The Light Over London
Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted. It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties.

The Light Over London Details

TitleThe Light Over London
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherGallery Books
ISBN-139781501196416
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The Light Over London Review

  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I was interested in what this novel had to offer. One of my pet peeves is publicists comparing one book to another. “The Lilac Girls” was about Hitler’s doctors horrible experiments on twins, and the award winning “The Nightingale” was about two sisters and their decisions about how they lived out the war, one at home and one in the French resistance The only thing this novel had in common with those is that it was set during WWII. I think the publisher Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I was interested in what this novel had to offer. One of my pet peeves is publicists comparing one book to another. “The Lilac Girls” was about Hitler’s doctors horrible experiments on twins, and the award winning “The Nightingale” was about two sisters and their decisions about how they lived out the war, one at home and one in the French resistance The only thing this novel had in common with those is that it was set during WWII. I think the publisher does more harm than good when comparing one book to another. I would call this more of a historical romance with a mystery, with lots of emphasis on the romance. The story is told from two points of view and we go back and forth from the present day to WWII. The timelines flowed nicely.Louise Keene is 19 years old and living in a small Cornish village with her life seemingly planned out for her by her mother. To escape these plans and her small village she signs up for the British Army and will be working in the anti-aircraft division as what they called an “Ack, Ack” girl. Her cousin Kate, whom she is quite close to, also signs up.The women basically did all of the scoping out of the night sky and when a plane was spotted they did the math that was involved to get the guns in the correct location and then a man was the one who fired the gun. This was an interesting enough part of the book, learning about the gunner girls, although her romance with an RAF pilot seemed trite and underdeveloped. She married him without knowing much about him. She later learns that this was a mistake.Cara Hargraves is recently divorced and working for an antiques dealer. While clearing out a vast estate she comes across a diary of a woman who was also in the British Army. Because there seems to be a mystery about the woman and because Cara’s grandmother was also in the Army she decides to delve into discovering the identity of the woman who wrote the diary. Along with the diary are also a photo and some other personal items. This would have been more interesting if a romance hadn’t been invented for this character as well. Her new neighbor, Liam, is an engaging, warm guy and also interested in history, (surprise, surprise). She and Liam work together to find out the identity of the diarist. The romance seemed more fitting for a 20 year old than a 30 something divorced woman, i.e. “their fingers brushing when she handed the matches over. Her heart leaped in her throat, and Liam’s gaze flew up to her. For a moment they remained frozen, the tips of their fingers touching”. Really, this from grown adults previously married? There was also lots of sweet tender kissing with tingling feelings, etc.I liked the character of Louise’s Gran a lot and wish that her history had been more well developed. Louise knows that there is a secret that Gran has been keeping from the family for years and she wants to discover what it is. If you are a mystery reader you will likely figure out the mystery before it is revealed, there are plenty of red herrings.I would say that if you are looking for a quick, romantic novel with some history of the gunner girls you would enjoy this book. I did give it 3 stars because there is some good writing here and it kept me turning the pages. This was a debut novel and I will definitely check out any further books by Ms. Kelly.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    The publisher recommends this book for those who liked The Nightingale or Lilac Girls, which is what drew me to it. In truth, it struck me as more romance than historic fiction. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Just know what you’re getting going into it. Drawing on two parallel storylines, it tells of Cara, who works for an antique dealer and finds a diary from a WWII “gunner girl”. We read about Louise as Cara reads her diary and determines to find out more about her. Both of the female c The publisher recommends this book for those who liked The Nightingale or Lilac Girls, which is what drew me to it. In truth, it struck me as more romance than historic fiction. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Just know what you’re getting going into it. Drawing on two parallel storylines, it tells of Cara, who works for an antique dealer and finds a diary from a WWII “gunner girl”. We read about Louise as Cara reads her diary and determines to find out more about her. Both of the female characters come dangerously close to being a cliche. Shy, reserved women who finally strike out for themselves while finding love. I read historical fiction to try and learn something about a time period. I didn’t feel like I came away from this having learned anything new. This is an enjoyable, fast read but nothing new or different. My thanks to netgalley and Gallery Books for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Brandice
    January 1, 1970
