Book Review: Lovely War

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Julie Berry
  • Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 468
  • Date Started: May 9th
  • Date Finished: May 16th

A Brief Description

 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. 

Goodreads || Amazon

If music stops, and art ceases, and beauty fades, what have we then?

Julie Berry

My Review

This is a story that is told by Aphrodite the goddess of love, who is standing trial to show that love and war go hand in hand. The telling of this story was very unique and something I had not really seen before. It takes place in World War I and World War II. It really didn’t shy away from the atrocities of war and the destruction it caused to the lives of those that were involved.

The story is about two couples. One of the couples is James, a solider, and Hazel, a pianist. The other couple is Aubrey, a black pianist, and Colette, one of the only survivors of the massacre the Nazi’s committed on her village. The characters were pretty believable, they each had their own personalities and dealt with the war in different ways. I enjoyed the way that the romances developed, although James and Hazel’s developed VERY quickly. But, under the circumstances, you see just -why- it went so quickly. Regardless, I don’t LOVE insta-love, so I had to knock some stars off. I will say, I don’t usually read love stories because of the way that the romances tend to progress, but this one was satisfying and had just the right amount of tension and stakes.

The book had the themes of love, loss, grief, racism, PTSD, and the brutality of war. It showed a real and raw depiction of what life was like in 1910s Europe and how people of color were treated. One of the things I liked was that the main characters really called out racism and it did not go unquestioned on the page. The mental health representation is something I cannot speak for due to the fact that I do not suffer from PTSD.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. I didn’t read it as quickly as I wanted to because classes have started for my semester and I’ve been far too busy to read. Overall, I gave this book 3.5 stars because while overall it was enjoyable, I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t rate it higher. This book was enjoyable, but it’s not usually the kind of book I enjoy. I would still recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, sad stories, or love stories.

What have you been reading? Have you been enjoying it? Stay safe and healthy out there folks!


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