‘Lovely War,’ a haunting romance set in WWII

It’s 1942 and World War II rages on. People’s fates are held in the hands of those more powerful than imagined: the Greek Gods.

Aphrodite and Ares have just been caught by Hephaestus’s golden net for sneaking off to have a romantic tryst. Rather than go to Olympus and be humiliated in front of the other Gods, Aphrodite tells a love story about four people whose paths cross to explain why love and war are drawn to each other (other gods join in to help move the story along).

The story begins in England, 1917. A dance for the troops heading off to war is taking place. James, newly signed up for the Army (and future architect), sees Hazel playing piano.

With a little help from Aphrodite, Hazel glances up at the same time James looks over at her. They feel an instant connection, strengthened by their time dancing together.

The next few days were a whirlwind, as Hazel and James tried to spend as much time together before he ships off to France. Their time is tragically cut short as James reports for duty at the front early. Feeling the need to help the war effort, Hazel heads to France with the YMCA to help entertain the troops.

Here we are introduced to Colette Fournier and Aubrey Edwards. Colette’s  been orphaned by the war. Aubrey’s a musical genius looking to prove his country wrong by joining the Army and playing in the band.

Colette and Aubrey feel an instant connection, but are both leery to start a relationship. Colette doesn’t want to get close to anyone for fear of losing anyone else to the war. Aubrey doesn’t want to risk drawing unwanted attention to himself. The two couples each face their various trials and tribulations, some more horrible than others.

The book ends on a somewhat happy note and wraps up everything nicely. Everything about Lovely War is amazing. The entire premise of the novel is fascinating. I had heard about Lovely War before it came out, so it was on my radar.

I’m glad I bought this book, it is truly the best book I’ve ever read. I normally fly through books, but it took me a lot longer than normal to finish Lovely War. I didn’t want it to end.

Reading this book was an emotional roller coaster, but well worth it. Julie Berry’s writing is lyrical and complex. It’s extremely well-researched with extensive notes at the end of the novel.

The chapters are short, which works extremely well with the pacing of the novel.

I appreciated that the author took the time to develop the relationships between every character, even Hazel’s and Colette’s, for example. They both help each other through everything, good and bad. Most of the time in young adult novels, relationships are rushed and extremely cheesy.

Additionally, I thought the different perspectives from the Greek Gods were done well. Each God had a very distinct voice. The novel also handles the issues of racism, prejudice, and the horrors of war exquisitely for the time period it was written in.

Julie Berry created a book that will be praised for years to come. Lovely War is a haunting, romantic novel. It’s such an intricately woven story that speaks to anyone who reads it, and appeals to the human spirit. It’s a book for the ages.