The Whispers of War
The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government, from the author of the “sweeping, stirring” (Kristin Harmel, internationally bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie ) The Light Over London. In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost. Featuring Julia Kelly’s signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) prose, The Whispers of War is a moving and unforgettable tale of the power of friendship and womanhood in the midst of conflict.

The Whispers of War Details

TitleThe Whispers of War
Author
ReleaseJan 14th, 2020
PublisherGallery Books
ISBN-139781982107796
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II, Adult, Romance, Adult Fiction, Feminism, Womens Fiction

The Whispers of War Review

  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    Historical fiction is my favorite genre so when I saw that this book discussed internment camps in England during WWII I was very interested. I have read extensively about internment camps in the United States but didn’t know that they existed in England.The story takes place in the present and past. In the present we meet Samantha who has come to England from Chicago to meet her grandmother’s great friend Nora. In her grandmother’s will she specifically asked that Samantha deliver the eulogy Historical fiction is my favorite genre so when I saw that this book discussed internment camps in England during WWII I was very interested. I have read extensively about internment camps in the United States but didn’t know that they existed in England.The story takes place in the present and past. In the present we meet Samantha who has come to England from Chicago to meet her grandmother’s great friend Nora. In her grandmother’s will she specifically asked that Samantha deliver the eulogy and that she hand deliver a package to Nora.We begin to learn the main story as it is told to Samantha.As described in the blurb the story revolves around three very close friends in England before and during the beginning of WWII. Nora is a socialite who prefers working than attending debutante balls and socials, she works in the Ministry of Home Security in the Home Office. She has her own home through funds left to her by her father who passed away.Marie is German born but has been in England since she was 12, first at boarding school and then living with her aunt and uncle whom she loves deeply. They gave her the home and love that Marie so needed as her own parents were quite cold towards her. She rarely visited them in Germany being told often to just stay in England for the holidays, etc. She works in the German department of the University, secretary to Herr Gunter the department chair. This is the perfect fit for her being fluent in German.Hazel works for a matchmaking service founded by Lady Moreton. They work carefully and discreetly matching women with men with similar interests, etc. All initial connections are made through the agency.The three friends have been stayed close since boarding school and meet every week for Friday night dinners.When the first rumors or war begin, people remember and talk about the fact that Germans and others were sent to internment camps during WWI as a precaution against any spies or anti-British movements. When Hitler’s armies begin to move towards France the British government requires all Germans living in Britain to come before a tribunal and then they are classified as to their threat to the government.I don’t want to give away any of the plot but there are some interesting twists that are surprising and require Nora and Hazel to fight for Marie’s freedom. This author has a way of “telling” rather than “showing” what is happening. There is talk about the internment camps but there is no description of the condition of these camps and what it was like to live in them. No one living in one is ever discussed in any detail. We never got to that point in the story. I found this disappointing as I didn’t really learn anything about the camps except what I read in the author’s notes, which were informative.There is a romance that takes place in the present time between Samantha and Nora’s grandson which seemed contrived and not very believable. In the past there is a budding romance between Marie and Richard, a widow whom Hazel had “matched” to Marie. Everything just turns out too “neat, tidy and happy” for me to feel it could be real. I might be a little too cynical but things don’t usually turn out so perfectly in the real world.I think this is a good story which I would classify as a story of friendship,romance and what family means to different people, with a historical background. It was easy to read and the past and present flowed well together.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.The novel is set to publish in January 2020.
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  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    The title explains the book; it is quite literally chatter about the war. There is a lot of dialogue and conversation among the three friends about war coming. There is nothing militaristic except a few mentions of a blackout, and the details of the Jews suffering is negated. The synopsis mentions internment camps. But again the internment camps is only chatter among the friends and it never goes beyond their conversation. The plot itself transpires around the social transformations during 1939 The title explains the book; it is quite literally chatter about the war. There is a lot of dialogue and conversation among the three friends about war coming. There is nothing militaristic except a few mentions of a blackout, and the details of the Jews suffering is negated. The synopsis mentions internment camps. But again the internment camps is only chatter among the friends and it never goes beyond their conversation. The plot itself transpires around the social transformations during 1939 and 1940 for the three friends Marie, Nora, and Hazel. With various backgrounds, the main drama ensues around Marie who is of German descent living in Britain. Marie is painted as the victim of anti-German sentiments during the onset of WWII. The friends circle around Marie to provide support while politics begin to intrude the homes of Britain and divide families.I found the dual timeline unnecessary. Samantha (now/present) is to deliver her grandmother's eulogy, so she travels from America to Britain to visit with her grandmother's friend, Nora, in order to learn more about her grandmother (Marie) so that she can write a proper eulogy. There isn't any puzzle piecing involved with the dual timeline. Overall, this was an okay read and is 2.5 stars for me. It was a lot of talking and not a lot of happening. There was also plenty of romance, which I don't mind, but I didn't find it very pertinent to the storyline.I received an advanced copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions are my own.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    This was a pretty easy and straight forward read for me. I read, Julia Kelly's last novel, "The Light Over London" and enjoyed it very much. This one had a nice and interesting premise but fell a little flat for me.I liked that there were 3 strong women in the story. Their friendship was honest and true. The story had a dual timeline with past and present. In the present Samantha's Grandmother has died and she needs to travel back to England to give back a box to her Grandmother's friend. Once This was a pretty easy and straight forward read for me. I read, Julia Kelly's last novel, "The Light Over London" and enjoyed it very much. This one had a nice and interesting premise but fell a little flat for me.I liked that there were 3 strong women in the story. Their friendship was honest and true. The story had a dual timeline with past and present. In the present Samantha's Grandmother has died and she needs to travel back to England to give back a box to her Grandmother's friend. Once she arrives her Grandmother's friend begins to tell the story of their friendship and what happened to them all during WWII in England.I felt that the story lacked some depth. The present day story was only 3 chapters at the ending of each of the friend's past story. I felt like the ending needed some more closure on all the friend's lives.Still a pretty easy book that flowed well from chapter to chapter. Just a little bit light for wartime.I'd like to thank NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for granting me access to this Advanced Reader Copy.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this novel was both enjoyable and educational. The story of three devoted friends in WWII London and their trials and hardships during those turbulent years. Marie, Nora and Hazel are faced with the issues of being women during a time when women were considered inferior and incompetent. Coupled with this was the extraordinary way in which German aliens were treated during the war. I had no idea that England had internment camps, similar to Japanese internment camps here in America. The Reading this novel was both enjoyable and educational. The story of three devoted friends in WWII London and their trials and hardships during those turbulent years. Marie, Nora and Hazel are faced with the issues of being women during a time when women were considered inferior and incompetent. Coupled with this was the extraordinary way in which German aliens were treated during the war. I had no idea that England had internment camps, similar to Japanese internment camps here in America. The fact that Marie was German drove the plot of the novel. The author has stirred together women’s issues, wartime politics, friendship and romance to create a very engaging novel. I was totally immersed in the story, and I have spent some time researching the concept of internment camps. What could be more timely today than learning about people locked up for no reason except an accident of birth? I think this book will be a perfect read for book groups and seminars in woman’s studies, WWII social history and will lead to discussions about the treatment of immigrants and aliens by our government. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book and go on an unexpected journey.
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  • Sydney Long
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! I’m speechless as to how amazing this book is!Upon the death of her grandmother, Marie...Samantha is given not only the task of presenting her eulogy but returning a precious keepsake to one of her grandmothers oldest and best friends. As with many people who were affected by World War 2, Marie kept much of it from her family. She would occasionally tell Samantha to ask her about the war sometime but life always prevented Samantha from doing that, a major regret when it became too late.When Wow! I’m speechless as to how amazing this book is!Upon the death of her grandmother, Marie...Samantha is given not only the task of presenting her eulogy but returning a precious keepsake to one of her grandmothers oldest and best friends. As with many people who were affected by World War 2, Marie kept much of it from her family. She would occasionally tell Samantha to ask her about the war sometime but life always prevented Samantha from doing that, a major regret when it became too late.When Samantha arrives in London to visit Marie’s dear friend Nora, a story was recounted that made Samantha question the grandmother she thought she had known so well. Marie was of German nationality and when she was a teenager, she was sent to a boarding school in England where she met Nora and the third member of their trio Hazel. Together the three would see each other through some very dark times.This is where the historical stuff kicks in and it sure makes for an aspect of suspense in this book. When Germany invaded Poland, England gave them a deadline to back out or they would declare war. Well...we all know that war was declared. At the time, there were thousands of German and Austrian immigrants living in England, many wanting to start a new life after the devastation of the First World War. Regardless of their innocence, these alien residents were required to sit through tribunals and then be classified into one of three groups. Marie was forced to sit through her own tribunal, despite having lived in England since she was a child. Despite her innocence, her familial ties put her in a very tricky and dangerous and up in the air situation. Nora and Hazel vow to keep their friend safe and despite having issues in their own personal lives, the ladies always put each other first. Without giving away spoilers because I want you all to pick up this book the minute it hits the shelf, this is an excellent book on the strength and bonds of friendship. True friends become family and even during a time of war, family sticks together. I was truly saddened to finish this story but it wrapped up so beautifully despite me selfishly wanting more. A couple of things to keep in mind....it does jump back and forth between Marie, Nora and Hazel as well as briefly jumping into the present with Samantha. It flows beautifully so don’t let that keep you from reading. Also...it’s vital to read the authors notes. You’ll learn more about the historical aspect of things and I think it’s always important to understand where, why and how writers bring their work to life. Two thumbs WAY up
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  • Camille Maio
    January 1, 1970
    This book was refreshing in a sea of much WWII fiction. At its heart, it is the story of friendship. In this case, three women who became each other's family and whose devotion is tested in a world changing through war and new roles for women. Heartwarming and compelling, it lifts the reader to a place of beauty and joy even as the shadows of impending war threaten to shatter life as they know it. New love, family secrets, and national loyalties shape the friendships. Though WWII fiction is a This book was refreshing in a sea of much WWII fiction. At its heart, it is the story of friendship. In this case, three women who became each other's family and whose devotion is tested in a world changing through war and new roles for women. Heartwarming and compelling, it lifts the reader to a place of beauty and joy even as the shadows of impending war threaten to shatter life as they know it. New love, family secrets, and national loyalties shape the friendships. Though WWII fiction is a regular genre of mine, I felt that The Whispers of War elevated the human story of it in ways that felt brand new. And - as I always love to learn through historical fiction - I was pleased (and horrified) to learn about the extensiveness of internments and the darkness that fear and propaganda can harbor. Kelly touched on themes that are found throughout history, giving it a human face.
