time, and when the Netflix movie came out a few months ago, I jumped at the chance. This book was short, but it was bittersweet in the best kind of way. It was also told in letters, which I loved. I haven’t read an epistolary novel in years! The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by all the different voices that told the tale of the Guernsey island’s residents. I loved all of the characters, but Juliet was my favorite, because she was gentle, loving, caring and fiery, unapologetically herself. And the romance involved! It had me swooning. But I liked the juxtaposition between the hijinks of the villagers and the dark, horror-filled stories of the war. I loved this book so much, I only wish that the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society were real! But I have my book club friends, and that’s close enough! An absolute triumph of love, life, and the human spirit! The bottom line: Rich in detail and beautifully wrought, I loved this book! An absolute favorite! Next on deck: Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart!

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner Review

Title: Mrs. Everything

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Jennifer Weiner has long been one of my favorite authors; I read In Her Shoes and Little Earthquakes in college, and I haven’t looked back. Of her more recent work, I’ve read her essay collection, Hungry Heart. I reserved her newest book at my public library and was lucky enough to receive one of its first copies. It’s taken me a few days, but I finished it yesterday. One of my favorite things about Weiner’s writing is that it puts women, and their stories, front and center. Mrs. Everything tells the story of the Kaufman women, through multiple generations. It goes back and forth, from past and present, and the spotlight is on Bethie and Josette, Jo for short, primarily. And this book; it broke my heart and filled it all at once. Jennifer Weiner is one of my personal heroes, and Mrs. Everything made me hopeful for the future. Wry, wise, searing, and powerful, I loved it so much. It’s one of my favorite books of 2019.

               This book revolves around The Kaufmans, comfortably middle-class Jewish-American family, and the growth of its daughters. The pacing was snappy, the prose quick and sharp and compelling. The characters seemed so real that I could imagine them sitting around me, talking amongst themselves. I loved the way Weiner dealt with the issues that plague women from the 1950s, and up to now. This book should be required reading for everyone. I loved the characters in this book, as well as their journeys from children into adults. Jo and Bethie were my favorite, and their relationship with each other was what really made the book. This is Jennifer Weiner’s strength: to create vivid characters and mesh them beautifully. Jo’s daughters also made the book a standout; I love Weiner’s novels because they focus on family and friends. I loved this book because it made me laugh, cry, and rage. The Kaufman family got under my skin and into my heart in the best kind of way. Jennifer Weiner has penned another fantastic, heartfelt masterpiece. The bottom line: Rich with warmth, humor, and wisdom, I loved Mrs. Everything! Next on deck: Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/07/mrs-everything-by-jennifer-weiner-review.html

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert Review

Title: City of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I know of Elizabeth Gilbert the way most people do: post Eat, Pray, Love fame. I’ve read her self-help book, Big Magic, but before now, I haven’t read any of her prose offerings. Set in New York in 1940, City of Girls tells the story of Vivian Morris, sent to live with her Aunt Peg to live at The Lily Playhouse after leaving Vassar in disgrace. Once in the city, Vivian makes strange friends: a showgirl named Celia, her aunt’s boss, the serious and unflappable Olive, Peg’s impetuous, flighty ex-husband, Billy, and the most wonderful of all, an acclaimed actress that takes Vivian under her wing. Becoming the costume design for a brand-new play, Vivian, now at ninety-five years of age, recounts her life story to Angela, the daughter of a dear male friend. I have to say that this book is my favorite in Gilbert’s extensive body of work. Vivacious, funny, frank and strange, City of Girls is one of my favorite books of 2019, though it wasn’t perfect.

