You may remember that Karin and I got to chat with our beautiful friend Logan of Once Upon a Book Club recently. During that episode, Logan suggested some of her favorite reads: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and Lovely War by Julie Berry

Well, it's my birthday month, and Karin snagged Lovely War off of my Amazon Wish List! I knew that I have an endless TBR, but a few nights ago I'd painted my nails and needed something to read while they dried, and Lovely War was within arm's reach, so it became my latest read. I'm so, so thankful that I read it now.

As Logan told us on the podcast (Episode: I Haven't Read It Yet, It's On My Shelf) Lovely War begins with Aphrodite and Ares, apparently stealing away to a swanky Manhattan apartment in 1942 when they are captured by Aphrodite's jealous husband (and, to make matters more scandalous, Ares' brother), Hephaestus. He threatens to drag them to a tribunal on Mount Olympus, and to avoid that, Aphrodite asks that she be allowed to call witnesses, to "stand trial" for her purported crimes. Hephaestus reluctantly agrees, and we meet the true main characters of the story: James Alderige, Hazel Windicott, Aubrey Edwards, and Colette Fournier, all existing in the same orbit during World War I ravaged Europe. What follows is a story of tragedy, grief, hope, fear, sorrow, the ravages of war and the purity of undying love.

The story is told by the gods who had hands in these love stories: Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, and Hades, and Julie Berry does an excellent job of writing in a way that it's clear which god is speaking: Aphrodite romanticizes every line, Ares focuses on facts and brutality, Apollo is music and environmental beauty driven, and Hades is firm but gentle in the inevitability of life, love, war, and death. It's both tender and gripping in a way that made me almost literally inhale this book. I just couldn't put it down, because I had to know how the kids would all fare while all of them were quite literally in the crosshairs of the German army at all times. Julie Berry is truly a mastermind with words; this book was poetic without being pompous, and beautiful and poignant while still being easy to follow along and get lost in the story. So often, books are very prose-heavy to a point that it's tedious, but this book wasn't this way at all. It truly was lovely, from start to finish.

My nerves definitely took a hit while reading; only a few chapters in, I told the Show Husband that, "oh, this book is going to break me, I can feel it." Thankfully, I've been broken and mended by this book in ways I didn't expect. 

Trigger warnings: general war descriptions including battlefield injury descriptions and some gore, sexual assault (it does not result in r@pe, but assault does happen), racism (one of the main characters is a Black soldier in the 19-teens and he and his regiment are frequent targets of racism and racially motivated crimes), hate crimes, grief/trauma.

Have a box of tissues beside you when you read your copy of Lovely War by Julie Berry, which you can order here.

Love and stolen kisses in Paris,


Disclaimer: If you purchase a copy of this book using my Amazon affiliate link above, I will receive a small commission which I will use to justify my literary addictions and to spoil my dogs (probably).