Updated: May 2, 2020
Happy Thursday! I hope you're enjoying your week so far like I am. I finished Lovely War Sunday night, and I really wish I had been able to publish this review Tuesday, but oh well. There's no time to dwell in the past.
I really enjoyed this book for many reasons, so keep reading to find out about the book and why I think you should read it.
It's 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She's a shy and talented pianist; he's a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it's immediate and deep—and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.
Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who's played Carnegie Hall, he's a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that's before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who's already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.
Thirty years after these four lovers' fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.
I read Lovely War as an eBook and it took me longer than it should have because I rarely use my computer to read and my Overdrive highlights don't transfer when I use the app on my phone. With that said, I would have devoured that book in just a couple of days.
The delivering of the frame narrative within Lovely War is perhaps my favorite part of the story, and the prose was as charming as the goddess of love herself. The author did a great job conveying the voice of each deity in their corresponding chapters. Because we don't only hear from Aphrodite, but from Ares, Apollo and Hades. It is perhaps because of their shared narrative that we got a balanced book; there was the side of music that brought our characters together, the war that wrapped them all, death that took many in the war and marked many more, and the undeniable struggle that surrounded people of color as they served in the war.
The fact that this book contained the beautiful and the ugly part of the war made a difference, and it is perhaps of that that I loved it even more. It is rich in experience and diverse in its characters.
The chapters are short in a way that makes it easy to say, "just one more chapter" and each chapter focuses a little in what the characters from the framed narrative are up to. Even through they are short, the chapters feel intimate because gods are supposed to be all-knowing after all, and they have the right content to keep the story moving.
Overall, this is a book worth reading, especially if you like mythology and historical fiction. It is romantic and heart breaking, and because it is a standalone, you don't end up with your emotions up in the air.
Here is all the info for Lovely War:
Reading Challenge No.: 4/45
Author: Julie Berry
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Length: 480 pages
Series or Standalone? Standalone
"It is early evening in the lobby of an elegant Manhattan hotel."
Favorite Character: Such a hard pick! I believe Aphrodite, since she was the mastermind behind it all.
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I'm currently 75% done with The King's Questioner by Nikki Katz, and finally committed to reading Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater--I had been afraid to get to it because I love her writing and it's a trilogy, so I know there will be a long wait until the second book comes out.
What are you currently reading? Let me know!