    The Light Over London is a dual timeline story, in which Cara finds a WWII diary at one of the properties where she’s working with her antiques dealer boss, and becomes invested in identifying its author and what happened to her. Cara has buried herself in work to avoid dealing with the grief and pain in her life recently. The diary gives her another outlet for distraction, and she tries to use its story to connect with her grandmother, Iris, who has always avoided talking about her time in the The Light Over London is a dual timeline story, in which Cara finds a WWII diary at one of the properties where she’s working with her antiques dealer boss, and becomes invested in identifying its author and what happened to her. Cara has buried herself in work to avoid dealing with the grief and pain in her life recently. The diary gives her another outlet for distraction, and she tries to use its story to connect with her grandmother, Iris, who has always avoided talking about her time in the British service. The author of the diary is Louise, a young woman who wanted more than her small town life. She fell in love then volunteered for the British service. The book alternates between Cara’s life now and Louise’s life during WWII. The Light Over London is mostly a historical romance with elements of historical fiction mixed in throughout. I enjoyed it, but the romances which were on the lighter side, didn’t necessarily feel genuine. They seemed a bit hasty and/or too convenient, just not as believable as I would have liked. At certain points in the book, I preferred one storyline over the other - and this flip-flopped as the story progressed. As a whole though, I didn’t prefer one more than the other. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsIn this book we meet two woman of two different time periods. The first is Cara Hagraves, a young woman devastated from a current divorce who works with a antiques dealer classifying objects. The other is Louise Keene, a young woman who is stifled by her overbearing parents and looks for a way to escape their confines. She finds it by running away and then working as one of the ack ack girls during World War II. Both girls are trying to find a place where they belong, a place where they 3.5 starsIn this book we meet two woman of two different time periods. The first is Cara Hagraves, a young woman devastated from a current divorce who works with a antiques dealer classifying objects. The other is Louise Keene, a young woman who is stifled by her overbearing parents and looks for a way to escape their confines. She finds it by running away and then working as one of the ack ack girls during World War II. Both girls are trying to find a place where they belong, a place where they find their sense of self, a way to establish their natures. Cara finds hidden in an old piece of furniture, a diary that once belonged to Louise and from those pages the story is drawn. As Cara searches to determine who Louise was, she discovers more about her own grandmother's place in the war. She is helped by a young man and the romance begins to bud as they draw closer to one another and the truth of what happened to these young woman thrown into the war effort. This book offered an interesting look into the ack ack girls, but it was more of a romance story than an actual historical fiction novel. While I did like it, for it was an easy read, I did want more development on the historical side. It did however, encourage me to research more about the ack ack girls and for me that is what a good book often does.....inspires you to dig deeper. Thank you to Julia Kelly, Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book. Thanks also to the Traveling Sisters reading group who read along with me.My reviews can be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...http://www.girlsatwar.com/the-ack-ack...
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  • Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsFair warning! Tissues needed!Positively touching, a sweet romantic slow burn sweep through two historical timelines. Separate, yet intertwined are the walks of two woman from different backgrounds and times, who want to follow their hearts and are thrown devastating challenges their way. Moving back into her hometown to restart her life after a painful divorce, Cara Hargraves works on estate inspections, appraisals and sales. Her interest in all old things and historical treasures take 4.5 starsFair warning! Tissues needed!Positively touching, a sweet romantic slow burn sweep through two historical timelines. Separate, yet intertwined are the walks of two woman from different backgrounds and times, who want to follow their hearts and are thrown devastating challenges their way. Moving back into her hometown to restart her life after a painful divorce, Cara Hargraves works on estate inspections, appraisals and sales. Her interest in all old things and historical treasures take up most of her time, as she studies over manuals and catalogs during work as well as on her own free time. Isolating herself from others and trying to make a new home, she hardly seeks time for socialization of any kind nor gives her new cute neighbor any thought. At one of her on site assignments, Cara stumbles upon an old tin with a diary in it that was kept from the estate sale itself. With permission she is allowed to read the diary over the course of the next few weeks and she finds herself entranced by the strength, heartache, blush worthy and tragic moments told by a young woman who has run away from home to follow independence and love.It’s the beginning of WWII, Louise is destined to be betrothed to a young man with a bright future as her mother sees fit and has planned it out for years…just as soon as he is back from his military duty assignment. But Louise is not happy. Not liking the confinement of her small town, she begins to dream big and of going to California to study math.As her BFF cousin takes Louise to a dance one evening in town, she falls smitten with a young soldier that is on R&R for the evening. Cautiously they go on a few dates, always staying hidden away from the prying eyes in town. But as destiny has it, someone sees them and tells her mother. As the reprimands escalate, Louise decides to run away with her cousin to enlist in hopes of making a difference and creating a better life for herself other than the one her mother envisions. It turns out, Louise accelerates on her aptitude tests with highest honor and becomes the special assignment of Ack-Ack girl along with 5 other smart and fierce ladies. As she is training and becoming close to her comrades, she keeps pen paling with Paul the entire time and keeping log in her diary. As the months pass, Paul and her are trying to meet up again, and after many unforeseen circumstances and canceled leave time, he surprises her and shows up at her duty station. One day later, they marry and consummate their new relationship…till they will see each other again. Cara in the meantime is reading through the diary and her cute neighbor happens to be a history professor. As he inches forward in a neighborly way with a dinner to get to know her, Cara tells him of her work and the diary. Intrigued about the mystery couple and the abrupt diary ending, he offers to help her in finding out who the rightful owner of the diary is so they can return it to the family.As the novel switches viewpoints between Louise and Cara, it becomes a connected network of similarities and revelations balanced with moments of the women’s relationships, failures and successes. ***If you have been fooled like me by the blurb on the book that states: For fans of the 'Lilac Girls' or 'The Nightingale', let me say, that in my opinion that is not exactly true. I am an absolute fan of the 'Lilac Girls' by Martha Hall Kelly and the tragic story of the 'Rabbit-Girls' at Ravensbrueck, so much though, that I have done further reading on the subject and suggested readings from the back of that book. And this novel was nothing like the atrocities that happened at Concentration camp. For fans of 'The Nightingale' it may hold a bit closer of a match, but again the direct contact and influence of German soldiers in town and their violence was a missing piece in this novel. However, 'The Light Over London' is a beautiful, romantic read that takes place around / during the WWII and holds it’s own for a great sweeping story that touches on the subject of woman in the military during the war. Specifically the Ack Ack Girls. This was a legitimate branch of ladies that was sent to assist gunners to target in on German planes to shoot them out of the sky from the ground. So as it goes, I went and looked up some info on these brave ladies and will attach it at the bottom. To gather my thoughts and sum it up, this novel is beautiful and touching. The romance is sweet and slow, and I don’t read romance novels normally (…I fell for the blurb expecting something different). But I was pretty smitten. This book ended up being the one I wanted to read in the tub with some bubbly and the one that kept me up late at night reading. The conclusion is sweet, not everything is a happy ending, but it checked all the boxes of closing the different plot endings…only for me to wish I could read on. So, already missed are the characters and this book will be one of my faves for its own flavor not to stand in the shadow of another. Romance haters beware. Romance lovers embrace! This novel is beautiful. Enjoy!I received a digital copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you. Photos and articles on my website:https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/new-...
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars rounded up to 4 A compelling dual narrative taking place in 2018 and during WWII that was Impossible to put down The Light Over London is probably what many of us WWII readers would refer to as "historical lite", simply meaning it's a bit more heavy on the relationships between people ( in the case of this book- the gunner girls), families, and of course the romantic kind. But it was just the type of story to start on a cold(-50 celsius ) Saturday morning over my coffee. I really lov 3.75 stars rounded up to 4 A compelling dual narrative taking place in 2018 and during WWII that was Impossible to put down The Light Over London is probably what many of us WWII readers would refer to as "historical lite", simply meaning it's a bit more heavy on the relationships between people ( in the case of this book- the gunner girls), families, and of course the romantic kind. But it was just the type of story to start on a cold(-50 celsius ) Saturday morning over my coffee. I really loved both protagonists - modern gal Cara and Gunner Girl, Louise, equally and felt their individual stories complimented each other well. Author Julia Kelly matches the historical record with just the right dose of intrigue that kept me on the edge of my seat. If it appears, I am hesitant to give out a full rave rating, it is only because I saw a few plot twists coming but I would still not hesitate to recommend it to other readers. Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Shuster Canada for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    Ah my favourite kind of story, that moves back and forth through the past and present time. Superbly written! In the present day, Cara is an antiques dealer, who is dealing with an estate of a recently deceased lady. She finds an old diary in amongst her things. It is a diary written in the WW2 era about a war time romance. She is fascinated and begins to try to solve the mystery. The story goes back in time as Cara reads the diary entries. In the present time Cara is also trying to find out a f Ah my favourite kind of story, that moves back and forth through the past and present time. Superbly written! In the present day, Cara is an antiques dealer, who is dealing with an estate of a recently deceased lady. She finds an old diary in amongst her things. It is a diary written in the WW2 era about a war time romance. She is fascinated and begins to try to solve the mystery. The story goes back in time as Cara reads the diary entries. In the present time Cara is also trying to find out a family secret about her own Grandmother during the second World War.Sometimes when I read these past and present stories I enjoy one more than the other but in this book I equally enjoyed both stories. They were well thought out and told brilliantly little by little until the end and the big reveals. I will definitely be reading more from this author. If you enjoy Wartime romances I highly recommend this one. I chose to read this around Remembrance Day. I think it added to the nostalgia. I really enjoyed it!Thank-you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for allowing me the opportunity to read this Advanced Reader Copy.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 20%. More romance than history, just not what I was expecting. A little too fluffy.
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars While I enjoyed The Light Over London, I didn't love it like I hoped that I would, especially since I requested it because it is compared in the blurb to The Nightingale, which is one of my most favorite WWII historical fiction novels. I've made this complaint several times this year about books being marketed as either the wrong genre or indiscriminately compared to other books in the hopes that readers would pick them up because they were fans of those other books, and that's the cas 3.5 Stars While I enjoyed The Light Over London, I didn't love it like I hoped that I would, especially since I requested it because it is compared in the blurb to The Nightingale, which is one of my most favorite WWII historical fiction novels. I've made this complaint several times this year about books being marketed as either the wrong genre or indiscriminately compared to other books in the hopes that readers would pick them up because they were fans of those other books, and that's the case here since the only thing The Light Over London has in common with The Nightingale is both are set during WWII.I think it had the potential to be a great story, but it was less historical fiction and more historical romance than I like so for me, at least, that took something away from the story, especially since Cara's romance in the current time period felt a bit contrived and unnecessary, and I wish the author had instead spent more time on the history of the gunner girls and Louise's role as one since their part in WWII was so extraordinary and so important! Also, my favorite character in the entire book was Cara's grandmother, and I would have loved it if her character had been fleshed out more...she was just fabulous! All in all, it's a perfectly lovely story but will not be going on my list of favorite books. It is a quick, enjoyable read, and if you like romance novels or lighter historical fiction, then this might be perfect for you. However, if you are expecting a deeper and more profound WWII novel like The Nightingale and want your historical fiction to be more historical and less fluff, then you might want to skip this one.**Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for an ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**
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  • Joe Krakovsky
    January 1, 1970
    I recently got 'scolded' by one of my Goodreads friends for being 'nice' instead of giving an 'honest' review. With that in mind, here I go...I won this book in a Goodreads drawing. It is a novel about two women. One, whom we could call an English little small town country girl, started keeping a diary when she fell in love with a Spitfire pilot at the beginning of World War II. The other female of interest is a current day young woman, divorced, who finds the diary while helping her employer go I recently got 'scolded' by one of my Goodreads friends for being 'nice' instead of giving an 'honest' review. With that in mind, here I go...I won this book in a Goodreads drawing. It is a novel about two women. One, whom we could call an English little small town country girl, started keeping a diary when she fell in love with a Spitfire pilot at the beginning of World War II. The other female of interest is a current day young woman, divorced, who finds the diary while helping her employer go through antiques in an old house. As she starts reading the diary, our modern girl is drawn into it so much that she decides to try and track down the original owner so she can return the diary. "Why does she care?" one may ask. It seems that the more she reads, the more she finds this girl had in common with her grandmother, who seems to harbor a secret. The switching back and forth between the time periods was necessary for the story to develop, but I found it mildly annoying. Having the story take place during WWII, and getting the historical facts right, more than made up for it for me. There were actually two love stories here, our modern girl and the one from the past. The thing is, some things never change. I mean, as you read along you can sort of see what is going on here. To be honest, my knowledge of the WWII event made things pretty clear to me and I picked up on all the subtle hints, but I am sure many a lady out there will figure what's what using her female intuition and say, "That son of a bitch!" I don't want to give away any spoilers so I will just say that there are unexpected developments and a fine set of characters supporting our small town girl. I will say this, Mom was trying to run the girl's life and did not want her dating a pilot. So the girl runs away and signs up for the duration. She ends up as part of a female gun crew defending London during the Blitz. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to her. Read it and see why
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsFirst I really have to start off by saying it’s too much of expectations here to compare The Light Over London with The Nightingale or Lilac Girls. The Light Over London is a much lighter historical fiction and more towards a historical romance. I thought they were very different stories and had different tones to the stories. I think you are much better off going into this story without the expectations of comparing it to The Nightingale or Lilac Girls.Now that I got that off my chest 3.5 StarsFirst I really have to start off by saying it’s too much of expectations here to compare The Light Over London with The Nightingale or Lilac Girls. The Light Over London is a much lighter historical fiction and more towards a historical romance. I thought they were very different stories and had different tones to the stories. I think you are much better off going into this story without the expectations of comparing it to The Nightingale or Lilac Girls.Now that I got that off my chest on to my thoughts for The Light Over London. Julia Kelly tells a tender story of war and love and she creates two different, remarkable and strong women here with Louise and Cara who are from two different timelines. They both are struggling with love and their self-worth. We follow along as both find their independence, inner strength and worth.I was intrigued by both storylines and thought each brought something very different to the story. I really enjoyed Louise’s courageous journey to self-discovery and was intrigued by the history of the gunner girls. I wish that Julia Kelly would have spent more time on this part of the history.Now, what makes this story is that it is on the lighter side and it’s a nice change of pace to read a tender yet intriguing WWII story that is safe from the dark side of the war. I highly recommend for readers who like to keep things light.Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Julia Kelly for gifting me a physical advance uncorrected proof to read.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Sweet, intriguing, and romantic!The Light Over London is a compelling tale set during the early 1940s, as well as the present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Louise, a young girl who finds adventure outside her hometown by becoming a Gunner Girl in the British Army and being swept off her feet by a dashing RAF pilot; and Cara, a recent divorcee who after finding an old locket, photograph, and diary during an estate sale embarks on a journey to discover the owner's identity and Sweet, intriguing, and romantic!The Light Over London is a compelling tale set during the early 1940s, as well as the present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Louise, a young girl who finds adventure outside her hometown by becoming a Gunner Girl in the British Army and being swept off her feet by a dashing RAF pilot; and Cara, a recent divorcee who after finding an old locket, photograph, and diary during an estate sale embarks on a journey to discover the owner's identity and life story.The writing is light and fluid. The characters are intelligent, resilient, and determined. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into an engaging tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, betrayal, friendship, secrets, and love.Overall, The Light Over London is an uplifting, atmospheric, informative tale about taking chances, moving on, and discovering one’s true self. And even though I felt it delved a little deeper into the romance, relationship side than the historical fiction side of things I did enjoy the little glimpse into some of the unknown, specialty roles women played during WWII.Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 dual-timeline historical stars to this oneJust when I think I've read about many of the facets of WWII, along comes another book to prove me wrong! This book has dual storylines -- a modern story with Cara, and a WWII era story with Louise. Cara works in antiques and discovers Louise's diary when she served as a Gunner Girl and sets out to learn more.These WWII women were recruited to serve in a nearly-combat role, spotting the enemy planes, dialing in the instruments, but they were not allowe 4 dual-timeline historical stars to this oneJust when I think I've read about many of the facets of WWII, along comes another book to prove me wrong! This book has dual storylines -- a modern story with Cara, and a WWII era story with Louise. Cara works in antiques and discovers Louise's diary when she served as a Gunner Girl and sets out to learn more.These WWII women were recruited to serve in a nearly-combat role, spotting the enemy planes, dialing in the instruments, but they were not allowed to load or fire the guns. They were in danger every night when the Germans flew over London with bombers.There are love stories in the book and some secrets that unfold. This is not a gut-wrenching WWII tale, so if you shy away from those, I think you would enjoy this one. I enjoyed both storylines, the historical one slightly more. I think this would make a good book club book if looking for something a little lighter, but with substance for discussion.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    This had everything I love in a story: dual timeline, WWII, some mystery, and little romance. Loved the characters and thought the story was well done.
  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    This could have been a fascinating book about one of the first and only woman bombers in WWII. The woman's story is interesting but for some reason the author juxtapositions the tale of modern day antique dealer, Cara, who discovers the diary in a house of furniture being prepared for auction. This odd pairing leads to an average historical romance instead of an illuminating look at underreported aspect of women roles during the War. What a sad missed opportunity.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    The Light Over London is a dual timeline story that grabbed me from page one. I love historical fiction about strong women who buck the societal norms to make their own way in life! Julia Kelly’s latest work is a must read for historical fiction fans!
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Cara Hargraves, still coming to terms with her divorce, has taken a job as an assistant to an antique dealer. While sorting through an estate sale she comes across a tin with an old diary and a photo inside. The photo is of a woman in uniform and the diary chronicles her life before and during her service in the women's branch of the British Army during WWII. Cara is determined to find the family of the author of the the diary. She discovers the diary is that of Louise Keene, a young woman from Cara Hargraves, still coming to terms with her divorce, has taken a job as an assistant to an antique dealer. While sorting through an estate sale she comes across a tin with an old diary and a photo inside. The photo is of a woman in uniform and the diary chronicles her life before and during her service in the women's branch of the British Army during WWII. Cara is determined to find the family of the author of the the diary. She discovers the diary is that of Louise Keene, a young woman from a small Cornish village. While at a dance, Louise met a dashing RAF piolet, Paul Bolten, and she is quickly swept off her feet. Encouraged by Paul's service and wanting more for her future than life in a small village, Louise and her cousin Kate leave for training and selection for where they will be sent. Louise shows great aptitude for numbers and is assigned to the anti-aircraft unit as a Gunner Girl. She is sustained by her letters from Paul, and the friendship of the other Gunner Girls.Alternating between Louise's and Cara's story, it chronicles their journeys of growth and romance. It illustrates the great contribution women made in the war effort. A light, easy historical fiction. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    I was asked to blurb this book and below are my thoughts! A fantastic read. In THE LIGHT OVER LONDON, Julia Kelly introduces readers to a new group of WWII heroes—the gunner girls. Deftly weaving together past and present, Kelly tells a fresh, heartfelt story of sisterhood and sacrifice, culminating in a gut-punch finish. Perfect for fans of THE ALICE NETWORK.