Lovely War, written by Julie Berry, is a historical fiction romance novel narrated by the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, as a defense for her infidelity to her husband Hephaestus with Ares, god of war. She speaks of two couples whose stories intertwine with each other, both of whom met during the first World War, and recounts their tragic yet beautiful tale to explain why love and war are attracted to each other and to demonstrate how love requires vulnerability. As she does so, she masterfully weaves together a story of music, acceptance, prejudice, and sacrifice which draws to a close in an ending which is both unexpected and beautiful.
The most compelling aspect of this book to me was how each of the characters was depicted in a very realistic way, each with their own struggles. It brought the story to life for me because they were each flawed, human, and real. While each had great problems, they still tried to help each other throughout the novel. A major theme, that of love requiring vulnerability, was demonstrated especially well though these imperfect people because of how they are represented, even when tragedy, such as one character who struggles with his mental health because of his role as a sniper, strikes. I also loved the descriptions of music. The author fits them into the novel so that they stand out while still belonging and fitting in with the story perfectly. I think that they enrich the novel and make it that much more beautiful.
I enjoyed reading this novel because the storyline’s plot twists created an enthralling novel with both fact and fiction combined. I think the cover was an accurate representation of the contents; it is a whimsical story with gods and goddesses, but also grittily true and full of humans with real struggles. I gave it four stars because while I loved the story and writing, I did feel as though it was a little slow in the beginning, but overall I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.