Lovely War

Lovely War

eBook - 2019
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Read the novel New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called "easily one of the best novels I have read all year!" A sweeping, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates—and the hearts—of four mortals in their hands.They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of Love. Author Julie Berry's critically-acclaimed writing has been called "haunting and unforgettable" by New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys and "utterly original and instantly engrossing" by Publishers Weekly.
Publisher: 2019
ISBN: 9780698157484
Branch Call Number: OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

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 shi... Read More »

List - Downton Abbey Revisted
bpl_staff Dec 01, 2019

Set in 1917 during the First World War—but with an interesting literary twist.

From the critics

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Jan 06, 2021

I was in a reading slump and this book was so so good and really managed to get me back into reading again, I loved it and will definitely keep coming back to read it in the future.

Dec 09, 2020

Lovely War is a stunning story of 4 lovers, one pair set during World War 1 and the other during World War 2. Shockingly, the story is a mashup of Greek mythology, historical fiction, and romance. The story begins with Hephaestus, husband of Aphrodite, catching her and Ares together. He agrees to listen to a story of love from Aphrodite in exchange for keeping her away from trial. The story of James, Hazel, Aubrey, and Colette, revolves around the wars as they navigate through tough circumstances and hardship. The author tackles many topics such as racism and women’s rights and it is a story packed with emotion. I cried so much when reading this book and I just loved it. It was a moving story and I would highly recommend reading this book.
Age Rating: 15+

Nov 12, 2020

Loved this book, but I could have done without the romance between Colette and Aubrey. It was well-written, but I was much more invested in James and Hazel. If the second story-line with Colette and Aubry hadn't been added I would definitely have rated this book 5 stars.
That said, I highly recommend this book, and even though it was long, I read it in about a day and was hooked from the first page. The writing was amazing, and I haven't found a book that felt like this one yet, even though I've looked.

Nov 10, 2020

This book is narrated by the Greek gods Aphrodite, Ares, Hades, and Apollo. They tell the story of four characters (James, Hazel, Colette, and Aubrey), which occurs during World War I. James and Hazel meet one night at a party and quickly fall in love. James is sent away to fight, and Hazel goes to volunteer at Saint-Nazaire. She meets Colette there, and they soon meet Aubrey, a musician and American soldier. I loved the warmth and sweetness of this story and how Greek gods were the narrators. Along with the romance, the author also writes about PTSD and racial prejudice, and I think it was handled well. I really enjoyed reading this. Age: 12+

Nov 04, 2020

The Lovely War beautifully narrates the memorable love stories of two couples during the era of World War l. The story is told through Greek Gods and Goddesses to explain how music, love, death, faith, and war inspire humanity. James and Hazel meet days before James is due at the frontlines, but will their love be strong enough to bear the traumas of the battlefield? On the other hand, Colette and Aubrey’s love cracks under distance and discrimination based on their different races. I loved this book so much, and I could see myself raving about it to anyone. A perfect 5/5; the author’s writing style left little to imagine. The writing was detailed to illustrate the vivid, fast-changing setting. Each character was loveable; I didn’t hate a single person. They each carry different stories, ambitions, and heartbreaks that extend beyond the cookie-cutter mold for many stereotypical young adult fiction characters. Usually, authors juggling many perspectives would encounter issues with maintaining a distinctive voice without confusing the reader; this was not the case. There were many perspectives throughout the book, but it was so interesting how each character brought contrasting observations to the table. I am an ardent fan of historical fiction along with Greek mythology; mixing them sounds divine, which I haven’t seen a lot of marketing for this plot in young adult fiction. The author put a lot of research into the stories behind World War I and Greek myths to educate the reader with accurate descriptions of the subjects. It’s rare for me to love a romance book, but I would make an exemption for this novel. The romance was utterly believable to warm your heart thoroughly. I appreciate the author’s acknowledgment of how soldiers have to deal with issues like PTSD and acceptance throughout the book. There isn’t a lot of well done mental health representation in young adult fiction, especially the romance genre, but the author did superbly. The author highlighted an interracial relationship that I found to be incredibly enlightening. There was no hesitation in exposing the racism towards one of the African American main characters from his peers.

I think it’s wrong to categorize this novel as only a romance; since it has the elements of history, war, death, grief, guilt, love, friendship, and acceptance. The novel essentially captures what it means to be human and to feel lost during a time of deep crisis. I think this book touched me because of the time we are going through right now; this book reminds us that there is hope in humanity. I rarely cry during books, but this book made me sob. You can imagine how powerful the author must be to generate such revoking thoughts and emotions in a reader. I can not recommend this enough to anyone! There is something for everyone. If you are not a romance fan, stay for the history. If you are not a history connoisseur, stay for the relationships (platonic or romantic). There is something for everyone within this book. I can proudly say that this is one of my top 5 books of the year. The age recommendation is 13+: Mentions of violence in wars, racial slurs. TW: mentions PTSD ( just as a caution for anyone who might feel uncomfortable with the topic).

