The Light Over London (Hardcover)
While assisting on an estate appraisal, Cara an antiques dealer, finds a World War II diary from 1941. Louise Keene, the small town girl who wrote the diary, begins a journey which is contrary to the planned life her mother has chosen for her. Two women, divided by generations, on a search for happiness and freedom in their lives. Louise's desire to escape small town life to make a difference in the world and Cara's reluctance to begin again after a tempestuous marriage which ended in a messy divorce made me feel a special kinship with them sharing similar experiences in my life. I also found the descriptions of Louise's wartime experiences fascinating because I had never heard of British women performing those nontraditional duties before. Julia Kelly's well written descriptions brought war-torn England to life displaying not only the people at their best but also their worst making it a worthy entry into the world of historical fiction.— Lisa
Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted.
It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.
In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.
Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.
Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties.
About the Author
Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of books about ordinary women and their extraordinary stories. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London. Readers can visit JuliaKellyWrites.com to learn more about all of her books and sign up for her newsletter so they never miss a new release.
"Sweeping, stirring, and heartrending in all the best ways, this tale of one of WWII's courageous, colorful, and enigmatic Gunner Girls will take your breath away."
— —Kristin Harmel, International bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amelie and The Sweetness of Forgetting
“Deftly weaving together past and present, Kelly tells a fresh, heartfelt story of sisterhood and sacrifice, culminating in a gut-punch finish. Perfect for fans of The Alice Network.”
— –Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment
"The Light over London is a poignant reminder that there is no limit to what women can do. A nostalgic, engrossing read."
— --Julia London, New York Times bestselling author of Seduced by a Scot
"Kelly weaves an intricate, tender, and convincing tale of war and romance with skill and suspense."
— --Publishers Weekly
“Kelly deftly balances intrigue with mystery and historical detail in her latest novel… A charming imagining of the historical gunner girls.”
— –Kirkus Reviews
“Kelly has crafted two convincing, conflicted heroines in Cara and Louise, and the resolution of Louise’s romance is satisfyingly empowering. Hand this to fans of Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach (2017) and other tales of the vital roles played by women in wartime.”
"Readers who adore a richly detailed period piece will be immediately drawn in by the world of The Light Over London. Julia Kelly has delivered her most elegant effort yet: a deeply rewarding and moving novel."
— --Apple Best of the Month
“A sweeping and beautifully written novel… an epic saga of love and friendship.”
— --Women's World
"Historical fiction fans won't be able to wait to get their hands on Julia Kelly's The Light Over London....fans should bookmark [it.]"
"Kelly doesn’t disappoint us–and readers will be engrossed in Louise’s story of love and war juxtaposed with Cara’s present discoveries...We root for both Louise and Cara, understanding their fears, hopes and chances."
“A heartbreaking romance that will grip you from the very beginning. Julia Kelly weaves a tender romantic story around a girl who fights war showing how strong even tender, romantic women can be. With a bit of mystery in the story, even mystery-readers will like it.”
— --The Washington Book Review