               It took a little while at first to get into this book; I wasn’t sure what to expect. But once the book got rolling, I was captivated. The pacing moved at a fast clip, and I loved bearing witness to Vivian’s coming of age. The cast of characters was dynamic and engaging, though I wish there had been a dramatis personae at the beginning; there were so many people spanning the novel that it was a little difficult to keep track of them all. New York City felt like a character in and of itself, and it seemed both welcoming and forbidding, all at once. The book follows Vivian through young adulthood, and catalogs her youthful mistakes, from getting kicked out of Vassar and finding refuge with her strange, drunk aunt to the bigger ones, ones that can’t be so easily excused by being young. I also adored the format, that Vivian was speaking straight to the reader. One of my favorite things about City of Girls was the love of theater, even its less glitzy aspects, and the way that Vivian led the reader through over forty years of American history. Gilbert’s latest work is honest, enchanting, electrifying, and I will never forget Vivian Morris, or her city. The bottom line: Gorgeous, funny, and tender, I loved City of Girls! Easily one of my favorite books of Elizabeth Gilbert’s! Next on deck: Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/07/city-of-girls-by-elizabeth-gilbert.html

America Was Hard to Find by Kathleen Alcott Re…

Title: America Was Hard to Find

Author: Kathleen Alcott

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I received a copy of this book in a First Reads contest giveaway—my thanks to Goodreads and Ecco Publishers!

               I won this book as a prize in a First Reads giveaway, and I’ve been winning so many books recently that I’m trying to coordinate them by the month so as to line them up close to their actual publication dates. America Was Hard to Find was the first book in that stack that I could find that was published in May, so I decided to read it before I went back to my library stack. I just finished this book this morning, and I don’t know how I feel about it, honestly. Sad, thought-provoking, strange and visceral, this reimagining of The Cold War era was a strange story that I will never forget. It revolves around Fay Fern, a bartender turned radical, Vincent Kahn, an astronaut that is about to take America’s first steps on the moon, and the son that results from their forbidden union, Wright. Spanning decades and generations, this book was odd, brutal, strangely tender and thought-provoking. It’s hard to get my feelings on paper, because they’re all tangled up. This book was heartbreaking, tender, sad and blatantly political.

               Fay Fern is the daughter of affluent, wealthy parents, and both she and her sister, Charlie, have spurned their family’s wealth and constrained way of living. The girls’ only friend is a mean, drunk horse named Lloyd. Faye spends her days bartending and reading books. But the monotony of her life is broken by the arrival of a married astronaut, Vincent Kahn. They two begin a secret, forbidden affair, and nine months later, Fay’s son, Wright, is born. This book documents how Fay and Vincent attract one another, and Wright’s coming of age in the wake of his mother becoming a radical domestic terrorist. As I said, I’m not really sure how this book made me feel. It was vivid and well-written, but there were a lot of words that I wasn’t familiar with, and the pacing was kind of all over the place. But the characters were well-drawn and sympathetic: I liked how Fay and Charlie turned their backs on their controlling, constraining family boundaries, and I also enjoyed Wright as he grew up with his strange, radicalized mother. I liked the ending, and the other characters, but I really didn’t like Vincent. He just seemed thin and emotionless, and the book was bittersweet. Searing, eye-opening, and more than a little strange, America Was Hard to Find was a good book, even though it wasn’t normally one I would pick up. The bottom line: Political, bittersweet, tender and strange, I really enjoyed America Was Hard to Find. Next on deck: Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/05/america-was-hard-to-find-by-kathleen.html

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake Review

Title: The Guest Book

Author: Sarah Blake

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I received an advanced readers’ copy of this book from the publisher, Flatiron Books. Thank you so much!

               I received The Guest book in the mail a few months ago, and since I’ve been alternating between library books and ARCs, I recently made the decision to sort them by month so I could make my reviews line up as the books were officially published. As soon as I was finished with a comic book I’d borrowed from the library, I started The Guest Book. At first, I wasn’t sure about it; I’d never read any of Sarah Blake’s work before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It took me a bit to get into the book, but once I did, I was spellbound. The Guest Book is one of the most anticipated books of 2019, and I can see why it has so much hype. A family saga reminiscent of Downton Abbey, only American. I absolutely adored The Guest Book, and it has become one of my favorite novels of the year. I feel so lucky to have received an early copy. Rich, dynamic, and thoughtful, The Guest Book takes a harsh, unflinching look at American culture, its oppression of marginalized peoples, but especially Jews and black people. This book should be required reading for all.

