The Student News Site of Horace Greeley High School

The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

Book Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

Julie Berry’s groundbreaking novel Lovely War is a historical fiction novel narrated by the Greek Goddess Aphrodite but told through the eyes of four main characters with completely different lives. The story starts in November of 1917 when many parts of Europe are wartorn and there are many devastating casualties. Four lives are upended when World War I sweeps the globe: eighteen-year-old pianist Hazel from London, British soldier James, a black American soldier Aubrey, and Belgian girl Collette whose family is killed during the war. James and Hazel meet at one of her performances and fall in love—just days before he is shipped off to the deadly front in France and struggles for survival in the trenches. Hazel, heartbroken over losing James to the war, decides to enlist and volunteer as a pianist, attempting to cheer up some of the soldiers at the American camp at Saint-Nazaire. There, she meets Collette and the two quickly become friends as they both need music as an “escape” from war. When Collette’s family is killed at the hands of the Germans, she never thinks that she can feel love ever again.
She is proven wrong, as she begins to fall for the talented Aubrey stationed at Saint-Nazaire. Aubrey, a Harlem native, is a member of the United States 15th New York Infantry, an all-black regiment of soldier musicians tasked with digging trenches and playing jazz music to entertain white soldiers. There, Aubrey and his friends are constantly faced with racial discrimination and prejudice. While all four main characters confront hardships daily, the one thing they all agree on is that “love is the only true victor in war,” which helps them see the light during difficult times.
Author Julie Berry does an outstanding job of shifting perspectives between the four characters. Lovely War weaves together the themes of war, love, and prejudice seamlessly, and the plot is organized and easy to follow. The novel also includes a detailed history of WWI and the often ignored racial discrimination during this period. Lovely War has received praise from The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, and Kirkus Reviews. The latter praises that the book is “An unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired.” In crafting a story both epic and intimate, Berry invites readers to not only witness the trials and triumphs of her characters but also to reflect on the power of love and the human spirit in the face of adversity. Lovely War is indeed a book that resonates with the reader long after the final page is turned.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greeley Moderne Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *