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Lovely War (2019)

af Julie Berry

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0263320,254 (4.14)12
Read the novel New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called "easily one of the best novels I have read all year!" A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates--and the hearts--of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of Love. Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called "a modern master of historical fiction" by Bookpage and "a celestially inspired storyteller" by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork.… (mere)
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» Se også 12 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 33 (næste | vis alle)
How was this historical fiction book not in the running for Goodread's "Best of 2019", or was it there and I somehow missed it?
This was MY favorite 2019 book this year, in fact, it's a favorite of everything I read this year, newly published or not.
The author clearly did her research for this WWI novel that is quite cleverly shared as sort of a story within a story, with Olympic Gods telling their parts, so you get a bit of a foretelling of what you're in for at the beginning of each God's delivery...if Mars is speaking you know your going to hear about the battles. But admittedly it was Aphrodite's portions of boy meets girl that I loved.
And the narration!!! This was a magnificent performance of multiple stellar actors: Jayne Entwistle (think "Flavia de Luce Mysteries" among many other greats), John Lee (think, "Pillars of the Earth" series among many other greats), Allan Corduner (think, "The Book Thief" among many other greats), Dion Graham (think, "Obama: From Promise to Power" among many other greats), Nathaniel Parker (think, "Artemis Fowl" series among many other greats), Steve West (think, "A Richard Jury Novel" series among many other greats), and Fiona Hardingham (think, "Magnificent Devices" series among many other greats) --Like I said, fabulous cast! ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
This is a lovely love story. Actually, it’s three love stories—a braided narrative or two stories within a larger story—that are beautifully woven together by the perspectives of love and war and music and death. All four voices—Aphrodite (love), Ares (war), Apollo (music), and Hades (death)—construct a narrative to show what love looks like in all its beauty and brokenness.

Hazel and James’s love story is classically composed of love-at-first sight notes, while Colette and Aubrey’s love story is arranged around a bluesy shared grief. Each love song—fragile in its own way—has to work even harder to survive due to the casualties of war and the constant threat of death in this WWI historical time period.

While these narratives are satisfyingly engaging, the larger story—the one playing out amongst the gods—is the most captivating, even though their interactions are behind the scenes. They are surprising (Hades as an immortal with a sensitive side.) and entertaining (Hephaestus’s trial and all the banter and egos) and humorous (Hades showing up to the trial dressed as a Catholic priest.). And, in the end, it’s what Aphrodite ultimately wants her husband to know about love that stuck with me: “‘I needed to show you what love looks like,’ she tells him” (450). And despite the scars it can leave behind, love also ignites a bright kind of hope “in a lonely world like ours” (451). ( )
  lizallenknapp | Apr 20, 2024 |
I am breathless. This book brought me tears and laughter in equal portion - Julie Berry’s gentle, tugging prose guides us through so many lives with dexterity and compassion. Framing WWI in love stories told by Greek gods can’t have been an obvious choice, but I’m beyond glad it’s the choice she made. How else could we have our Hazel with war’s strength bleeding all the way to her fingertips, our Colette, chided into love by Aphrodite? Though the novel does deal in stereotypes, I found it well worth the read. What a beautiful story. ( )
  Elianaclaire | Jan 3, 2024 |
Great story and writing, felt very in the style of my favorite Markus Zusak! ( )
  hellokirsti | Jan 3, 2024 |
Julie Berry tortures her readers. She carefully creates characters with so much color and depth that they feel more real than the people I actually know. Then, once I’m invested and committed to these characters, these imaginary people that are no more than ink on the paper, she begins to twist events around them, to brutalize them, to inflict pain on them, to tear them apart from each other...and to torture you, the reader.

It's amazing, beautiful, and wonderful.

It’s also more feels than I want to feel.

I usually stay on the safer ground for my reading, picking from history, politics, or the occasional foray into science, science fiction, or the like. In Lovely War, a tale of four lovers caught in the maelstrom of the horrible meat grinder of World War I, Berry tells a story that is so much more than its parts, so much more than a simple romance.

But let me back up. Why read it, then? Why take the foray at all?

A few months back, Britt, my better half, was giving me a hard time because my book club was yet again choosing a series of books focused on war, politics, science, and literature (for whatever reason, every time she walks through the room where we meet—the centrally placed family room—on the way to the kitchen on the other side of the house someone is making a comment that seems to be related to war. As a result of this strange coincidence, she claims that all we talk about is war. On the contrary, we also talk about other things. Sometimes we talk about politics, too, especially the politics of...war). Not only that, she questioned whether I read even read anything by women, either. Just because it’s called “the Manly Book Club” it doesn’t mean it can’t read broadly.

Naturally, I took umbrage at this. Because seriously: I read a lot, right? And I choose more than just one topic to read. So I pulled up my reading list from the last year, and it turns out that she wasn’t wrong, at least not by much. By and in large, my reading list was male.

“So give me a list,” I said. “Give me books I should read.”

Lovely War was near the top of that list, and since the setting one of my favorite topics (and yes, I know, a middle-aged guy with an interest in WWI is about as cliche as it gets. But trust me, I have other interests, too. I also like to smoke meat and work on my yard...), I picked it among the first.

And now that we’ve buried the lede all the way down here, and maybe you’re still reading, let me actually tell you about the book and why it sticks out as something different than just a romance set during WWI.

First, ignore the description above. Yes, it’s entirely accurate, but also, it doesn’t do justice to what you find as you first begin to read. The book opens on what appears to be a secret affair between the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen and an equally good-looking man. As they begin to rip their clothes off each other (don’t worry, this book is, at least as it regards to sex, very PG, or PG-13 at the most), they are caught by the misshapen and very much not handsome husband of the woman...Hephaestus. The woman, of course, is Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and her paramour is Ares, the god of war. It’s all very juicy, and it gets even better as the very Greek drama unfolds. Hephaestus decides to put his wife (and sister, I guess, since Zeus is everyone’s dad) on trial, and in her defense, Aphrodite spins a tale of two very real mortals, of her work, and why she is who she is.

I admit I was intrigued on the basis of several Greek gods interacting in the very modern setting of 1940s Paris (the setting for Aphrodite’s failed tryst with Ares), their petty jealousies and passions, and their deathless interactions with mortals. But I soon forgot the premise as Berry uses these muses to tell the intertwined stories of star-crossed lovers Hazel and James, coming together just once before James is shipped off to the trenches of 1917’s Western Front, and Aubrey and Collette, the musician and the orphan, who will both be torn and tossed by Ares’ terrible war. I fell in love with the stories, and there were moments when I forgot that even in the telling by Aphrodite to her fellow gods that the stories were largely over and passed, and the momentary interjections by the gods were a distraction to remind me that no story is without shadows or valleys before a peak is reached.

And Berry is a master of taking her characters through shadows that make the sunlit slopes even more bright. Torture is the word that comes to mind.

Beautiful torture.

So, to sum up, what we have here: a beautifully developed story, Greek gods, a tumultuous and fascinating period of history that is well-researched and painted, and characters that are so empathetic that it was hard not to alternately shout and cheer at their pains and their joys. It was well worth the digression out of my typical reads and, in retrospect, maybe it was no accident that it included one of my favorite eras of history.
( )
  publiusdb | Apr 4, 2023 |
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Entwistle, JayneFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Read the novel New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called "easily one of the best novels I have read all year!" A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates--and the hearts--of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of Love. Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called "a modern master of historical fiction" by Bookpage and "a celestially inspired storyteller" by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork.

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