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    This is not the sort of book I would usually pick up. There is a historical war time romance story and I prefer contemporary books. But once I started, I found myself pulled into the story and I ended up really enjoying it.The book interweaves the story on Cara, an antique dealer in the present day, with that of Louise, a young woman who runs off to join the war effort in 1941. There are some similarities between the two woman. Both woman are unlucky in love and feel they will never meet the man This is not the sort of book I would usually pick up. There is a historical war time romance story and I prefer contemporary books. But once I started, I found myself pulled into the story and I ended up really enjoying it.The book interweaves the story on Cara, an antique dealer in the present day, with that of Louise, a young woman who runs off to join the war effort in 1941. There are some similarities between the two woman. Both woman are unlucky in love and feel they will never meet the man of their dreams. You know what happens next. Cara meets her new neighbor and finds an attraction there. Louise meets a young pilot at a dance and begins a romance with him. I was hoping for both women to find love and was interested to see how Louise's life would turn out.The book moved along at a nice pace and I was never bored reading it. The chapters alternated between each woman's point of view. That is not my favorite way to tell a story, but I enjoyed the book enough that it didn't bother me to much. I would recommend this book, especially for fans of war time romances.I received a free ARC from the publisher through a goodreads giveaway in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Jeanette Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    At first glance this appears to be a love story but it is more than that for it will appeal to the history buff readers as it gives insight to the many women in WW2, who stepped up to the plate and took on roles that were normally male dominated. A woman's natural aptitude for multi-tasking gave many a chance to throw away the knitting needles and the stifling expectations of society, put on a pair of trousers and embrace change. The story begins modern day 2017 with Cara who is treading the emo At first glance this appears to be a love story but it is more than that for it will appeal to the history buff readers as it gives insight to the many women in WW2, who stepped up to the plate and took on roles that were normally male dominated. A woman's natural aptitude for multi-tasking gave many a chance to throw away the knitting needles and the stifling expectations of society, put on a pair of trousers and embrace change. The story begins modern day 2017 with Cara who is treading the emotional waters of a broken marriage and the death of her parents. She has dumped her job of many years for one of complete change of pace and one where she can quietly recover. Working in the antiques business as an assistant to the owner, it's at an appraisal of a deceased estate that Cara discovers a notebook from 1940. Being of no dollar value, her boss allows her to keep the book where Cara hopes to discover more about the owner.Louise, 1941 in a small village of Cornwall, Haybourne where she works as a sales assistant, a rather menial job for a young girl with a good intellect and mathematical ability. Here Louise is constrained by village attitudes and her mother, that she marry Gary, a young man with a good family that is considerably better off than most. The reader will probably identify the mother as a society climber, snob, believing that she had married beneath herself. Poor Louise, she dreams of California and the opportunities that she could expect from a more egalitarian society. Out of frustration from her mother's relentless nagging Louise accepts an invitation by her cousin Kate to go to a dance. This is where through a series of events the change for Louise begins.The author has researched the role of the gunner girls, the Ack-Ack Command making this read both pleasant and informative.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    The Light Over London by Julia Kelly follows the lives of two women, Cara and Louise, who live very different lives but share a common strength. Cara is recently divorced and has also just lost both of her parents. She works with an antique dealer and when working at an estate, finds a World War II diary belonging to a woman in uniform. Cara is eager to find out everything she can about this female soldier and is desperate to reunite the author with the unfinished diary. With the help of her new The Light Over London by Julia Kelly follows the lives of two women, Cara and Louise, who live very different lives but share a common strength. Cara is recently divorced and has also just lost both of her parents. She works with an antique dealer and when working at an estate, finds a World War II diary belonging to a woman in uniform. Cara is eager to find out everything she can about this female soldier and is desperate to reunite the author with the unfinished diary. With the help of her new neighbor Liam, Cara reads the diary and starts to investigate the mystery of this woman. As they discover the answers to the mystery, Cara realizes that the diary may also help her find answers to some of the mysteries of her own personal family life. Louise Keene is nineteen years old in 1941 England and has had her whole life decided for her. When Louise meets a RAF Pilot, Paul Bolton, Louise realizes that she is destined for more in life. She decides to join the women's branch of the British Army as a Gunner Girl. As Louise relishes doing her part in the war, she and Paul write letters to each other. They fall in love and Louise can't wait for the war to be over so that they can be together. When Louise receives a package of her unopened letters to him, she quickly learns the heartbreaking truths of wartime romance. I love historical fiction, especially when it's about World War II. The best WWII fiction are the books that are able to combine the events of the war with a compelling personal story. I felt that the Light Over London was somewhat light in content on the historical events part of the book. Louise and Cara's stories were equally compelling and I enjoyed reading about their romances. However, I would have liked more details about Louise as a Gunner Girl. I also wanted more information on Cara's grandmother's role in the war. Kelly writes very well and the book flowed seamlessly between Cara and Louise. I just would have liked a little more historical information and I think it would have only strengthened the story.I really liked Kelly's writing style and I hope that she writes more historical fiction.3.5 stars.
