Review: The Whispers of War

Review: The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

Gallery Books, 2020.  Hardcover, 336 pages.Cover: The Whispers of War

The Whispers of War is a novel of friendship between three young women that resonates with readers and shows just how strong the bond between friends can be.  It opens with Samantha in the modern storyline traveling to meet her recently deceased grandmother’s friend, Nora, in England. Samantha was not sure what to expect when returning some items to Nora in person, but the story Nora told her of the women’s younger years showed Samantha a side of her grandmother she never knew.

Nora began her tale just before Germany invaded Poland in 1939.  Tensions are rising as everyone prepares for a war they hope will never happen, but know is unavoidable.  Socialite Nora works at the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department trying to find ways to mitigate potential disasters.  Matchmaker Hazel hides a personal and professional secret from her friends. And German-born Marie works as a secretary at the Royal University.  When war is declared and Marie is declared an “enemy alien” despite having lived nearly her entire life in Britain, choices must be made. How will these sisters-by-friendship protect Marie?  To what ends will two British citizens go and will they succeed?

After having read Kelly’s The Light Over London last year, I was a bit hesitant to read this novel, but the summary drew me in and I’m glad I did.  This sophomore historical literary fiction novel was superb (Kelly previously wrote historical romances).  The novel addressed all I felt was lacking in the aforementioned book. Each character was fully developed, relatable, and emotionally true.  In both the World War II and modern timelines, readers cannot help but to feel the emotions each character was put through-the friendship, angst, danger, etc.  Then the tactic of narrating each of the three historical parts from the perspectives of each Marie, Hazel, and Nora worked brilliantly as each was able to bring a unique perspective to the overarching story while we also learned more about the character.  Don’t miss this novel of deep friendship and the sacrifices of friends during wartime.

This review is based on a copy provided by NetGalley. This novel was released on January 14, 2020.


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