A Fire Sparkling
From the USA Today bestselling author of A Curve in the Road comes a spellbinding novel about one woman’s love, loss, and courage during wartime.After a crushing betrayal by the man she loves, Gillian Gibbons flees to her family home for a much-needed escape, but when she finds an old photograph of her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer, Gillian’s life gets even more complicated. Rattled by the discovery, Gillian attempts to unravel the truth behind the photos, setting her off on an epic journey through the past…1939. England is on the brink of war as Vivian Hughes falls in love with a handsome British official, but when bombs begin to fall and Vivian’s happy life is destroyed in the blitz, she will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves…As Gillian learns more about her grandmother’s past, the old photo begins to make more sense. But for every question answered, a new one takes its place. Faced with a truth that is not at all what she expected, Gillian attempts to shine a light not only on the mysteries of her family’s past but also on her own future.This gorgeously written multigenerational saga is a heart-wrenching yet hopeful examination of one woman’s struggle to survive, perfect for fans of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky.

A Fire Sparkling Details

TitleA Fire Sparkling
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 1st, 2019
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

A Fire Sparkling Review

  • Debra Slonek
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent novel filled with romance, heartache, betrayal, loyalty, danger, secrets, suspense, adventures and a cast of unforgettable characters. As you begin reading this book, prepare to be swept away...The scenes are so vividly painted. I felt as though I was walking the streets of London right along with the characters who were deeply developed and very well connected. Easily, I became immersed into their lives. I rejoiced at their good news and felt their sadness at other times. As secret An excellent novel filled with romance, heartache, betrayal, loyalty, danger, secrets, suspense, adventures and a cast of unforgettable characters. As you begin reading this book, prepare to be swept away...The scenes are so vividly painted. I felt as though I was walking the streets of London right along with the characters who were deeply developed and very well connected. Easily, I became immersed into their lives. I rejoiced at their good news and felt their sadness at other times. As secrets became burdens, the tension was palpable. As characters agonized over difficult decisions, I worried with them. Heart wrenching betrayals became very real possibilities.There is so much uncertainty with war. The one certainty is that war changes things and people. War destroys buildings and changes lives and relationships. War forces people to change how they live, love, survive and make decisions. Some of these decisions have life long and life altering consequences. Decisions which become consequences can then become closely guarded secrets. Some secrets get carried to the grave, while others get discovered in unusual, unexpected ways.So many choices to make. Duty or honor? Truth or lies? Loyalty or treachery? Can any of these opposites coexist?Many secrets and stories will be revealed as Vivian is enjoying her golden years and suddenly, her son and granddaughter want answers to questions she had been hoping to never have been asked.As Vivian recounts her story, we learn of complicated family conflicts and loyalties. We learn that a tragic ending can actually become a fresh, new beginning. We learn that sometimes, there are very compelling reasons for keeping secrets. Vivian’s life underwent many changes, and with each change, she was required to wear a new mask. The wearing of all these masks prepared Vivian for each of her next realities.I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent book. I felt many emotions while reading it. At times it caused me to gasp and other times, I shed tears. So very well done and so very much enjoyed!I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    If you like historical fiction, mystery, suspense and family drama, you will want to read "A Fire Sparkling"!This novel put me in the throes of World War II with Vivian, a young woman with many secrets. I could not stop reading until her skeletons were out of the closet. It kept me in suspense all the way until the very end of this book.Told in the present and then back to 1939, this is one amazing journey. It is like nothing I have read. The transition from timelines is so smooth, and the sto If you like historical fiction, mystery, suspense and family drama, you will want to read "A Fire Sparkling"!This novel put me in the throes of World War II with Vivian, a young woman with many secrets. I could not stop reading until her skeletons were out of the closet. It kept me in suspense all the way until the very end of this book.Told in the present and then back to 1939, this is one amazing journey. It is like nothing I have read. The transition from timelines is so smooth, and the story so well plotted; that it makes for a wonderful, detailed, story of love, anger, endurance and hope. Truly 10 stars!
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    A Fire Sparkling will leave you breathless...it is that good! I am not going to rehash the synopsis because I don’t want to inadvertently give any spoilers. Julianne MacLean has written a story that spans WWII years with lessons that carry into the present for the families of those who lived, those who died and those who loved. She paints a poignant picture of life as Britain is drawn into war with Germany. She writes about the bond between sisters and the bond between friends. She writes about A Fire Sparkling will leave you breathless...it is that good! I am not going to rehash the synopsis because I don’t want to inadvertently give any spoilers. Julianne MacLean has written a story that spans WWII years with lessons that carry into the present for the families of those who lived, those who died and those who loved. She paints a poignant picture of life as Britain is drawn into war with Germany. She writes about the bond between sisters and the bond between friends. She writes about bravery in the face of evil and the effects of secrets that finally come to light. This is a book that should not be missed! I voluntarily reviewed an advance copy of this book. Most highly recommend.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean is a marvelous dual timeline story of love and courage in times of war. It is a novel that will both thrill and horrify as the reader journeys through lives that loved and lost and that lost and found. It is a book that made me cry as the love reached out beyond the pages and into my heart.The greatest love of all is a sacrificial love. Within the story there are many instances of sacrificial love but one will pale all others into oblivion.The action alternat A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean is a marvelous dual timeline story of love and courage in times of war. It is a novel that will both thrill and horrify as the reader journeys through lives that loved and lost and that lost and found. It is a book that made me cry as the love reached out beyond the pages and into my heart.The greatest love of all is a sacrificial love. Within the story there are many instances of sacrificial love but one will pale all others into oblivion.The action alternates between 2011 and the World War II years. It is set in London, continental Europe and present day America. The story is told from several points of view. The reader is in for a real treat as we see love in action.Life deals us blows, leaving us feeling guilty and with regrets. We must deal with our past if our future is to be rosy.Twins share a deep bond with parallel lives even if they are apart.Family is important. A mother’s love is fierce with a desire to protect at all costs.The reader enters the world of the home front in war torn London and also that of the resistance movement in occupied Europe. It is a time of courage, bravery, loyalty and sacrifice. Sacrifices were made so we can live in freedom today.I was really thrilled to recognize some of the settings such as Churchill’s cabinet war rooms, having visited them myself. The London landscape was familiar to me and therefore it was easy to picture the action.I loved A Fire Sparkling. I ‘lived’ through the action. Julianne MacLean perfectly captured the atmosphere and painted the scenes with her words. I adore all her books and cannot wait to read more, more, more.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own
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  • Karen McQuestion
    January 1, 1970
    A Fire Sparkling is a beautifully-written, moving novel that seamlessly interweaves the story of a family over three generations. The core of the story belongs to Vivian Hughes and her experiences as a young woman during WWII in Great Britain. MacLean gives just enough detail to provide an authentic sense of time and place. Reading this book was a completely immersive, emotional experience for me, with twists and turns that left me reeling. In my opinion, this novel is a literary masterpiece, on A Fire Sparkling is a beautifully-written, moving novel that seamlessly interweaves the story of a family over three generations. The core of the story belongs to Vivian Hughes and her experiences as a young woman during WWII in Great Britain. MacLean gives just enough detail to provide an authentic sense of time and place. Reading this book was a completely immersive, emotional experience for me, with twists and turns that left me reeling. In my opinion, this novel is a literary masterpiece, one I’m sure to read again; a book I’ll recommend to friends, certain they’ll love it too. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this novel.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean will take you back to England during WWII. This is a love story with twists, turns and suspense that will keep you turning pages well into the night. Gillian has had a disturbing revelation about her boyfriend - she walked in on him and another woman. Her heart is broken and returns to he childhood home - back to her father and grandmother, Vivian. Her father is upset because he has discovered photographs of his mother with a Nazi officer. Gillian and her fat A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean will take you back to England during WWII. This is a love story with twists, turns and suspense that will keep you turning pages well into the night. Gillian has had a disturbing revelation about her boyfriend - she walked in on him and another woman. Her heart is broken and returns to he childhood home - back to her father and grandmother, Vivian. Her father is upset because he has discovered photographs of his mother with a Nazi officer. Gillian and her father, Edward, confront Vivian about the photo. The story of what happened in England, Berlin and Paris is wonderful, surprising and heartwarming. The plot and characters are well developed. I loved the story about Vivian and her husband Theodore. I also loved hearing about April and Ludwig. If you like romance, history and suspense, you must read this story. I received it as a gift, and I always review every book that I read.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't make it past the second chapter. The dialogue was to structured, too forced.
  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, I found this book to be interesting and entertaining; however, I felt like certain things, especially in the back half of the book were glossed over or that everything got wrapped up a bit too neatly. The story alternates between the past and present, although the focus is really on the past. In the present, Gillian is upset because she found her fiancee cheating on her and in order to get a break, goes to visit her father and her grandmother. Her father found a picture of her grandmoth Overall, I found this book to be interesting and entertaining; however, I felt like certain things, especially in the back half of the book were glossed over or that everything got wrapped up a bit too neatly. The story alternates between the past and present, although the focus is really on the past. In the present, Gillian is upset because she found her fiancee cheating on her and in order to get a break, goes to visit her father and her grandmother. Her father found a picture of her grandmother with a Nazi so the past story is focused on her Grandmother's explanation of the picture. I found the tales of Vivian and April very intriguing, it just felt a little too easy, convenient or maybe coincidental the way that certain details panned out. For example, (view spoiler)[ Theodore comes to save the day just as we find out that Vivian's father has been abusing her. Also, how does it just so happen that both of the twins were pregnant and when Theodore comes to warn April they are going to arrest her a bomb hits their house and kills Vivian and Theodore. Then, when Vivian was dying she gave April her wedding ring and nothing is ever followed up upon. Also, I found it way too convenient that when April was captured by the Gestapo she mentions Ludwig's name and he comes to find her and then she manages to escape. Finally, the fact that Ludwig was in the Resistance all along...this seemed to me to be an easy way out to give Gillian and her father a past they could accept. (hide spoiler)]I would recommend this as an easy read, it was interesting, maybe I am just partial to historical fiction with a little more complexity.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean is a book with twists and turns. It is a novel of the Holocaust but such a different novel. It is a tale of love, of heartbreak, breaking of boundaries, and so much more. Gillian has just broken it off with the man she was to marry, a cheater as it turns out. She calls her father for a shoulder to lean on and he tells her he has discovered something in her 96-year-old grandmother's house that has him wondering. By accident he had discovered pictures of her gr A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean is a book with twists and turns. It is a novel of the Holocaust but such a different novel. It is a tale of love, of heartbreak, breaking of boundaries, and so much more. Gillian has just broken it off with the man she was to marry, a cheater as it turns out. She calls her father for a shoulder to lean on and he tells her he has discovered something in her 96-year-old grandmother's house that has him wondering. By accident he had discovered pictures of her grandmother as a young woman, clearly in Berlin in 1940 and clearly in love with a Nazi officer. But, she had been in England and married to an Englishman at that time. What is happening? Gillian's ex is making a pest of himself, apologizing, so shortly she decides she needs to know more and sets off for Europe.One of the many reasons I loved this books was the research portion of it. Uncovering one small truth at a time and connecting them all until there is a clear picture. Gillian, hung in there; met people, followed leads, until she had the whole story and what a story it is. Eventually she returns to her father and grandmother and completes the picture. It would be spoilers if I told you much else. I have read many Holocaust novels, from many perspectives, but none have grabbed me the way this one did. It is not horribly graphic but the emotion is heart-rending and there is plenty of it. Please read this book. It is beautiful. I received a free ARC of A Fire Sparkling. All opinions expressed herein are solely my own. #netgalley #afiresparkling
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  • Debi
    January 1, 1970
    Julianne has taken WWII history and romance and combined it together to make a wonderful novel. I could not put this novel down! I was intrigued from the beginning and the book kept me interested all the way to the very satisfying end. Julianne as written this novel so vividly that you will feel like you are there. Her descriptions are so accurate you honestly seem to be in Britain. She has created a very authentic sense of place & time. Her characters are very well developed for a multi-gen Julianne has taken WWII history and romance and combined it together to make a wonderful novel. I could not put this novel down! I was intrigued from the beginning and the book kept me interested all the way to the very satisfying end. Julianne as written this novel so vividly that you will feel like you are there. Her descriptions are so accurate you honestly seem to be in Britain. She has created a very authentic sense of place & time. Her characters are very well developed for a multi-generational story. This is a story of twins that inherited the mother’s beautiful singing voice. This is a story about how family, war, adventure, twists of circumstances, curves in the road, tragedy, and redemption change the path of your life. Julianne is an exceptionally talented author who knows how to grab you from page one, keep you interested with emotional, intense, suspenseful, romance, drama, secrets, and wraps it all up with redemption, love & joy! Julianne delves deeply into human emotions.I highly recommend this novel! You will not be disappointed! It is so exceptionally written I hope that it wins award after award. IT IS SIMPLY THAT GOOD! Once you start this book you will not want to put it down! This novel is a very powerful story and you will be swept away! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Julianne MacLean through NetGalley. This review is completely based on my own opinions.
