You will find it hard to put down Lovely War by Julie Berry! The book is a combination of historical fiction and myth. The Greek gods Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Ares, Hades, and Apollo appear in the 1940s, as Aphrodite is found secretly meeting with her lover Ares. Stalling for time, Aphrodite recounts what she calls “the love story of the century.” The gods interrupt each other and talk over each other to jointly tell the World War I story of two couples: Hazel and James, and Collette and Aubrey.
Hazel and James, both English, meet at a party. James is enchanted by Hazel’s lovely piano playing, and the couple falls in love; however, fate pulls them apart. James has been drafted, and is shipped to Germany to fight on the front. Will their love survive separation and war? Meanwhile, Hazel moves to France and meets a beautiful singer and Belgian refugee, Colette. The girls become close friends and work side by side. Hazel introduces Colette to Aubrey, a Black American soldier and talented jazz pianist. Colette and Aubrey also fall in love, and they too find fate pulling them apart, as Aubrey leaves to fight for the U.S.A.
You will keep turning the pages to find out what happens to these two couples, and to the Greek gods, in Lovely War! Each couple is unique and compelling. The frame story of the Greek gods adds importance to the tale. The conclusion of the story drags a little, but if you like history, romance, or myth (or all of three), don’t miss this book!