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin May 14, 2020

Not as deeply thought provoking as I wanted it to be...but I loved the sweeping romance of this WWI era historical novel, narrated by the Greek Gods.

THIS BOOK. I was so invested by page 10 that I struggled to put it down, and by the end I had stifled sobs in public twice and just had to sit and hug the book for a while.

Lovely War is a sweeping tale of romance, true love, fate, war, death, and humanity, told from the perspective of the gods. Put on trial for cheating by her husband, Hephaestus, Aphrodite claims that she will show him her reasons, if only he will let her tell him a story. That story spans the course of World War I, involves two couples, many countries, and the blooming of love in so many different ways, all set against the backdrop of so much death and destruction. Love is what makes us human, and, as it turns out, it also may be what the gods yearn for just as intensely.

I struggled to come up with a synopsis for this one because to me, it has everything, and it’s so wonderfully complex. It spans a wide time range, includes a broad cast of characters, and it’s told from the perspective of Aphrodite and other gods. Like? How does one summarize such a thing?

But I just keep coming back to how much I loved this. How much emotion is involved in all of these characters, human and god alike, and how genuine everything feels. How my heart fluttered right alongside Hazel and James, Colette and Aubrey, how the narration never made me feel too isolated from them like some other omniscient narration has, how beautifully Julie handles issues like racism and brutality and injustice.

It’s just. So. GOOD. And so well-written. If you like emotional tales full of vibrant characters and you can handle war stories, this is not one to be missed.

JCLChrisK Mar 23, 2020

A wonderful story of love during WWI. Four protagonists--two couples--their friendships and tumult as great forces out of their control dictate their comings and goings, time together and apart. Two British, one Belgian, and one American; African-American, importantly. Musicians, classical and jazz. Battlefields and trenches. Cafes in Paris. Barracks and tents. Rough treatment at the hands of others. Trauma and loss. The power of love. So many ingredients and so much going on. An intimate epic.

Unfortunately, the framing device of Greek gods narrating their stories didn't work for me. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I would have preferred the book without that aspect.

Mar 07, 2020

First and foremost, Lovely War was an historical romance about two couples whose lives intersected during the Great War. Creatively shared, but not in an overshadowing way, through the testimonies of the Greek gods Ares, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Hades, who all had hands in the circumstances of the couples lives. Predominantly, this was James, Hazel, Aubrey, and Colette's experiences with small moments with the gods between "acts." Those moments gave credence to the circumstances that the characters found themselves in and propelled their stories forward.

Besides the focus on two touching romances, the novel was an intense depiction of some of the invasions, war front battles, as well as racial prejudices brought overseas and into the conflict. The author expertly depicted the British, Belgian, and American importance during WWI. I had felt like James and Hazel’s story was more developed than Aubrey and Colette's, but both were full of meaningful and poignant moments of love, death, grief, and in the end, hope.

Note: This book is classified as YA, but as a reader of both adult and YA, it reads more like adult fiction to me. I think that the mild fantasy element brings a lighter touch to balance the bleak and grittier parts and quite possibly, the reason for the YA classification. Regardless, I highly recommend this story to historical romance readers and those who simply enjoy well-written historical fiction with a light touch of fantasy.

Mar 02, 2020

Hephaestus catches his wife, Aphrodite, having an affair with Ares. She is put on trial to defend why love should be with war. She tells a love story that takes place during World War I about a girl named Hazel and a boy named James, and explains that they fell in love because of the war and were driven apart because of the war.

3.5/5: This book was OK. It was a long book, but I enjoyed reading it the whole time. The characters in here are all charming in their own ways. The WWI setting was also very well depicted; I can tell the author had done previous research on many aspects of the war's impact. The romance was really well written in the story, but I didn't cry any tears over it. I like this book though.

Hazel and Jame's relationship was really wholesome. Some may say that it was insta-love, but it's justified because of the war going on; the war shows that time is short, so if you want to love someone why wait? I love how their relationship developed, and I love their commitment towards each other. They both ultimately wanted to look out for each other too, and it was so beautiful seeing how much they cared for each other :) Hazel is strong on her own, and James is a dork in the best way. Colette was so elegant and beautiful. And Aubrey? Aubrey was great, I laughed because of his charisma. As for the war, at first I was turned off by James' POV. However, once things got more interesting, I became immersed in all the war details from his perspective. The weakest part of this novel was the whole Greek mythology theme; it felt unnecessary. However, I really love the idea that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, will never have a love of her own as rich and deep as mortals. It makes sense, which is why I love that idea.

What I Take Away: Romance novels are cute. Love requires devotion to each other; to commit to each other and to work problems out together. Love matures over time. Love is also a choice. Love is also deepened because we are bound to death; we will die one day. That enriches love. Jazz is really cool, and it truly was a marvel when it first came out.

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