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  • Lynda Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This is the third book I've read by this author and also the third one I've given 5* to. I'm at a loss, really, as to why she's not mentioned as much nor afforded the publicity other authors seem to get, as she always does a superb job, both with her storytelling AND presentation.I picked this particular one from a Kindle First selection this month. I knew I'd be onto a good thing as she has never let me down before. I always greatly enjoy dual timeline stories, too. This tale centres around the This is the third book I've read by this author and also the third one I've given 5* to. I'm at a loss, really, as to why she's not mentioned as much nor afforded the publicity other authors seem to get, as she always does a superb job, both with her storytelling AND presentation.I picked this particular one from a Kindle First selection this month. I knew I'd be onto a good thing as she has never let me down before. I always greatly enjoy dual timeline stories, too. This tale centres around the discovery of an old photo of Gillian's grandmother with a Nazi officer. It is chock full of twists 'n' turns you don't see coming and secrets from the wartime years. I was totally fascinated with it. I do think she could have maybe made the second part of the story into a follow-up book in its own right, as a sequel, and fleshed it out more.....I'd have been happy for a continuation.I did like this passage in particular that I highlighted, "Women should steer clear of men who charm them. If you're charmed, then you're under some kind of spell, and women need to stay sharp." There were lighthearted moments and there were also tears from this reader at one point.....The only odd errors I spotted were all missed-off apostrophes, but I guess I can't be faulting her for this since pretty much every single book I've read as a digital version is the same. The cover on this is a beaut as well.An often overlooked author but one I highly recommend.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    "Love is smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs; being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes..."- William Shakespeare, Romeo and JulietA FIRE SPARKLING by Julianne MacLean is an emotionally charged novel about one woman's love, loss, and courage during wartime. The cover is gorgeous and the story is a masterpiece! I felt as though I was rushing to a bomb shelter in London, England during the Blitz of World War II. This multigenerational saga was a page-turner. It grabbed me from the start and di "Love is smoke rais'd with the fume of sighs; being purg'd, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes..."- William Shakespeare, Romeo and JulietA FIRE SPARKLING by Julianne MacLean is an emotionally charged novel about one woman's love, loss, and courage during wartime. The cover is gorgeous and the story is a masterpiece! I felt as though I was rushing to a bomb shelter in London, England during the Blitz of World War II. This multigenerational saga was a page-turner. It grabbed me from the start and didn't let go. There were several intertwined stories with twists and turns and surprises in this realistic and entirely plausible novel. I was so involved with the characters, the relationships between them, and the scenarios and situations, that I read it in one setting. This is a must read for fans of historical fiction such as The Nightingale. A FIRE SPARKLING is my new favourite book!5+ brilliant stars⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️⭐️️Special thanks to author Julianne MacLean, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of A FIRE SPARKLING which allows me to write an unbiased review.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Not the typical WWII spy storyA Fire Sparkling by Julianne Maclean is a story within a story: It begins with 35 year old Gillian fleeing to her grandmothers home in Connecticut after finding her boyfriend cheating. Upon arrival she finds her father having stumbled upon life changing photos - could the nazi soldier in the picture really be his father? Nothing to do but pin down her 96 yr old grandmother and gently demand the truth. The story that unfolds, that of two sisters surviving WWII London Not the typical WWII spy storyA Fire Sparkling by Julianne Maclean is a story within a story: It begins with 35 year old Gillian fleeing to her grandmothers home in Connecticut after finding her boyfriend cheating. Upon arrival she finds her father having stumbled upon life changing photos - could the nazi soldier in the picture really be his father? Nothing to do but pin down her 96 yr old grandmother and gently demand the truth. The story that unfolds, that of two sisters surviving WWII London, is nothing she could have ever expected. I have to admit some of the story line was predictable, but there were still enough unexpected twists and turned to keep me engaged, turning page after page to learn what happens next. There is also a definite 'romance' theme throughout the book, but as someone who typically avoids standard romance novels, I found this pertinent to the story and not so heavy it turned me off.I began reading this book expecting what had become the typical WWII novel, but was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed this story and recommend for anyone looking for a WWII novel with a slightly different point of view.
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  • Jill B
    January 1, 1970
    It was okay, kind of a lesser version of The Nightingale. Less interesting characters, less interesting details of World War II. The writing was fine and the characters were okay, just not really interesting. I found the worries of the twins - "lying" (not saying anything to protect people, not actually telling lies) to be somewhat irritating, I think a lot of people would protect a sibling they were close to by not telling the authorities that they'd had a relationship with a German. The romanc It was okay, kind of a lesser version of The Nightingale. Less interesting characters, less interesting details of World War II. The writing was fine and the characters were okay, just not really interesting. I found the worries of the twins - "lying" (not saying anything to protect people, not actually telling lies) to be somewhat irritating, I think a lot of people would protect a sibling they were close to by not telling the authorities that they'd had a relationship with a German. The romance of Gillian and her boyfriend was really blah, it was obvious he wasn't going to be the guy for her so that she could go off adventuring. There wasn't even a reason for that character, he was so unimportant. The author could've done anything to propel the story - Gillian was burned out from her job, she had lots of PTO days, she won a trip, all would've worked without the weak boyfriend story. And yeesh, of course, she would fall in love with her Grandma's friends son. I saw that coming from the first chapter.The war story was the best part, the modern story was a snore. A perfectly fine book, just nothing really compelling about it.