               The Guest Book goes back and forth in time, between different members of the affluent Milton family. But the main focus is on one of the granddaughters of Kitty and Ogden Milton, Evelyn. A historian with a passion for piecing together the past, she is brought to an emotional crossroads when an offer for the island her grandparents bought comes to light. Haunted by the secrets lurking just beneath the shiny veneer of her family’s past, she is determined to uncover the truth. Even if shatters what remains of her family…

               This book was a surprising gem! It really snuck up on me and gripped me by the throat, long after I’d closed it. It took me a little bit to get into it, mostly because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a little worried I wouldn’t enjoy it. But once I got into it, I was spellbound. The prose was both spare and gorgeous, and I loved the way that the point of view jumped between each member of the family, as well as Len Levy and Reg Pauling, a Jew and a black man invited to Crockett Island for the summer. I also really enjoyed the way the book went back and forth between the past and the present; it provided a much deeper scope on the characters and events that were happening. But my favorite thing about The Guest Book was its timeliness: it took a good, hard and unflinching look at the American cultural system, and how white people, especially the rich, have contributed to the oppression of other people, especially black people and the Jews. Len and Reg made a compelling, painful foil to the Miltons, who are so blinded by their own privilege that Kitty, its matriarch, issues a refusal that haunts her until her dying day. Evelyn has always loved Crockett Island, and treasures the memories of her summers she spent there as a girl. When her family begins to look into selling it, she bucks against it at first, not wanting to lose such a valuable piece of her family’s legacy. But she starts to dig deep into the secrets her family has long kept hidden, and finds that her family’s wealth comes from an association with an awful organization. (I won’t say what, because I don’t want to spoil the book for people who haven’t yet read it.) I loved that Evie was a historian, and how she dug deep into what her family’s secrets were, even as it upended everything, she thought she knew. I loved the way it ended; it was bittersweet and very real to life. I will never forget the Milton family, Reg, Len, or Evie; these characters will forever have a place in my heart. Sarah Blake has penned a masterful sophomore novel, full of heart and social commentary in equal measure, and I will never forget it! The bottom line: Beautiful, rich, hard-hitting and thought-provoking, I loved The Guest Book! It was one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for more from Sarah Blake! Next on deck: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-guest-book-by-sarah-blake-review.html

Cape May by Chip Creek Review

Title: Cape May

Author: Chip Creek

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I was given an advanced readers’ copy of this book by the publisher, Celadon Books. Thank you so much!

               I started alternating between library books and review copies, so when I was finished with The Vanishing Stair, I decided to push Cape May to the top of my stack. This book is fantastic, gorgeously written and full of heart and emotion. I wouldn’t put it any particular genre; to me, it was a drama. But I absolutely adored it. The prose was gorgeous, the pacing breakneck, and I loved the way that it was a coming of age story. Lush, emotional, painful and satisfying, I loved this debut from a brilliant new talent! Chip Creek has penned an unforgettable first novel that had me in awe. I was crying, laughing, cringing, and there were several times that I had to close the book and walk away to process my feelings.

               Cape May opens with two young, lovestruck newlyweds, Effie and Henry, on their honeymoon. Given Effie’s uncle’s beach house for the week, they are drunk on one another. But boredom begins to set in when they realize they’ve come to the oceanside town on the off-season when there is no one there. But their ennui is soon alleviated when they become friends with three bored, young rich people: effervescent, bubbly Clara, smooth jokester Max, and his younger half-sister, Alma. Pulled into the drama of these strangers, Effie and Henry soon find their young marriage in jeopardy, and they must decide if their new love is worth saving…

               This book was wonderful and nearly perfect. It came as a surprise in the mail, and as soon as I was done with The Vanishing Stair, I dove in. The prose was gorgeously wrought, and the pacing was breakneck. I was utterly seduced by the empty seaside town of Cape May; the setting was vivid and beautiful, and I could almost taste the salt in the air, feel it fall on my skin. I also loved all of the characters in this book, particularly Effie, Henry, and Alma. This book was beautiful, seductive, and erotic; it was a debut that swept me away and stole my heart. Watching Effie and Henry ingratiate themselves into this group of wealthy, bored young people were both stunning and painful. As the book went on, I found my heart breaking, for Effie, in particular. This book was about fidelity, lust, marriage, and friendship, but most of all, it was about watching a new marriage crumble in the summer heat. I really didn’t like Henry as the book went on; he was foolish, selfish, and was rationalizing his indiscretions in the worst, possible way. By the end of the book, I hated him. But the ending saved the book for me; I loved the way that it ended. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, lush and seductive, and I loved every moment of it, even the ones that were painful and made me cry. The bottom line: A beautiful, poignant novel about lust, fidelity, marriage, and desire, I loved Cape May! Next on deck: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/05/cape-may-by-chip-creek-review.html

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts Review

Title: Finding Dorothy

Author: Elizabeth Letts

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               The Wizard of Oz is a facet of Americana, a gem in film, and I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t know of Dorothy Gale and her glittering ruby slippers. But I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I didn’t know much about the man behind Oz, the books or the movie, until now. This sparkling, beautiful gem of a novel captured my heart and bewitched my imagination, wrung my heart out until it was empty, then full again. It was like this book pulled back the curtain on one of Old Hollywood’s most beloved film, seen through the eyes of L. Frank Baum’s fierce, strong widow, Maud. One of the reasons that I love historical fiction so much, as a genre, is that it puts a fictional perspective on real events, and this book delivered in spades. I can’t wait to read more from Elizabeth Letts!

               Finding Dorothy tells the story of Maud Gage-Baum, the unsinkable widow of the visionary, Lyman Frank Baum, and her fierce determination to see her late husband’s vision brought to life. It begins in Hollywood, in 1939, with Maud meeting Judy Garland at 16; Maud was 76 when she met the starlet for the first time. But to say that this book is wholly about the movie production of The Wizard of Oz would be to do this whole book a disservice. Frank Baum’s legacy is but a small part of this book, for the focus of it is Maud. From her girlhood, to college, to her marriage to Frank, the book moves back and forth between 1939 and moments from Maud’s own past. I was immediately spellbound by the gorgeous prose, and my heart was stolen by Maud, her husband, and children, as well as other members of her family. I love how this book did justice to one of America’s best loved films, and how it also tied in the creator’s history. But Maud was, unapologetically, the star of this book, and I loved every moment of it. And that ending! It had me bawling like a baby, in the best kind of way. This book is like one of the best kinds of wish fulfillment; I loved the way that it talked about Old Hollywood and Judy Garland! One of my favorite parts of the novel was the way that it emphasized that iconic song ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’; that, for me, is what I remember Judy Garland most for. Honestly, I adored this book, and I loved the way that Letts researched every single detail. Finding Dorothy is about so much more than the magical land of Oz. It is just as much about the real people who helped inspire it, and come into being.

    I absolutely adored this book; it was a sweet reminder of how much I love historical fiction, and why. It was thoroughly researched and well written, and I adored the way that it put the spotlight on the woman behind the innovator and inventor, Lyman Frank Baum. I also really liked the way that his and Maud’s personalities complemented each other:  Maud with her feet firmly planted on the ground and in reality, ready to ground Frank whenever possible, and Frank constantly dreaming of a brighter future, of dreams that eventually culminated into the bestseller The Wizard of Oz. I also enjoyed the cast of characters that framed our lovely couple: Maud’s mother, Matilda, her sister Julia and her brother T.C., and her darling niece, Magdalena. And that ending! It was so perfect, and had me in joyous tears when I finished it last night. A beautiful, wonderful book as sparkling and promising as The Emerald City itself! The bottom line: Rich with historical detail and gorgeous prose, I loved Finding Dorothy! I can’t wait to read more of Elizabeth Lett’s work! Next on deck: Circe by Madeleine Miller!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/finding-dorothy-by-elizabeth-letts.html