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  • Natasha Lester
    January 1, 1970
    A story of exquisite tenderness, The Whispers of War beautifully captures just how precious female friendship can be, and shines a light onto an important but less well-known aspect of war. Add to that rich historical detail and a cast of engaging characters and you have a must-read for all historical fiction fans.
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    THE WHISPERS OF WARThis was a nice enjoyable book. It is the story of three young women - Nora, Marie, and Hazel - living in England during WWII. They have been friends ever since rooming together during boarding school. We come to learn of their lives and loves through Marie’s granddaughter Samantha who, in the present day, is writing her grandmother’s eulogy after her recent passing at the age of 103.All three women are strong and independent. They have careers and are involved in various THE WHISPERS OF WARThis was a nice enjoyable book. It is the story of three young women - Nora, Marie, and Hazel - living in England during WWII. They have been friends ever since rooming together during boarding school. We come to learn of their lives and loves through Marie’s granddaughter Samantha who, in the present day, is writing her grandmother’s eulogy after her recent passing at the age of 103.All three women are strong and independent. They have careers and are involved in various romantic relationships. But as war looms near, England has to assess its population of non-British born citizens within its borders. Marie is German, though she has been living in England since childhood. As the war expands throughout Europe, talk of internment camps and imprisonment becomes a reality in England. The story focuses on the importance of friendship, the struggle between privacy and the sharing of secrets, and about discovering what each person really wants out of life. It moves along at a nice steady pace and held my interest the whole way through. It was somewhat light but enjoyable and historically informative as well.I would like to thank NetGalley, Julia Kelly, and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Christine Mott
    January 1, 1970
    5 Thank you NetGalley, Gallery Books and Julia Kelly for an advanced copy. I truly am inspired with each new book by Julia Kelly. She always draws you in with the main characters and I feel like I am right there in the moment experiencing what they are. The main characters are three best friends who meet during school. They have a bond at a very young age. As Britain starts to feel the affects of World War II, the friends find themselves in unique situations as they try to protect one of them 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Thank you NetGalley, Gallery Books and Julia Kelly for an advanced copy. I truly am inspired with each new book by Julia Kelly. She always draws you in with the main characters and I feel like I am right there in the moment experiencing what they are. 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 The main characters are three best friends who meet during school. They have a bond at a very young age. As Britain starts to feel the affects of World War II, the friends find themselves in unique situations as they try to protect one of them from internment. Marie is German but has lived in Britain and considers Britain her home. Her best friends are Nora, who works at the Home Office Precautions Department and Hazel who is a matchmaker. 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 Their bond is strong, but does the war tear them apart? Secrecy, love, betrayal, friendship and much more test their friendship. Throughout it all we discover that family is important and family is not always the traditional type. If you love historical fiction Julia Kelly writes with such passion and a always draws me in. Enjoy! #juliakellywrites, #juliay, #thewhispersofwar, #netgalley, #bookreview, #bookstagram, #bookworm, #stamperlady50, #historicalfiction
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    The Whispers of War is a dual timeline story that examines the daily struggles of three friends during WWII. The bond of friendship is quite moving; each very different woman sacrificing their identities to preserve the ties that bind. In a time of war, sides are divided. The Aliens Restriction Act is looming in the minds of England's citizens. Public opinion is highly in favor of securing her borders. Reminiscent of today's illegal citizen issues, I found this portion of a gripping wartime tale The Whispers of War is a dual timeline story that examines the daily struggles of three friends during WWII. The bond of friendship is quite moving; each very different woman sacrificing their identities to preserve the ties that bind. In a time of war, sides are divided. The Aliens Restriction Act is looming in the minds of England's citizens. Public opinion is highly in favor of securing her borders. Reminiscent of today's illegal citizen issues, I found this portion of a gripping wartime tale very interesting. When facing war we normally think of our own country and the rights we have. What about those that have come to a country that offers freedom and fair justice? Do we discriminate against innocent people who have zero ties to our enemy? Do we turn our backs on friends and family because we're suspicious? Julia Kelly's characters are fresh, devoted, and the kind of women I'd definitely want on my side. Well told and fast paced. *Review copy courtesy of Simon and Schuster/NetGalley. Thank you!
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This book was so good! I thought the story of the three friends interesting and hard to put down. Loved the story and definitely recommend. Thanks to Netgalley for the early copy
  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I've read a fair amount of WWII books and very much appreciated that this was not the standard holocaust story. Furthermore, I like a dual timeline--which this book was--though prinmarily set in the past [not a problem]. However--spoiler alert: the present timeline was all too obvious [to me] and telegraphed from the start. And, in several instances, the ugh factor: "It was a dreamy kiss, but the center of it held a question of more." "...they sank into the kiss, lingering in the sunlight as the I've read a fair amount of WWII books and very much appreciated that this was not the standard holocaust story. Furthermore, I like a dual timeline--which this book was--though prinmarily set in the past [not a problem]. However--spoiler alert: the present timeline was all too obvious [to me] and telegraphed from the start. And, in several instances, the ugh factor: "It was a dreamy kiss, but the center of it held a question of more." "...they sank into the kiss, lingering in the sunlight as the water lapped just a few feet from them." [yes, there's more like this]And three women friends--Bingo! Nonetheless, I found the book rather bland. However, it was interesting because I was unfamiliar with the storyline--internment camps in Britain [for persons of German origin]. This was a plus. For the most part, the story centers on their friendship, and the very different lives and backgrounds of the three women--Marie Bohn [the German] who works for a German professor, Hazel, a matchmaker in a loveless marriage, and Nora--a strongwilled patrician [?] who works in the Home Office's Air Raid Precautions Department.The present day is represented by Samantha, who comes to Britain as her grandmother, Marie, wished, after her death. She meets Nora--still alive and feisty--though naturally somewhat frail--who tells the story of the three friends. And to bring Nora a trinket.I'm straddling the fence--neither recommend or warn away. It's a fast-paced decent read but...
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  • Lili
    January 1, 1970
    The Whispers of War was given to me by Netgalley in exchange of an honest opinion. This book focuses on the relationship and hardships of three female best friends during WWII. The book starts off on the present time with the point of view of one the women’s granddaughter, Samantha. Samantha’s grandmother left her with one last task before she died. Samantha is then on a trip to London and learns a lot about her grandmother through the storytelling of one of her grandmother’s best friends. The The Whispers of War was given to me by Netgalley in exchange of an honest opinion. This book focuses on the relationship and hardships of three female best friends during WWII. The book starts off on the present time with the point of view of one the women’s granddaughter, Samantha. Samantha’s grandmother left her with one last task before she died. Samantha is then on a trip to London and learns a lot about her grandmother through the storytelling of one of her grandmother’s best friends. The chapters are then divided into the perspectives of the three best friends with the occasional return to Samantha’s perspective. The story focuses on each of the best friends lives and their struggles to live a ‘normal’ life during a time of turmoil. WWII had just begun, and the women find themselves struggling between staying loyal to their homeland and staying loyal to each other. I enjoyed this book because of the storytelling and the relationship between the women. The setting makes even it more exceptional because it takes place in England during WWII, where they had internment camps. The relationship between the women is very endearing, because even though they had hardships in their lives, they had each other’s back. Also, not only are we learning about the best friends’ lives, but also gave a glimpse on the conditions and rights that women had during that time. The reasons that I am giving it a rating of 4 (rounded up from 3.5) is because some of the relationships in the story were a bit unrealistic or too rushed, in my opinion. Even though the storytelling was amazing, the writing was simple. I found that it was taking me long to get into the story because it was a bit boring at first. Although the setting is during WWII, the main focus is on the women and their friendship. There’s not much to learn of this historical period because of the lack of details. I read a good amount of historical fiction, so I was expecting to learn something new of this era.
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  • Lizanne Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    When Samantha's grandmother Marie dies at home in Canada, Samantha is surprised to find out that she is her grandmother's executor and is tasked with delivering the necklace her grandmother always wore to her best friend Nora in England. She must also give the eulogy at the memorial service. Samantha realizes that she wants to learn more about her grandmother's story when she meets Nora. Nora relates the story of herself, Marie, and Hazel - three women who met at boarding school and became not When Samantha's grandmother Marie dies at home in Canada, Samantha is surprised to find out that she is her grandmother's executor and is tasked with delivering the necklace her grandmother always wore to her best friend Nora in England. She must also give the eulogy at the memorial service. Samantha realizes that she wants to learn more about her grandmother's story when she meets Nora. Nora relates the story of herself, Marie, and Hazel - three women who met at boarding school and became not just best friends, but family for each other. When WWII begins, England categorizes Germans and Austrians in order to be prepared should the government decide to intern them. The friends realize that Marie is in danger of being placed at an internment camp. They devise a plan to help her. Will Nora risk her job at the Home Office? Can Hazel risk more attention at her job at a marriage bureau from Dennison, an investigator from the Home Office? As Samantha learns her grandmother's remarkable story, we all get the message to pay attention to our older relatives, to hear their stories while they are here to tell them. Me. Kelly also warns us to be aware of the way we treat immigrants, the assumptions we make. Unless we pay attention, history will repeat itself. Ms. Kelly's historical notes at the end of the book are well worth reading. Upon completing the book, I understand the reasoning behind the dual storyline and Samantha's role. However, the beginning of the book cocnfused me, made me take a step back, and reread. This I have given 4 stars. With just the right amount of tension, romance (not in excess), family problems, work issues, and history, The Whispers of War has an important message that is timely. I will be recommending it highly! Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an e-book ARC through Netgalley for a fair review. I am a huge fan of novels set during the WWII Era. This novel did not disappoint! It provides a look into the lives of three very strong women each from vastly different backgrounds. They meet at boarding school and become fast friends. This novel gives a perspective of how each of them handles the war. How they look at it and how they each have their own fears and uncertainties. This novel definitely gives some new insight into I was given an e-book ARC through Netgalley for a fair review. I am a huge fan of novels set during the WWII Era. This novel did not disappoint! It provides a look into the lives of three very strong women each from vastly different backgrounds. They meet at boarding school and become fast friends. This novel gives a perspective of how each of them handles the war. How they look at it and how they each have their own fears and uncertainties. This novel definitely gives some new insight into things that occurred during this time in history. I would most definitely recommend reading this.
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  • Deanna
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book as part of a goodreads giveaway.I very much enjoyed the story of these three strong women braving the changes that war brings. Marie especially had sacrifices to make and showed incredible strength of character. I also loved the current perspective from Samantha to help demonstrate where these women ended up. I do wish that even though this book was based mostly around Marie that we would have gotten some more updates in current times about what happened to the women. This was a I won this book as part of a goodreads giveaway.I very much enjoyed the story of these three strong women braving the changes that war brings. Marie especially had sacrifices to make and showed incredible strength of character. I also loved the current perspective from Samantha to help demonstrate where these women ended up. I do wish that even though this book was based mostly around Marie that we would have gotten some more updates in current times about what happened to the women. This was a fast read that I did not want to put down!
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  • Mary Scanlon
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I've previously read books by Julia Kelly that were fantastically entertaining and this book did not disappoint. Ms. Kelly has a strong understanding of England during WWII and the events that transpired and she proves that in this book. This was a wonderful story about 3 friends who look out for each other in the best ways possible and how that friendship can save lives and last a lifetime.
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  • Chelsie
    January 1, 1970
    Three women who have become great friends, hear the whispers of war. One of them then gets a classification and there is risk of her getting arrested and out into and interment camp. This was very interesting, as I did not know they did this with Germans for fear they were siding with the Nazis. Very well written, and the author did a great job of writing from all of the characters viewpoints while still keeping the story flowing. Thank you Goodreads, author and publisher for this arc.
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  • Diane Perry
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Set at the start of World War I'm we meet three extraordinary women that will make choices they never thought they would face. I absolutely loved Marie's story. She showed such strength and determination. I really related to the right friendship these three had. There is nothing like having friends that are extended family. Highly recommend!
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  • Kati Berman
    January 1, 1970
    Whispers of WarI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have read many WWII novels with similar story lines, the Blitz, Holocaust, etc. This novel was a pleasant change from the usual WWII plots which I very much appreciated. Nora, Marie and Hazel have been best friends since they went to boarding school together . Marie was sent by her parents from Germany to live with her aunt and uncle in London, when she was 12 years old. When war breaks out and England and Whispers of WarI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I have read many WWII novels with similar story lines, the Blitz, Holocaust, etc. This novel was a pleasant change from the usual WWII plots which I very much appreciated. Nora, Marie and Hazel have been best friends since they went to boarding school together . Marie was sent by her parents from Germany to live with her aunt and uncle in London, when she was 12 years old. When war breaks out and England and Germany are at the opposite sides, people with German origins living in England become undesirables and many are interned in camps. Marie’s connection to some of her family’s questionable actions, makes her a target for internment, even when she was not involved or even aware of those activities. Hazel and Nora stand by her as only real friends can. I was not aware of the British internment policy , so this book was an educational experience for me. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.Thanks NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the advanced copy.
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  • Shirley
    January 1, 1970
    Friends for lifeThis story is one of friendship. A story of three schoolgirls that became friends and that friendship extended across the ages.Marie is born in Germany but sent to Britain to school and to live with her aunt and uncle. On her first day at boarding school she meets two other girls Hazel and Nora. These three would become friends for life. They even had a motto between them "We will always be, just us three."The story told within the pages of this book is the story of these three Friends for lifeThis story is one of friendship. A story of three schoolgirls that became friends and that friendship extended across the ages.Marie is born in Germany but sent to Britain to school and to live with her aunt and uncle. On her first day at boarding school she meets two other girls Hazel and Nora. These three would become friends for life. They even had a motto between them "We will always be, just us three."The story told within the pages of this book is the story of these three girls. When the war happened life changed for them all. When Marie is in danger of being sent to an interment camp the girls rally around her. They hide her and then get her on a ship to Canada on a forged passport.Years later when Marie dies at the age of one hundred and three her will sends her granddaughter to London to rake a gift to Nora. It is to Samantha that Nora tells her story.You will be transported to an earlier time and told the story of unbelievable friendship. The trials, triumphs, and through it all heartbreak, romances, fear and accomplishments these three stand together as friends even when separated by war.You will find the book inspiring and delightful. The author catches the essence of the period and the deep feelings of those affected. You will not want to miss a minute of the book and will not want to put it down until you are finished.Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book.
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  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Net Galley and Gallery Books for the opportunity to preview this book. Three young women, best friends, one German, deal with the outbreak of WWII in London. Worthwhile and recommended.