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  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed: A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean and it's a book full of interesting surprises. It's a story with a dual timeline that seamlessly blends the past and with the present.In 2011, Gillian catches her boyfriend cheating, she's very upset, and she's goes to visit her dad. She had no idea that he's just found a mysterious box filled with old photographs of his mother Vivian and she's standing next to a man who's dressed as a Nazi officer?Edward is very confused, he had been told h I really enjoyed: A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean and it's a book full of interesting surprises. It's a story with a dual timeline that seamlessly blends the past and with the present.In 2011, Gillian catches her boyfriend cheating, she's very upset, and she's goes to visit her dad. She had no idea that he's just found a mysterious box filled with old photographs of his mother Vivian and she's standing next to a man who's dressed as a Nazi officer?Edward is very confused, he had been told his dad Theodore had died during WW II during the blitz in London, why is his mum standing next to a German soldier and he's now worried this mysterious man might be his father?Vivian is now in her 90's, she begins the story by explaining to her son Edward and her grand daughter Gillian why she's in the photograph, what happened to her in the past and during WW II.Soon your swept way in a dramatic heartfelt tale about lost love, romance, secrets, mystery, and danger that all takes place during the war. I loved A Fire Sparkling, I'm a fan of WW II historical fiction and I gave the book fours stars. I have posted my review on Goodreads, Australian Amazon and Twitter.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    The most amazing historical fiction book I have read since The Nightingale! To say that I absolutely loved it is an understatement! Gillian's story begins with her own personal experiences of loss and love, which leads her to go home to her father and grandmother for refuge. What she finds there takes us back to her grandmother Vivian's past during WW2. Vivian has kept her secrets from her family close to her heart for many reasons. Once she tells her family the truth of her past it leads Gillia The most amazing historical fiction book I have read since The Nightingale! To say that I absolutely loved it is an understatement! Gillian's story begins with her own personal experiences of loss and love, which leads her to go home to her father and grandmother for refuge. What she finds there takes us back to her grandmother Vivian's past during WW2. Vivian has kept her secrets from her family close to her heart for many reasons. Once she tells her family the truth of her past it leads Gillian to travel back to where it all started and what she uncovers is not what any of them expected! This page turning book had me on the edge of my seat and at times in tears. Filled with romance, loss, pain, mystery and above all hope. I highly recommend this book to any history lovers, as well as suspense and romace! I can't say enough words to explain how amazing this book is! A must read! Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing and the author in exchange for my honest review! I look forward to reading many more from this author! Perfectly written in every way possible!
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  • Harriett McFarland
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a good book! It is centered around two identical twin sisters (Vivian and April Gibbons) the daughters of a famous french singer and wine merchant in Bordeaux, France. The setting is before, during and after the British and Germans are at war. As fate would have it both sisters inherit their mother's talent and are separated during a twist of events and reunited under the most difficult circumstances. Each sister experiences love and heartache in intervals and when all seems lost l This was such a good book! It is centered around two identical twin sisters (Vivian and April Gibbons) the daughters of a famous french singer and wine merchant in Bordeaux, France. The setting is before, during and after the British and Germans are at war. As fate would have it both sisters inherit their mother's talent and are separated during a twist of events and reunited under the most difficult circumstances. Each sister experiences love and heartache in intervals and when all seems lost love conqures all. Initially, in the begining I thought the book was going to solely be about Gillian Gibbons but as the story unfolds, it reveals so much more. It was enchanting the way Ms. MacLean delivered this story. I could clearly envision the events as they occured and really felt I were a part of them. Although this brief moment in time took place before I was born, I learned a great deal during this reading and the characters were quite memorable. If you enjoy history and a good love story. Please read this book. I literally could not put it down.
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  • Shermaine Dowling
    January 1, 1970
    This author writes with such precision and detail, but this book, with a strong historical premise, was rich with authenticity in her telling of the multiple-century-long lives of the main characters. A Fire Sparkling is the story of twins, Vivian and April, whose mother during their young childhood, took her life during her struggle with cancer, leaving a husband and twin daughters with devastating loss, and how each twin daughter's life took interesting curves in life. The story begins with th This author writes with such precision and detail, but this book, with a strong historical premise, was rich with authenticity in her telling of the multiple-century-long lives of the main characters. A Fire Sparkling is the story of twins, Vivian and April, whose mother during their young childhood, took her life during her struggle with cancer, leaving a husband and twin daughters with devastating loss, and how each twin daughter's life took interesting curves in life. The story begins with the daughter of Vivian, and how she discovers the photo of her grandmother in a very intimate pose with a man who is not her grandfather, and her investigation into her 96-year old grandmother's past. Is it possible that the grandmother she loves above all is not who she is believed to be? This book intertwines through three women's lives, and lands in surprising places and moves on. Ms MacLean writes with such accuracy and rich fact and personalization. You relive each step with each character as you read. I highly recommend this book for romance, history, a little intrigue, and an HEA.
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  • Sarah Sabin
    January 1, 1970
    "In all my dreams of our long-awaited reunion, we had come together after the war and embraced each other with love, relieved that the nightmare was over. But here we were, right in the thick of it. In the deep, ugly, stench-filled waters of humanity at its worst."-Julianne MacLean, A Fire SparklingAll his life, Edward believed himself to be the son of an English diplomat, until he finds a sea chest with a hidden compartment housing photos of his mother during the second World War that could cha "In all my dreams of our long-awaited reunion, we had come together after the war and embraced each other with love, relieved that the nightmare was over. But here we were, right in the thick of it. In the deep, ugly, stench-filled waters of humanity at its worst."-Julianne MacLean, A Fire SparklingAll his life, Edward believed himself to be the son of an English diplomat, until he finds a sea chest with a hidden compartment housing photos of his mother during the second World War that could change everything.What a whirlwind. I'm giving all the stars to A Fire Sparkling, y'all. This book is on the longer side, but every word is worth the read--especially if you're enthralled by all things WWII, the Holocaust, London, and enjoy a good story about love and betrayal.MacLean packed as much as you could want into A Fire Sparkling from the Blitz to the SOE to the Allies coming to liberate France to a beautiful though ironically devastating romance. I couldn't have asked for more.All. The. Stars.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    The most amazing historical fiction book since The Nightingale! To say that I absolutely loved it is an understatement! Gillian’s story begins with her own personal experiences of loss and love, which leads her home to her father and grandmother for refuge. What she finds there takes us back to her grandmother Vivian’s past during WW2. Vivian has kept her secrets from her family and close to her heart for many reasons. Once she tells her family the truth of her past it leads Gillian to travel ba The most amazing historical fiction book since The Nightingale! To say that I absolutely loved it is an understatement! Gillian’s story begins with her own personal experiences of loss and love, which leads her home to her father and grandmother for refuge. What she finds there takes us back to her grandmother Vivian’s past during WW2. Vivian has kept her secrets from her family and close to her heart for many reasons. Once she tells her family the truth of her past it leads Gillian to travel back to where it all started and what she uncovers is not what any of them expected! This page turning book had m on the edge of my seat and at times in tears. Filled with romance, loss, pain, mystery and above all hope. I highly recommend this book to any history lovers as well as suspense and romance! I can’t say enough words to explain how amazing this book is! A must read! Thank you Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author for my copy in exchange for my very honest review! I look forward to reading much more books from this author! Perfectly written in every way possible!
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  • Shelagh
    January 1, 1970
    I love Julianne Maclean’s books and this latest one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Written as a dual timeline novel set partly in 2011 Connecticut and partly in WWII London and France, this story is deeply emotional for both modern day Gillian and her grandmother.At the heart of the story is an old wooden sea chest, which has a secret compartment containing wartime photographs that lead Gillian and her father on a quest to discover the truth about her grandmother’s life and an apparent wartime af I love Julianne Maclean’s books and this latest one certainly doesn’t disappoint. Written as a dual timeline novel set partly in 2011 Connecticut and partly in WWII London and France, this story is deeply emotional for both modern day Gillian and her grandmother.At the heart of the story is an old wooden sea chest, which has a secret compartment containing wartime photographs that lead Gillian and her father on a quest to discover the truth about her grandmother’s life and an apparent wartime affair with a Nazi officer. As the story unfolds revealing layer after layer of secrets, Gillian discovers the price her grandmother paid for her freedom and the life of her young son. Ultimately this is a tale of love but with hints of treason and betrayal, unbelievable sorrow and sacrifice it had me hooked from the beginning. I came very close to reading cover to cover in one sitting. The story is clearly well researched, very well structured and beautifully paced. I found it utterly engrossing.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book for free as part of the Amazon FirstReads program for July 2019.Perhaps I have read too many WWII-era books, but I felt like I had already read this book several times. There were several story lines that I'd felt I'd already encountered in other books -- the assumed identity, the airdrop into France as a resistance fighter and spy, the lifetime of lies and secrets only revealed at the end of the main character's life. It all felt a little too familiar. Though the writing wasn't I got this book for free as part of the Amazon FirstReads program for July 2019.Perhaps I have read too many WWII-era books, but I felt like I had already read this book several times. There were several story lines that I'd felt I'd already encountered in other books -- the assumed identity, the airdrop into France as a resistance fighter and spy, the lifetime of lies and secrets only revealed at the end of the main character's life. It all felt a little too familiar. Though the writing wasn't great, it was an enjoyable enough read until I got the end and discovered that the author had decided to make her Nazi character good, a secret spy on the inside. It just didn't feel right to me; while there were "good" Germans who were opposed to the Nazis, I've yet to hear a true story of any of them who elected to join the party and help the Resistance from within. I know this is fiction, but historical fiction is meant to be grounded in actual events.