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts Review

Title: Finding Dorothy

Author: Elizabeth Letts

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               The Wizard of Oz is a facet of Americana, a gem in film, and I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t know of Dorothy Gale and her glittering ruby slippers. But I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I didn’t know much about the man behind Oz, the books or the movie, until now. This sparkling, beautiful gem of a novel captured my heart and bewitched my imagination, wrung my heart out until it was empty, then full again. It was like this book pulled back the curtain on one of Old Hollywood’s most beloved film, seen through the eyes of L. Frank Baum’s fierce, strong widow, Maud. One of the reasons that I love historical fiction so much, as a genre, is that it puts a fictional perspective on real events, and this book delivered in spades. I can’t wait to read more from Elizabeth Letts!

               Finding Dorothy tells the story of Maud Gage-Baum, the unsinkable widow of the visionary, Lyman Frank Baum, and her fierce determination to see her late husband’s vision brought to life. It begins in Hollywood, in 1939, with Maud meeting Judy Garland at 16; Maud was 76 when she met the starlet for the first time. But to say that this book is wholly about the movie production of The Wizard of Oz would be to do this whole book a disservice. Frank Baum’s legacy is but a small part of this book, for the focus of it is Maud. From her girlhood, to college, to her marriage to Frank, the book moves back and forth between 1939 and moments from Maud’s own past. I was immediately spellbound by the gorgeous prose, and my heart was stolen by Maud, her husband, and children, as well as other members of her family. I love how this book did justice to one of America’s best loved films, and how it also tied in the creator’s history. But Maud was, unapologetically, the star of this book, and I loved every moment of it. And that ending! It had me bawling like a baby, in the best kind of way. This book is like one of the best kinds of wish fulfillment; I loved the way that it talked about Old Hollywood and Judy Garland! One of my favorite parts of the novel was the way that it emphasized that iconic song ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’; that, for me, is what I remember Judy Garland most for. Honestly, I adored this book, and I loved the way that Letts researched every single detail. Finding Dorothy is about so much more than the magical land of Oz. It is just as much about the real people who helped inspire it, and come into being.

    I absolutely adored this book; it was a sweet reminder of how much I love historical fiction, and why. It was thoroughly researched and well written, and I adored the way that it put the spotlight on the woman behind the innovator and inventor, Lyman Frank Baum. I also really liked the way that his and Maud’s personalities complemented each other:  Maud with her feet firmly planted on the ground and in reality, ready to ground Frank whenever possible, and Frank constantly dreaming of a brighter future, of dreams that eventually culminated into the bestseller The Wizard of Oz. I also enjoyed the cast of characters that framed our lovely couple: Maud’s mother, Matilda, her sister Julia and her brother T.C., and her darling niece, Magdalena. And that ending! It was so perfect, and had me in joyous tears when I finished it last night. A beautiful, wonderful book as sparkling and promising as The Emerald City itself! The bottom line: Rich with historical detail and gorgeous prose, I loved Finding Dorothy! I can’t wait to read more of Elizabeth Lett’s work! Next on deck: Circe by Madeleine Miller!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/finding-dorothy-by-elizabeth-letts.html

Lovely War by Julie Berry Review

Title: Lovely War

Author: Julie Berry

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               A few years ago, I tried reading one of Julie Berry’s most popular novels, The Passion of Dolssa. For personal reasons, I had to shelve it. However, when I heard that she was writing a brand-new book, this time revolving around World Wars I and II and the Greek gods, I was so intrigued! I reserved it at my local library and was lucky enough to receive the first copy. Brutal, beautiful, and totally unforgettable, I was completely blown away by this epic worthy of Homer himself! This book is definitely one of my favorites of 2019, if not of all time!