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  • Danielle Rotko
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this was compared to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I would’ve been happy with a book even in the same ballpark, but sadly The Light Over London pales in comparison. While I enjoyed the story and reading about women’s roles in the war, I know it will not have a lasting impact on me. It was just “okay.” I read The Nightingale almost 10 months ago and I still think about it to this day. Unfortunately this will not be one of those books that sticks When I saw this was compared to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I would’ve been happy with a book even in the same ballpark, but sadly The Light Over London pales in comparison. While I enjoyed the story and reading about women’s roles in the war, I know it will not have a lasting impact on me. It was just “okay.” I read The Nightingale almost 10 months ago and I still think about it to this day. Unfortunately this will not be one of those books that sticks with me for weeks and months to come. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, the author and Gallery Books for a chance to review it!
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  • Heather Donovan
    January 1, 1970
    **Possible spoilers ahead**I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I requested this book on the marketing promise that this book was for fans of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.While I enjoyed the story of Louise and the other Ack-Ack Girls, the present-day story with Cara and her grandmother Iris was wasted. I was waiting for a big reveal that somehow tied the two stories together - given that Iris and Louise were both serving during the war, I thought perhaps Louise **Possible spoilers ahead**I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I requested this book on the marketing promise that this book was for fans of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.While I enjoyed the story of Louise and the other Ack-Ack Girls, the present-day story with Cara and her grandmother Iris was wasted. I was waiting for a big reveal that somehow tied the two stories together - given that Iris and Louise were both serving during the war, I thought perhaps Louise WAS Iris - maybe her middle name was Iris and after the war she chose to go by that name instead. Throughout the book we are teased with a big 'secret' that Iris is keeping from her Granddaughter Cara, and when it is finally revealed in the last few pages, the reader will raise their eyes and say to themselves, "yeah, and?". The clues are there, and the whole storyline is a letdown. If you think this book is in any way in the same league as The Nightingale, you will be disappointed.
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it in a quiet way. Learned about the Gunner girls.
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    A moving and beautifully told wartime romance. Two women, two remarkable stories from different generational perspectives.Desperately stuck in a small town and itching to escape an overbearing mother,, nineteen year old Louise runs away, enlisting in the military to do her part in the WWII war effort shortly after falling head over heals in love with Paul, a handsome and sophisticated fighter pilot.In current day, we meet young Cara, an antiques apprentice charged with fleshing out facts behind A moving and beautifully told wartime romance. Two women, two remarkable stories from different generational perspectives.Desperately stuck in a small town and itching to escape an overbearing mother,, nineteen year old Louise runs away, enlisting in the military to do her part in the WWII war effort shortly after falling head over heals in love with Paul, a handsome and sophisticated fighter pilot.In current day, we meet young Cara, an antiques apprentice charged with fleshing out facts behind antiques. “FSP” her boss tells her. Find, Sell, Profit. One day Cara discovers Louise’s WWII diary and it draws her in. Delving into the past is no longer just business - things have become personal. The beautifully written diary completely drew me in as well. I loved every journal entry and Louise’s unique perspective on war as she transforms into an Ack Ack anti-aircraft gunnery girl. Author Julia Kelly provides historical insight into this women-only special military assignment. I never learned about these dedicated ladies in history class - it was fascinating and had me wiki’ing for more info.I seem to be gushing more about Louise’s story than Cara’s but I also enjoyed Cara’s perspective. Her quest for discovery, the similarities between her and Louise and the blossoming relationship with perfect man and handsome professor, Liam. These characters held a place in my heart. I loved their passion, the blending of past and present and the journaling. Mixed feelings about the ending. Thanks To Gallery, Threshold books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    January 1, 1970
    Cara Hargraves is newly divorced and training to be an antiques dealer. While working on a job site with her mentor and boss, she comes across a mysterious tin that holds a diary and some photos that date back to World War II. She is instantly intrigued about the diary and is determined to reunite it with its owner. Chapters switch between present day Cara to Louise Keene, a young woman from a coastal village in England, who we come to realize is the woman in the photo that Cara unearths. Louise Cara Hargraves is newly divorced and training to be an antiques dealer. While working on a job site with her mentor and boss, she comes across a mysterious tin that holds a diary and some photos that date back to World War II. She is instantly intrigued about the diary and is determined to reunite it with its owner. Chapters switch between present day Cara to Louise Keene, a young woman from a coastal village in England, who we come to realize is the woman in the photo that Cara unearths. Louise is living a very simple life with her parents and working at a shop in the village. It's a very mundane life until her very gregarious cousin, Kate, invites her to a dance. Louise goes not expecting much