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  • Joan Buell
    January 1, 1970
    A young woman's life transformed as she learns of her grandmother's role in WWIIJust as in A Curve in the Road, there are some very improbable plot turns, yet this story seems to hold together better. A thirty-something NY career woman has struggled to know just who she is, and how she fits into her family, after enduring a tragedy as a young teen. When her life seems to be falling apart yet again, she seeks comfort at her father's home. At the same time, her father has discovered something in h A young woman's life transformed as she learns of her grandmother's role in WWIIJust as in A Curve in the Road, there are some very improbable plot turns, yet this story seems to hold together better. A thirty-something NY career woman has struggled to know just who she is, and how she fits into her family, after enduring a tragedy as a young teen. When her life seems to be falling apart yet again, she seeks comfort at her father's home. At the same time, her father has discovered something in his attic that elicits many questions about his mother, and his parentage. Gillian embraces the mystery, and after questioning her grandmother, and then seeking answers in London and Berlin, they all discover that Gram is literally not who they think she is, and that she played a role in the French Resistance to the Nazi regime. Gillian and her father learn the value of persistence, and of moving forward after disappointments and tragedies.
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  • Paula
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for an intense, emotionally rich story then Julianne MacLean’s latest book, A Fire Sparkling is it. As one granddaughter seeks to work through her own heartache she asks her grandmother some tough questions that cause her to relive hers. Not exactly what Vivian Hughes had planned to ever do, especially now. Told in such vivid detail and beautiful description it isn’t just a story that is read but one that is felt and experienced. I was transported back in time to WWII London t If you are looking for an intense, emotionally rich story then Julianne MacLean’s latest book, A Fire Sparkling is it. As one granddaughter seeks to work through her own heartache she asks her grandmother some tough questions that cause her to relive hers. Not exactly what Vivian Hughes had planned to ever do, especially now. Told in such vivid detail and beautiful description it isn’t just a story that is read but one that is felt and experienced. I was transported back in time to WWII London through Vivian’s eyes. Change is inevitable but war brings it on even faster. Choices are made, consequences follow, this is Vivian’s story; her family and her friends. Perhaps it is also Gillian’s story who now needs to find her own future. What I am sure A Fire Sparkling is, is a story that will stick with you long after you finish the last page; heartbreaking and inspiring, significant and evocative.
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  • Cindy Woods
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent story!This WWII era story is so good I didn't want to put it down for a moment. It's 2011 and after the discovery of some old photographs in the attic of her grandmother's attic taken in Paris in 1939, everything Gillian thought she knew about her grandmother's life is now questionable. The photos depicting her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer are shocking and Gillian and her father wants answers.Don't believe for a moment you think you know the outcome or what will happen nex Excellent story!This WWII era story is so good I didn't want to put it down for a moment. It's 2011 and after the discovery of some old photographs in the attic of her grandmother's attic taken in Paris in 1939, everything Gillian thought she knew about her grandmother's life is now questionable. The photos depicting her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer are shocking and Gillian and her father wants answers.Don't believe for a moment you think you know the outcome or what will happen next in this creative story because it defies every notion as to that. I was wrong time and time again as this story is told in flashbacks. It's original, sad, uplifting and shocking, and I definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction as one of the better written WWII stories. I intend to read more by the this author.