Braiding together two bittersweet love stories at the dawn of World Wars I and II, Lovely War is narrated by four of the Greek gods: the lovely Aphrodite, brutal Ares, musical Apollo, and the stoic Hades. After being caught with Ares yet again, her disgruntled husband, Hephaestus, demands that she be put on trial before the entire pantheon of Greek gods. Aphrodite, however, persuades him to listen to her privately. Showcasing her best work, she tells her husband about two love stories that she had a hand in creating, with the help of a few witnesses. What unfolds is two stories, told across time, as the Goddess of Love sets out to show her family her trade.

I absolutely adored this book! Honestly, it felt as if it were written just for me. I wasn’t even in twenty pages and I was hooked. The pacing was breakneck, and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of the novel—Greek gods having a family dispute! —and the different viewpoints from Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, and Hades gave a great perspective on the events of the novel. Even more than the gods, though, I loved the humans that they watched over: James and Hazel, and Aubrey and Colette. I also adored the way that Berry adhered to historical accuracy; the notes at the back of the book and the acknowledgments fleshed out and answered any lingering questions I had about the historical details. I loved all of the characters and the gods that cupped their lives in their hands. The writing was beautiful, gorgeous, and raw. The horrors of both brutal world wars were a stark, sobering contrast to the glow of new love, against all odds. I was spellbound and horrified all at once. Meticulously researched, beautifully told, and wonderfully unique, I loved Lovely War, and it’s become one of my favorite books of the year, if not of all time! It was utterly wonderful, heartbreaking, and rewarding. The ending, for all involved, made all of the emotional investment worth it! Julie Berry has penned a modern classic in Lovely War! The bottom line: Rich, lush, beautiful and brutal, I loved every moment of Lovely War! One of my favorite books of 2019, if not of all time! Next on deck: Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/04/lovely-war-by-julie-berry-review.html

Lovely War by Julie Berry Review

Title: Lovely War

Author: Julie Berry

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               A few years ago, I tried reading one of Julie Berry’s most popular novels, The Passion of Dolssa. For personal reasons, I had to shelve it. However, when I heard that she was writing a brand-new book, this time revolving around World Wars I and II and the Greek gods, I was so intrigued! I reserved it at my local library and was lucky enough to receive the first copy. Brutal, beautiful, and totally unforgettable, I was completely blown away by this epic worthy of Homer himself! This book is definitely one of my favorites of 2019, if not of all time!

Braiding together two bittersweet love stories at the dawn of World Wars I and II, Lovely War is narrated by four of the Greek gods: the lovely Aphrodite, brutal Ares, musical Apollo, and the stoic Hades. After being caught with Ares yet again, her disgruntled husband, Hephaestus, demands that she be put on trial before the entire pantheon of Greek gods. Aphrodite, however, persuades him to listen to her privately. Showcasing her best work, she tells her husband about two love stories that she had a hand in creating, with the help of a few witnesses. What unfolds is two stories, told across time, as the Goddess of Love sets out to show her family her trade.

I absolutely adored this book! Honestly, it felt as if it were written just for me. I wasn’t even in twenty pages and I was hooked. The pacing was breakneck, and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of the novel—Greek gods having a family dispute! —and the different viewpoints from Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, and Hades gave a great perspective on the events of the novel. Even more than the gods, though, I loved the humans that they watched over: James and Hazel, and Aubrey and Colette. I also adored the way that Berry adhered to historical accuracy; the notes at the back of the book and the acknowledgments fleshed out and answered any lingering questions I had about the historical details. I loved all of the characters and the gods that cupped their lives in their hands. The writing was beautiful, gorgeous, and raw. The horrors of both brutal world wars were a stark, sobering contrast to the glow of new love, against all odds. I was spellbound and horrified all at once. Meticulously researched, beautifully told, and wonderfully unique, I loved Lovely War, and it’s become one of my favorite books of the year, if not of all time! It was utterly wonderful, heartbreaking, and rewarding. The ending, for all involved, made all of the emotional investment worth it! Julie Berry has penned a modern classic in Lovely War! The bottom line: Rich, lush, beautiful and brutal, I loved every moment of Lovely War! One of my favorite books of 2019, if not of all time! Next on deck: Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith!

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