though as her overbearing mother thinks she will marry a local boy who is off at war. When Louise goes to the dance, she is immediately thrown into Kate's group of outgoing friends and meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton. He is mysterious, good looking, and makes her heart skip a beat. Their romance ensues much to the dismay of her mother, but this all changes when Paul gets unexpectedly deployed. Louise decides she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life with her mother dictating her every move and stuck in her childhood bedroom, so she decides to, along with Kate, join the women's branch of the British Army and trains to become a gunner girl. Julia Kelly's The Light Over London is perfect for fans of wartime fiction. If you like your historical novels with a strong side of romance and drama then this novel is a good fit for youRead the rest of my review here:http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    Present day, we meet Cara who hides herself in her work with an antiques dealer. While on a job site, Cara finds an old tin with a diary inside. She feels compelled to find out who wrote it.Flashback, we meet Louise who feels stuck in her small village. And so the story begins. I liked the characters and most of the story, but Iris seemed thrown into the mix. Her actions were over the top for me, so I really didn't care for her. However, with out the drama of Iris, learning/reading about Louise Present day, we meet Cara who hides herself in her work with an antiques dealer. While on a job site, Cara finds an old tin with a diary inside. She feels compelled to find out who wrote it.Flashback, we meet Louise who feels stuck in her small village. And so the story begins. I liked the characters and most of the story, but Iris seemed thrown into the mix. Her actions were over the top for me, so I really didn't care for her. However, with out the drama of Iris, learning/reading about Louise was quite enjoyable.**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**
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  • Jessica Rideout
    January 1, 1970
    This book just didn’t do it for me. The story itself had great potential that could have been developed more - the ending was a bit of a let down and seemed rushed. Unfortunately, with two stories going on I found I was more rushed to read through Cara’s story to see what was happening with Louise
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    The Light Over London by Julia Kelly follows two timelines. One is Cara, a recently divorced woman who finds an old WWII diary while at work. The other timeline follows Louise, the owner of the diary.What I liked:I enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel. Louise served during the war as an antiaircraft gunner girl in London helping shoot down German bombers. I have a penchant for stories about woman who served because my grandmother served in the US NAVY during WWII. Thank you to the author The Light Over London by Julia Kelly follows two timelines. One is Cara, a recently divorced woman who finds an old WWII diary while at work. The other timeline follows Louise, the owner of the diary.What I liked:I enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel. Louise served during the war as an antiaircraft gunner girl in London helping shoot down German bombers. I have a penchant for stories about woman who served because my grandmother served in the US NAVY during WWII. Thank you to the author for bringing the contributions these woman made to light.What I disliked:-Louise is probably the stupidest protagonist whose point of view I've ever read from. And by stupid I mean gullible, naive, foolish, lacking in any common sense whatsoever, which is ironic because she is supposed to be 'smart' and good at math.-The twist with Paul I saw from the beginning, therefore is was extremely anticlimactic.-Iris' story and the 'mystery' there was boring, lackluster, and very underwhelming.-Hints of modern feminist themes were thrown in towards the later half of the novel, one's that lacked explanation depth, or any compelling argument. Unfortunately, this book happened to be one that I regret having wasted my time reading. I appreciate the historical awareness it provided, but all other aspects of the story (plot, characters, some themes) were very generic and lacked any wow factor.*I received a copy of this book in a goodreads giveaway.
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  • LibraryCin
    January 1, 1970
    There are two parallel stories in this one. Cara works for an antiques dealer and, while looking through someone’s estate, she discovers an old diary hidden away; she is given permission to take it and try to find out to whom it belonged. It attracted her attention because there was a photo of a young woman in an RAF uniform, and Cara’s grandmother had also been part of the Royal Air Force during the war. In fact, Cara’s grandmother won’t talk about the war, and Cara desperately wants to hear ab There are two parallel stories in this one. Cara works for an antiques dealer and, while looking through someone’s estate, she discovers an old diary hidden away; she is given permission to take it and try to find out to whom it belonged. It attracted her attention because there was a photo of a young woman in an RAF uniform, and Cara’s grandmother had also been part of the Royal Air Force during the war. In fact, Cara’s grandmother won’t talk about the war, and Cara desperately wants to hear about it. In the diary, Louise lives in a small town and her mother expects her to marry a nice boy, Gary, who has gone to war. When she meets the charming Paul at a dance, she falls hard for him, but due to a fallout at home, she leaves and joins the army, where she ends up being one of the very few “Ack-Ack Girls” or “Gunner Girls”, helping with anti-aircraft guns. I really liked this. Initially, I liked both stories equally well, but as it continued, I did prefer Louise’s story. There were some twists at the end, though I did figure out one of Cara’s Gran’s twists. The Ack-Ack Girls were a part of WWII that I didn’t know anything about, so it was interesting to read about.
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