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.

librarianjessicaboorsma's rating:
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