  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly except that I truly loved it. Although I have several genres of books that I really like, my favorite has always been historical fiction and this new novel hit all the right notes for me. The story takes place in England during WWll, and centers around three young women, Marie, Nora and Hazel and tells a heartrending story of love, war and friendship.Marie, Nora and Hazel have been the closest of friends ever since they were roommates at What can I say about The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly except that I truly loved it. Although I have several genres of books that I really like, my favorite has always been historical fiction and this new novel hit all the right notes for me. The story takes place in England during WWll, and centers around three young women, Marie, Nora and Hazel and tells a heartrending story of love, war and friendship.Marie, Nora and Hazel have been the closest of friends ever since they were roommates at Ethelbrook Boarding School. Beautiful and smart, all in their own right, the girls were deemed misfits in one way or another by their families or peers. Marie, though German, was sent to live in England by her parents under the guidance of her beloved aunt and uncle. Never feeling truly loved by her parents, her aunt and uncle become the parents she never had. Nora, independent and often outspoken, came from a prominent family. But her independent and outspoken nature often left her on the outs with her mother and acquaintances. Hazel, had a loving, flamboyant mother, but her reputation posed a problem for Hazel making friends. When the girls are assigned to be roommates at Ethelbrook, they become fast allies, inseparable as time goes by. As Marie, Nora and Hazel graduate and start careers, the three remain close friends and confidants. Despite their busy lives, they reserve the last Friday of every month to have drinks at the Harlan, a prestigious club of which Nora is a member. There they discuss their work, families, lives and loves. But trouble is brewing in Europe and Hitler is on the march. Poland has been invaded and England has been drawn into war. During The Great War, England arrested and impounded German immigrants deemed suspicious or German sympathizers. Marie is cognizant of this fact and begins to fear for herself and her aunt and uncle. When it becomes apparent the war will not be ending soon and Hitler sets his eyes on England, the Home Office starts tribunals and every German alien has received a ranking. Marie has been given her ranking and it is not what she hoped. As time goes on and war in Europe rages, each young woman faces her own personal battle, Nora’s career, Hazel’s crumbling marriage and Marie’s impending impoundment or possible deportation. But despite their own personal battles, the women are determined to ban together and help Marie avoid arrest no matter the cost. With time running out and the odds stacked against them, it becomes clear Marie must leave the country if she is to avoid arrest and keep her freedom.I loved the characters in this book. Nora’s strength, Hazel’s cleverness and Marie’s innocence and compassion. I loved the bond of friendship these women had, they were like family to and for each other. I loved the way the author took the reader from present day to the past in order to relay Marie’s story. It was so well done. However, of all the characters, I liked Nora the best. She was independent, outspoken and driven. She was fiercely loyal and unafraid to take chances. She was basically a woman before her time. This is the first book I have ever read by Julia Kelly, but it won’t be the last.If you are looking for a great read or new historical fiction then look no further than Julia Kelly’s novel - The Whispers of War. You will get lost in the pages with heartwarming characters, beautiful friendships and great storytelling. I want to thank the publisher Gallery - Pocket Books and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly is a wonderful, heartfelt historical fiction novel that has a little bit of everything: there is suspense, love, friendship, war, intrigue, mystery, history, and the tale of overcoming the obstacles thrown into one’s way. It is breathtaking. This is a dual timeline story involving current day Samantha (the granddaughter of Marie Bohn and newly appointed executer of Marie’s will) and her quest to fulfill her late grandmother’s wishes and to also find out more The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly is a wonderful, heartfelt historical fiction novel that has a little bit of everything: there is suspense, love, friendship, war, intrigue, mystery, history, and the tale of overcoming the obstacles thrown into one’s way. It is breathtaking. This is a dual timeline story involving current day Samantha (the granddaughter of Marie Bohn and newly appointed executer of Marie’s will) and her quest to fulfill her late grandmother’s wishes and to also find out more about this woman that she loved, but grew apart from when she went away to college. The other aspect of the novel is in 3 parts, one for each of the three best friends that takes place mostly in England (and a little bit somewhere else which I will not give away) during WWII: Marie Bohn, Hazel Ricci, and Nora Walcott. This is an amazing and intricate novel that takes the reader back to a time when fear and uncertainty pushed aside the importance of humanity, for some, and led to the interrogation, detainment, and housing/imprisonment of people that were citizens of England, but yet had the “unfortunate” aspect of being born in another country : Germany, Austria, Italy, and for Jewish citizens and refugees as well. I knew that some of this occurred in the US after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (Japanese internment camps for example), but did not realize how widespread it was in England. It is heart wrenching to see how people’s lives and families were torn apart and sometimes permanently altered and damaged due to wrongful detainment just because of where they were born. This brings light to a less known aspect of the war and what humans are capable of when mass hysteria rears its ugly head. I love how Ms Kelly was able to artfully weave the two story lines together to leave us with a tearful, sweet, heartwarming, satisfying, and memorable ending, all the while learning in the process. I loved all four characters: current day Samantha, and Hazel, Nora, and Marie. All three girls had their own strengths and weaknesses that they brought to the table, but yet together they were stronger and better equipped to beat the odds. I loved their banter, love for each other, and chemistry. I loved how each had a chance to have a history, a voice, and to let their story be told in the novel. I thank Ms Kelly for her thoughtful Author’s Note at the end. We do need to learn from history and in the process, break the cycle, and be all the better for it for the future.Truly amazing read.5/5 starsThank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for this gem of an ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.I am posting this review to my GR account immediately and it will be posted to my Amazon, Bookbub, and B&N accounts upon publication. Thank you again.
