Huge thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: violence, adultery, war, death.
Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
As a big fan of WWII historical fiction, this novel grabbed my interest while I was perusing the featured releases on NetGalley. I put in my request to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books, and they accepted!
Cara Hargraves is restarting her life. A recent divorceé and newly appointed antiquarian for an antique dealer, she immerses herself in work to forget about her rocky marriage to a secret alcoholic with a gambling addiction. While clearing a large estate, she finds a diary in a small 1950’s tin, and reading a couple quick passages, finds that the diary is an account from World War II. Though it isn’t worth much to the dealer, who preaches “Furniture, Silver, Paintings. Find, Sell, Profit. F-S-P.”, Cara knows it has to mean a lot to someone, and she wants to find out who. Off the clock, she spends what little free time she allots herself on reading the diary, looking for clues to find the owner. Eventually, she enlists the help of her neighbor, a history professor named Liam with the same sentiments and excitement of finding the owner.
Louise Keene is nineteen in 1941, and she’s lived in the same small Cornish town all her life. Her cousin Kate, a more extroverted girl, has cajoled Louise into attending an airman dance, where the young local military men have gathered to dance and have fun in their off-time. Louise is quiet and cautious, used to beautiful Kate being the center of attention. While making introductions with a group of airmen, a man catches Louise’s eye, and before she knows it, she’s being swept away by Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton. As their relationship blossoms, Louise finds herself trapped by the love for the pilot and the expectations of her mother, who has declared her almost engaged to local wealthy boy who has already shipped off into combat. There is no romantic interest between Louise and the boy, and the last thing Louise wants is to live a complacent life. When Paul has to ship out, Louise decides she is going to do something for the war effort… by enlisting.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)
As Louise share’s her story with the reader, and Cara connects the diary to Louise’s family, the plot twists ensue. Kelly had me hooked from page one, and the more I read, the further I fell into the mystery, action, and love surrounding Cara and Louise, years apart. Their stories are multidimensional, revealing their layers of struggle with personal identities, relationships, and the past. Just when I thought I’d figured out where the plot was going, I was thrown for another loop. As a historical fiction fan, I also loved reading about Louise and her time with the Ack Ack Gunner Girls- which is a new aspect of WWII that I didn’t know about.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Light Over London, and am already recommending it to everyone.
Expected publication date: January 8, 2019
TL/DR: The Light Over London by Julia Kelly is a WWII historical fiction novel told in parallel plot lines. The present timeline follows a woman who finds a WWII journal and would like to return it to the owner’s family. The past timeline follows a young woman living in London during WWII, and who ends up becoming an Ack Ack Gunner Girl.
Read it? Yes, especially if you enjoy WWII historical fiction.
Recommend it? Yes! Suitable for most audiences, though best for mature readers.
Buy it? Yes!
If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:
- Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
- The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
- All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelley
- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons