By: Julie Berry
For those of you who know me, when it comes to books I am in love with fantasy, romance, mystery, and historical fiction.
There is nothing better than escaping into another world or time period. Experiencing something that you would never be able to truly understand until you are walking alongside someone in a novel. Lovely War by Julie Berry did just this for me. This book starts with the goddess Aphrodite and the god Ares being captured in a hotel room and put on trial. Aphrodite is being accused by her husband, Hephaestus god of volcanoes and blacksmiths of committing infidelity. She seeks the answer that we all wonder, why is love and war eternally drawn to one another? Yet, it eventually gets revealed that war is no match for the power of love. She begins telling her story that took place 30 years ago (they are currently in 1942 right before World War II begins) yet these love stories that she’s about to tell takes place during the World War I.
She retells the love story of two different couples during the years of 1917-1918 in Europe. We follow these couples stories who actually end up overlapping. James is a young man who has been drafted to serve in the war and will be sent to the front lines (which was almost always a death wish). Hazel a young pianist who is wanting to experience more in life that just playing the piano in a restaurant. Colette an unbelievable singer with a devastating past. And a jazz genius ahead of his time, Aubrey. The characters are going to experience way more than they bargained for in this tale.
Now, I don’t want to give too much away because I would highly recommend reading the book. But I will give some of my thoughts on a few different topics. The plot is well written, the characters are developed well and you can’t help but fall in love with them. I rooted for the love stories so hard, sometimes it even brought me to tears. You really see the characters grow and change with the circumstances that they face, including them making decisions that you weren’t expecting (created some interesting twists). The romance and chemistry between the characters is undeniable and the way the Aphrodite explains it is flawless. It was also interesting to have different gods tell their side of the story, eventually Aphrodite calls for witnesses and they include Apollo and Hades. Now since this book takes place during World War I there are many dark moments, including killing, murder, violence, sexual harassment, and racial injustice. I have taken history classes, and even though this is a fictional story it felt so real. There is a difference between sitting in a classroom learning about the horrors of war and racial tension then it is to actually experience it through a book and a person. Feeling their feelings, reading their thoughts, it really opened my eyes to the struggles and fears that so many people faced. How many people died in the trenches, from disease, wounds, starvation, any horror that you can think of happened… The many mothers and children that lost a husband, father, brother, uncle, throughout the war. By the end of the book I was heart broken not only for the characters but also for the people of that time.
Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. I would give it 9 out of 10, a few times it was a little slow for me. But how the characters overcame their struggles and everything they went through will truly melt your heart and open your eyes to a time period you may not have thought of before.