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  • Adrienne B
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first of Julia Kelly's novels that I have read and it didn't disappoint. The basic premise of the novel centres around three strong willed women who are trying to survive during war times but also carve out their place in the world. As readers, we learn about Nora, Hazel and Marie and the challenges they are facing for being women specifically during wartime. There was a second present day through-line with Samantha meeting an aging Nora, but its addition felt forced and unnatural in This is the first of Julia Kelly's novels that I have read and it didn't disappoint. The basic premise of the novel centres around three strong willed women who are trying to survive during war times but also carve out their place in the world. As readers, we learn about Nora, Hazel and Marie and the challenges they are facing for being women specifically during wartime. There was a second present day through-line with Samantha meeting an aging Nora, but its addition felt forced and unnatural in the narrative. I agree that a present day connection to the story is needed, but I found this part of the story not entirely believable and a little too predictable.I love how in this novel we see strong women who are determined to support one another and will do anything to ensure each other's safety. Being a woman during this time in history was definitely more restrictive than in present day, however, Kelly gives us a glimpse into how small freedoms could be achieved. The women are a part of an all women's club which gives them some freedom to just be themselves without many of the social restrictions society had placed upon them during that time. Their bond of friendship was further cemented by their shared experiences. They helped one another through difficult situations and risked their lives and careers to save each other. Kelly allows the reader to experience what life was like during this time in history and how many people's lives were saved through the benevolence of others. It is this kindness and caring for others that draws us to these moments in history, examples of humankind acting their best to support one another in the most difficult of times.We also see some of the hardships of German citizens who saw Great Britain as their home but were made to feel like traitors by society during times of war. I know for myself, I had not previously considered some of the challenges faced by everyday citizens of different nationalities living in Great Britain why they were at war. I appreciated this perspective which opened my eyes up to the struggles many people went through just to hold onto the homes and lives they had created in Great Britain. For myself, I was not aware that many German immigrants in Great Britain had been put into camps during wartimes; I had wrongfully assumed that the only people arrested were those whom the government believed to be a threat to national security. I really enjoyed The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly and it piqued my interest in finding some of her previous novels to read. I will also definitely recommend this book to my friends, especially those who enjoy wartime historical fiction. I want to thank NetGalley and Gallery Books for the chance to read and review this book.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    Superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do . The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is Superspeed readers like me can read 150 - 200+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. LOL I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government.In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German ex-pat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labelled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.Featuring Julia Kelly’s signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) prose, The Whispers of War is a moving and unforgettable tale of the power of friendship and womanhood in the midst of conflict.As someone who loves historical books set in London and the UK (and am addicted to TV shows like "Land Girls" and "Call the Midwife") this was the perfect book for me to read on a snowy, windy early-Canadian-winter kind of day. (I love snow but people forget how to drive in it, so I am working from home so I can sneak off early and see a sneak peek of "Last Christmas" - set in London as well!) Julia Kelly is an incredible historical novelist - she blends fascinating characters, history and the depths of friendship during these tough times that I hope that the world never sees again. Each girl is so unique but their friendship works on a whole and their differences make for a very entertaining read. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it some (warm - ugh) UK 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    When I saw this new book by Julia Kelly, I knew right away that I wanted to read it. I enjoyed her previous book about the gunner-girls in the women’s branch of the British Army. This book is told in two different perspectives in WWII in the voices of Nora, Havel and Marie, and present day England and Canada through Marie’s granddaughter. Three friends who meet at boarding school as preteens form a friendship that lasts into adulthood. Hazel and Nora are both British, and Marie is German, but When I saw this new book by Julia Kelly, I knew right away that I wanted to read it. I enjoyed her previous book about the gunner-girls in the women’s branch of the British Army. This book is told in two different perspectives in WWII in the voices of Nora, Havel and Marie, and present day England and Canada through Marie’s granddaughter. Three friends who meet at boarding school as preteens form a friendship that lasts into adulthood. Hazel and Nora are both British, and Marie is German, but has lived most of her life in England at school and with her aunt and uncle. She has no wish to return to Germany and considers herself British through and through. Problems start to occur when the government starts holding tribunals to determine if Germans pose a threat and should be interned. While there were indeed Nazi sympathizers, a large part of the Germans in England had fled Germany after WWI or because of their Jewish faith. Marie is classified B which is not the highest threat level, but enough that she could be intervened if relations with Germany increase (which of course they do). It was really disturbing to read how Marie was treated as a German, and how she tried unsuccessfully to mask her accent so that she would not ‘frighten’ people. She was so worried and frightened for so much of the time, when she had done nothing wrong. I imagine it is much like the Japanese felt in our country. Nora and Hazel do every possible thing they can to help their friend, and go to an extreme that may cost them their own freedom. I really enjoyed this book and thought that it really created the mood of England in the beginning of the war, the paranoia created from fear of the enemy and the strength of friendship. It also brought home that we don’t always know our family stories as well as we think. One line in the story mentions that we only know the people in our lives for the particular time that we have met them, somewhat like opening a book and starting it in the middle. I would like to thank the author for making this book available through NetGalley, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC fo this book. I would recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, I really enjoyed learning more about interment in this format.