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  • Zena
    January 1, 1970
    Who would have thought that I would read another 'war romance' and have loved it so very much!I would like to thank the author, Julianne Maclean, for saying it just the way it was in this story, making known some of the atrocities and horrid things that the Nazis did and showing us some of the things the underground was able to do so successfully. Besides that she has cleverly interwoven some beautiful love stories (yes, the plural use of the word is quite correct) into war time England and Fran Who would have thought that I would read another 'war romance' and have loved it so very much!I would like to thank the author, Julianne Maclean, for saying it just the way it was in this story, making known some of the atrocities and horrid things that the Nazis did and showing us some of the things the underground was able to do so successfully. Besides that she has cleverly interwoven some beautiful love stories (yes, the plural use of the word is quite correct) into war time England and France.Wow! The characters! They are each and every one very definite and their own strengths and weaknesses are clearly shown throughout. I was delighted at the telling of this story which kept me so totally mesmerized and would like to recommend it to you. I read an Advance Readers copy in the ebook format and this has been my voluntary and unbiased review of it
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Gillian Gibbons returns home to her grandmother’s home after a devastating betrayal by the man she loves. When she wants to mend her broken heart, her father discovers a secret about the family that stuns both father and daughter and Gillian is compelled to find the answers to the grandmother she thought she knew and who her grandmother really was. The book takes us from The Blitz of London to the France and Germany and one woman’s journey to find the pieces of her families that will heal her fa Gillian Gibbons returns home to her grandmother’s home after a devastating betrayal by the man she loves. When she wants to mend her broken heart, her father discovers a secret about the family that stuns both father and daughter and Gillian is compelled to find the answers to the grandmother she thought she knew and who her grandmother really was. The book takes us from The Blitz of London to the France and Germany and one woman’s journey to find the pieces of her families that will heal her family and give them peace. Julianne Maclean book is a compelling and emotional packed story of love , romance and survival at a time when the world was torn apart by the ravages of WWII. Two sisters twins, and the men they loved will keep you turning the page is this amazing story of strength, courage and love. Bravo Julianne Bravo…..
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    “We could all drive ourselves mad thinking about what could have been. But life happens the way it happens, and there’s no point wishing the past was any different. It will always be what it was, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”Amazon’s First Reads choices are usually hit or miss. A couple have been amazing, and others not so much. This book happened to be a part of the “amazing” category for me. Historical fiction isn’t the first genre I look to, especially WWII novels, because “We could all drive ourselves mad thinking about what could have been. But life happens the way it happens, and there’s no point wishing the past was any different. It will always be what it was, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”Amazon’s First Reads choices are usually hit or miss. A couple have been amazing, and others not so much. This book happened to be a part of the “amazing” category for me. Historical fiction isn’t the first genre I look to, especially WWII novels, because I feel like they’re overdone, but this was a wonderful surprise. I was drawn into this story instantly. As I read, I felt like I was living in 1940’s London right alongside the characters. This novel has love, loss, family, friendships, secrets, and revelations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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  • Kristen Suire
    January 1, 1970
    "He considered it for a moment, then gave me a look. “They have a name for you on the base. They call you the Unattainable. ‘There goes the Unattainable,’ they say, whenever you’re spotted cycling into town.” Perplexed, I frowned at him. “What do they mean by that?” “Just that you’re the most beautiful woman in Surrey, but you live in that big castle on the hill, and you keep to yourself.” I shook my head at him. “You Americans. I suppose you expect all the women in England to flirt with you, da "He considered it for a moment, then gave me a look. “They have a name for you on the base. They call you the Unattainable. ‘There goes the Unattainable,’ they say, whenever you’re spotted cycling into town.” Perplexed, I frowned at him. “What do they mean by that?” “Just that you’re the most beautiful woman in Surrey, but you live in that big castle on the hill, and you keep to yourself.” I shook my head at him. “You Americans. I suppose you expect all the women in England to flirt with you, day in and day out.” “I don’t expect that.”"I am not okay. Lord Jesus, so much happened in this novel. So many twists and turns. Ups and downs. I was spinning in a damn circle by the end. This was my first Julianne MacLean novel and won't be my last. Gonna have a book hangover for awhile. Put it on your to be read list immediately. Better yet, just start reading it right now.
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  • Rhonda Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    This was a nice read! I was surprised to see I rated a previous book of this author a 2 star. I don't remember much of that book, but this book definitely was nicely written, flowed well, and even if a little predictable, still left me feeling excited. Instead of the usual flip between present and past, which have become pretty popular, of a person in the present day finding out the past of a grandparent in the war, which this one did as well, this one had the past of 2 people. It was very belie This was a nice read! I was surprised to see I rated a previous book of this author a 2 star. I don't remember much of that book, but this book definitely was nicely written, flowed well, and even if a little predictable, still left me feeling excited. Instead of the usual flip between present and past, which have become pretty popular, of a person in the present day finding out the past of a grandparent in the war, which this one did as well, this one had the past of 2 people. It was very believable except for one or two parts, which I won't spoil, but is probably why it was between a 3 and 4 star for me. It is a good one to read if you like books on the war without all the horrors and details of the camps.
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