The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
Gallery Books, 2019 . 304 pages.
In this duel storyline tale, readers will learn about the gunner girls of World War II and the modern antiques trade in England. In the historic storyline, readers will follow the story of Louise Keene. Louise long lived with a distant, critical mother and thanks to the war met a dashing pilot, Paul Bolton. When her pilot is transferred, Louise also leaves and joins the war effort. She finds herself training, and then serving, as a gunner girl. How will she manage during the war? How will the relationship with her pilot progress?
In the modern storyline, recently divorced Cara Hargraves is working in an antiques shop. While working on listing items for an estate sale, she uncovers Louise’s diary. Cara is driven to find the family and return the diary. However, Cara is equally drawn into Louise’ story and finds herself wanting to learn more. With the help of her neighbor, Liam, a professor, they embark on a journey of discovery, both of history and of themselves.
As a whole, I was disappointed by this novel. The summary sounded interesting, but the novel itself did not live up to my expectations. Both storylines seemed to be underdeveloped and lacked depth. I would have liked to dive into each story more. In regards to Louise, she left home in a hurry and fell for a man without knowing him long and we really do not know why. As for Cara, I felt I got to know her better, but her relationship with Liam could have been better and more deeply developed. I also would have liked to see more about Iris, Cara’s grandmother who made frequent appearances. That said, this was the first book (fiction or nonfiction) I read featuring the gunner girls, so that was an aspect of the war that I really knew little about and it provided information about how they trained and how the units worked.
This review is based on a digital advanced copy of the novel obtained from NetGalley. It will be released on January 8th, 2019.
Aladdin: A New Translation translated by Yasmine Seales
Liverlight, 2018. Hardcover, 144 pages.
While most know the story of Aladdin from the 1992 Disney movie, this is the original tale that appears in 1001 Arabian Nights. As such, it is different from what recent generations expect. That said, this translation is unique because it is the first completed by a woman. As such, readers will gain a bit more insight into the princess as the focus is not on just Aladdin. In addition, the preface was interesting to read due to the information presented about the history of the tale and its inclusion on 1001 Arabian Nights, much based on recent discoveries.
This review was based on an advanced reader edition provided by the publisher.
Do you think you will read either of these books? If so, which appeals more? Do you have any other titles about the gunner girls of World War II to recommend?
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