|Image: Penguin Random House|
Lovely War by Julie Berry. Unabridged e-audiobook. ~11 hours. Read by Jane Entwhistle, Allan Corduner, Dion Graham, Nathanial Parker, Fiona Hardingham and Steve West. Listening Library, March, 2019. 9781984838278. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library. Arc courtesy of publisher.)
Teen Tuesday features Lovely War by Julie Berry. This sweeping historical romance begins in December of 1942 in an elegant New York City hotel. A gorgeous couple are caught by the wronged husband. The paramours happen to be Aphrodite the goddess of love and Ares the god of war. The cuckold is Hephaestus. He ensnares them in an breakable golden mesh net and intends to put them on trial on Mount Olympus; but Aphrodite asks to plead her case directly to her husband. So she tells the story of her two favorite love matches - Hazel and James and Colette and Aubrey.
In 1917, Hazel, a pianist, played at at dance where she met James, a builder turned soldiers, who was shipping out to fight in France. The two fell quickly in love and Hazel promised to write. She joined the war effort as an entertainment volunteer and also shipped out to France soon after. There she met Colette, a Belgian refugee with a tragic past who sings like an angel. Colette crosses paths with Aubrey, an African American jazz musician and those two fall in love.
As Aphrodite weaves the two stories together, she's joined by Ares, Hades and Apollo, who all had a hand shaping the events of the war and its consequences.
Immersive and epic, this is definitely one for the reread pile. There is just so much to love here from the gorgeous writing to the characters. I am not a fan of most romance novels but I am a fan of this one. It's smart. It's compelling. It's an exquisite read that I couldn't rush through because I was reading with my ears, but I wanted to. I needed to find out what happened to these four young souls. And yet, I didn't want the book to end.
Lovely War is a first-purchase. It's a must-read for your patrons who love mythology; for your romance fans; for your war-story fans. Really, it's a must-read for just about any reader.