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Whispers of War tells the story of three lifelong friends as they maneuver life in pre- and early WWII London. Nora is a strong, independent woman who intentionally sunk her debutante season in order to secure a more modern lifestyle, with a job and a home of her own, even if she purchased it with her father’s inheritance and throws her connections around as if they are nothing. Hazel is a matchmaker whose I received an advanced copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Whispers of War tells the story of three lifelong friends as they maneuver life in pre- and early WWII London. Nora is a strong, independent woman who intentionally sunk her debutante season in order to secure a more modern lifestyle, with a job and a home of her own, even if she purchased it with her father’s inheritance and throws her connections around as if they are nothing. Hazel is a matchmaker whose marriage is struggling, and is doing her part for the war effort, even if it seems a bit of a stretch. Marie is a meek German expat whose parents shipped her off to live with an aunt an uncle in Britain when she was twelve, and who is living with the fear of being German in England when that was enough to be sent to an internment camp. Though Marie is supposed to be the main protagonist, I found her bland and occasionally irritating. I much preferred the story of Nora, who at least had some personality. The book is written as a series of flashbacks, as Marie’s granddaughter in the present is charged with writing her grandmother’s eulogy, and tracks down her 103 year old BFF to tell her all about it. Given that there were maybe 22 pages of flashbacks, which included an obvious and eye rolling match between granddaughter and grandson, I very much could have done without them.As for the rest of the story, this book skirts around a few serious topics (Jewish refugees, internment camps, women’s rights) without actually providing any substance about them. Thus, it’s about as light as a book set in 1939-1940 England can be. Somehow these three women managed to survive a year into the war eating and drinking away without a single ration, and without any of the young men they know personally joining the armed forces. Overall, an enjoyable read, but not serious historical fiction.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    I have recently taken an interest in books written about World War II and I was excited when I was approved for this book, Whispers of War by Julia Kelly. Then, through a series of events that made for a crazy few weeks of life, I didn't actually get to sit and read it all in a matter of days, like I normally would. It actually took me almost two weeks, which was sad, because I was enjoying it when the time did work out for me to read it. The story centers on three women, Marie, Nora, and Hazel, I have recently taken an interest in books written about World War II and I was excited when I was approved for this book, Whispers of War by Julia Kelly. Then, through a series of events that made for a crazy few weeks of life, I didn't actually get to sit and read it all in a matter of days, like I normally would. It actually took me almost two weeks, which was sad, because I was enjoying it when the time did work out for me to read it. The story centers on three women, Marie, Nora, and Hazel, who have been friends since their days at a boarding school together. Marie is a German who was sent to London for school and lived with her aunt and uncle. Nora is a debutante who doesn't fit in with social norms and wants to make a difference in the world. And Hazel is a young matchmaker who is married, but finding her life missing some important parts. When Marie may have to be interned, the other two do everything they can to try and help her. The story was good and I really enjoyed it. It discussed yet another aspect of the war that I didn't have a lot of information about. I can't imagine what it must have been like to have to leave your home because of your nationality, even when you were innocent. Kelly did a great job of showing the horrors involved, while also allowing you to get to know her characters. Maybe having to take two weeks to read the entire story was good, because it gave me time to dwell on what they were going through and what it must have been like. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history and World War II. It also really focuses on relationships and how they can change our lives, something anyone can relate to. I would definitely pick this book up if I were you!I received a free copy of this story from NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Julie Failla Earhart
    January 1, 1970
    I read Julia Kelly’s first novel, “Light Over London” and enjoyed it enough to make me want her read the author’s sophomore effort. As the cover suggests, this is a story of women’s friendships. Marie, Hazel and Nora have been friends since they were twelve years old and were roommates at boarding school. Although I don’t recalling Kelly specifying their ages, they seem of be in their early- to mid-twenties. The time frame is August 1939 to June of 1940, with a bit of now thrown, and is set in I read Julia Kelly’s first novel, “Light Over London” and enjoyed it enough to make me want her read the author’s sophomore effort. As the cover suggests, this is a story of women’s friendships. Marie, Hazel and Nora have been friends since they were twelve years old and were roommates at boarding school. Although I don’t recalling Kelly specifying their ages, they seem of be in their early- to mid-twenties. The time frame is August 1939 to June of 1940, with a bit of now thrown, and is set in England. The story opens with Samantha, Marie’s granddaughter, going to England to visit Nora after Marie has died, wanting to know more about her grandmother. That felt rather contrived and didn’t need to be there. The book would have worked well, if not better, had it been deleted.Then the novel is divided into three parts, each focusing on one of the friends. Marie has lots to worry about. She was born in Germany but England has been home since she was twelve. Her German accent is still pronounced and gives her heritage away the moment she opens her mouth. Nora comes from a wealthy family. She defied her mother by marrying for love and not a better social status. Hazel, also married, is a matchmaker. She is the more gregarious of the trio.As the whispers of war blow across the waters from Germany, Marie is the most worried about what could become of her, especially since her family still resides there. Nora goes to work for The Home Office. I never truly understood what she did, but it didn’t interfere with the story. Hazel tries to balance work and home.This is a novel of women who would sacrifice everything for each other. Their bond is unbreakable, although it gets a little frayed at times. “The Whispers of War” receives 3 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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