It is hard to describe the concept of the novel Lovely War by Julie Berry. It is a unique combination of World War I historical Fiction, Romance, and Mythology.
The book begins when the gods Aphrodite (love) and Ares (war) are having an affair in a Manhattan hotel room during World War II. They are captured in a magical net by Hephaestus (fire), who is Aphrodite’s husband and Ares’ brother. Hephaestus wants them tried on Olympus, but Aphrodite convinces him it would be best to keep things more private, so the trial is conducted in the hotel room. In order to explain her position on love, Aphrodite tells the stories of two pairs of lovers who met amidst the chaos of World War I. She calls Apollo (art) and Hades (death) as witnesses. As stated by the author “the gods’ stories explore how far hope can reach into the abyss of wartime destruction and despair, and whether, in a broken world, there’s still a case to be made for love. “
The two love stories are very sweet but seemed to drag on especially at the beginning when the first couple, James and Hazel met right before James is shipped off to become a sharpshooter in France. The second love story is much more complicated in that it involves an African-American soldier who falls in love with a Belgian woman whose family and the entire town where were brutally murdered by Germans. The issues discussed include shell shock, discrimination, emotional and physical wounds, grief, and of course the strength of love.
4 Stars. I’m not sure my book club would enjoy this since it is written for Young Adult audience.
And now for my Recipes For Readers Recommendation:
Click here for the recipe: Fresh Hummus with Greek Olive Oil