Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

Posted September 20, 2021 by Stephanie in 5 Stars, Historical Fiction, Review / 16 Comments

Title: Lovely War
Author: Julie Berry
Publication: February 4th 2020 by Penguin Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | iBooks | Kobo
Rating: 5/5

Read the critical darling that Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network, 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 the 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.

Lovely War is one of the most surprising and amazing books I’ve read this year. I would never have connected a story set in World War I (and partly World War II) with Greek mythology but Julie Berry totally made it work. I completely fell in love with this brilliant and touching book.

The story is mainly told through the point of view of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love, who is being put on trial by her husband Hephaestus for being unfaithful with Ares. So Aphrodite decided to tell them all a story about love. We also get in alternating chapters the story told by Ares, Apollo and Hades, who are also present at the trial. They tell the story of Hazel and James, who fall in love right before James had to head off to war as a new soldier. They also tell the story of Colette and Aubrey, a Belgian girl who lost her entire family because of the Germans and Aubrey an African-American musician from Harlem.

This is a book that focuses on the romance between these two couples but it goes into so much more than that. It goes into the horrors of the war and how it affected the soldiers not only physically but also mentally, there was also the prejudice and racism that the black soldiers were experiencing. At times it was a very harrowing read but outstanding at the same time.

Hazel, James, Colette and Aubrey were all fantastic characters to read about. Every single one. I did have a soft spot for Colette because she’s Belgian just like me. Her backstory of losing her family and the boy she was in love with broke my heart. But I absolutely loved that even though she went through so much back in Belgium that she gave Aubrey a chance eventually. I loved them so much.

Lovely War by Julie Berry was one beautifully written book. It surprised me, made my heart pound, broke my heart several times, made me both laugh and cry. The rollercoaster of emotions was very real and I loved every single part of it.



Things you might like in this book:

The Greek gods
If you’re addicted to Greek mythology like me then you will most likely love this story too. Aphrodite is my favorite Greek goddess and finally gets to say her piece.

Short chapters
I don’t know about you but I’m a BIG fan of short chapters. I always need to finish a chapter before I put a book down and this book was perfect with them.

The romance, oh the romance! Both couples had amazing chemistry and through the book you just can’t help but pray (to Aphrodite) that they’ll be alright. MY HEART!


About the author:

Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. She now lives in southern California with her husband and four sons.

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16 responses to “Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

  1. tee

    I love WWII historical fiction, and that this has mythology mixed in really piques my interest.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, always love the comments!

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