Friday, December 27, 2019

The Light over London

Title:  The Light Over London
Author:  Julia Kelly
Publication Information:  Gallery Books. 2019. 288 pages.
ISBN:  1501196413 / 978-1501196416

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "It was the discovery the Cara loved most:  digging through the forgotten, the memorialized, the tossed-aside, and the cherished.

Favorite Quote:  "When Cara couldn't unearth the history of a piece, she spun stories for herself. It was easier than thinking about her own mistakes and the regrets she carried. While she worked, she could escape into the comfort of someone else's life for a few hours."

2017. Cara. Recent divorce. Recent loss of her parents in a car accident. Recent new job with an antique dealer. Recent relocation to a rental house. A lot in Cara's life has changed recently. A lot exists that she must still work through and reconcile with. Her support is her grandmother. Despite the love between her and her grandmother, Cara knows there are secrets that must be talked about. Enter stage left - A handsome new neighbor who happens to be a history professor.

1941. Louise. An only child. A young woman whose path in life seems to be chosen for her - an expected marriage to a local boy and life in the same small village - Haybourne, Cornwall - in which she has lived her whole life. A dream of a life beyond the expectations. Her support comes from her more outgoing cousin Kate. Enter stage left - A handsome pilot who says all the right things. Surrounding all of them is the war.

The history. Louise makes an impulse decision to run away and volunteer for the war effort. A recognition of her aptitude lead to becoming a gunner or "ack-ack" girl. The "ack-ack" stands for anti-aircraft artillery. It took a crew of specialists to work each anti-aircraft station on the ground. The women joined the war effect through the Auxiliary services including the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Allowing women on mixed-gender ack-ack crews was a new decision. Only the men were allowed to load and fire the guns; the women comprised the rest of the team.

The connection from 1941 to 2017. Louise kept a journal. Cara comes upon the journal which taking inventory of an estate whose contents are to be sold. The journal is worthless in the sale, but it captures Cara's imagination. She sets on a mission to discover the writer and to restore the journal to the owner or at least her family. Cara's other connection is her knowledge that her grandmother was also part of the war effort, and the secrets she refuses to talk about relate to the war.

The book, like many others, goes back and forth between Cara's story and Louise's story. Louise's story is more about her relationship with a soldier than about the ATS service. The book really has no surprises. It is pretty clear from the beginning where Louise's story with the pilot is going and where Cara's relationship with her new neighbor is going. The secret that Cara's grandmother has been keeping does not come as a shock either. While the history of Louise's story is more interesting, Cara's story itself is the more compelling. I do wish there was a surprise or more of a focus on the history, but an entertaining story that led me to learn a little more history.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment