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Lovely War

Written by: Julie Berry
Length: 12 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Listen to the novel New York Times best-selling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called "easily one of the best novels I have read all year". A critically acclaimed, multilayered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates - and the hearts - of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the US Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though war is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of love. 

Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie best seller. Author Julie Berry has been called "a modern master of historical fiction" by Bookpage and "a celestially inspired storyteller" by The New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork. 

©2019 Julie Berry (P)2019 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"This fascinating, gorgeously written novel of World War I will grip you and remind you that the greatest danger is closing our hearts to love." (Nancy Werlin, National Book Award honoree and New York Times best seller)

“Julie Berry writes the past as if she lived it.” (Jennifer Donnelly, New York Times best-selling author) 

“Scheherazade has nothing on Berry.... An unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired.” (Kirkus Reviews

What listeners say about Lovely War

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  • Jennifer
  • 11-05-19

Wonderful WW1 Book

Exquisitely written WW1 love stories narrated by Aphrodite and other Greek Gods who have their own need for love and in misplaced efforts to gain it, do stupid impetuous things (one would think god’s to be above the frailties of mortals), including adultery, forgiveness, understanding, blaming, and making deals that go against the fates. All the tragedies of war, bigotry, the changes that began in the US that lead eventually lead to the abolition of segregation, rights to vote, work, education, equal housing rights. The war scenes, letters, horrible contradictions, tolarence and cover up of murders within the military are just a handful of what this novel contains. It is brilliantly written, and believable. I fell in love with the main and secondary characters, have gained a deeper understanding of was and it’s grave depravation, ability to wipe out families and towns, and the toll that the evolution of war took on multiple countries, people, and had shaped the world as we know it today.

I loved this book and will listen to it again. The women are heroins although not spies as in other well written historical fictional. It was about coming of age during wartime, loss, love, and the power of the human spirit to commit and overcome great tragedy. The stories depicted, although fiction has true and factual characters and events that lend this to be such credible depiction of heart.

This is a new favorite author for me. I can’t wait to read more of her work. Her writing (unlike mine) is articulate, beautiful, and made me stretch in my role as the reader and observer of mortal life - love stories in war time being depicted by Greek gods. I though, “what is happening?” and how can the perspective of Greek Gods tie together? Keep reading (or listening). The characters both mortal and Gods bring an unusual perspective to war & love. I thing I may even enjoy learning more about Greek Gods because their characters became real to me for the first time in this writing (other than Disney’s Hercules).

I so loved this book; the writing, the characters, the setting, and the audio delivery, and hope you will love it too!

Bravo to all those who made this audio book available. Thank you.

6 people found this helpful

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  • jmwink
  • 08-03-20

I wept.

I wept as I listened to this story. My great uncle Leo registered for the draft in June of 1917 and in May of 1918, was in a ship bound for the war. By October of 1918, he died of wounds sustained in battle. He had given money to my grandmother for her children’s education. At that time, she didn’t have children and her own husband was fighting overseas. She held onto the money and eventually purchased a piano for her children’s musical education. That piano is in my home and Leo is buried in Arlington cemetery. Julie Berry is one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend this book - gorgeously written and performed.

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  • Lauren
  • 15-04-19

Lovely account of men, women, and racial experiences in WW1

Many books I’ve read about WW1 and WW2 have been focused on women OR men. This novel creates a full picture of the war’s effects on women, men, race, and nationalism. Rarely has PTS(D) been introduced as a result of service, so that was nice to see included in the broader look at war. It’s not a gory book but I would have liked a little more of a detailed account of James’s battles. Overall, if war novels are your jam and you’re not looking for something like The Nightingale or Unbroken, then this romantic version is a light and fun read/listen. The narrators are also fantastic.

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  • BAB
  • 13-04-19

Loved

The various narrators add to this beautifully told story. Love the addition of Greek mythology

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  • MommaBerter
  • 06-04-19

A Lovely Book, Indeed!

Such a sweet, touching, funny, and heartbreaking story! This is not my typical genre but I loved every minute of it. Julie Berry is my new favorite author!!

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  • Alexandria
  • 30-03-19

Excellent story of love, music and history

This book was way better than I initially expected it to be. The history that was included in the story was very moving and I loved the way Greek mythology was intertwined with the characters motivations.

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  • AuntGert
  • 25-03-19

A Love Story - A Flawed Mishmash

This novel is a war time love story and as such falls in line with likely thousands of other war time love stories. Perhaps because the genre is common the author, Julie Berry wanted her work to standout from the crowd by framing the story of her four protagonists via narratives presented by Greek gods. The initial chapter where this construct is set up had me truly confused as I had not fully read the book details ahead of time wherein it was stated that Apollo, Aphrodite, Hades, Ares, etc would be doing so. Once the reader moves away from the introduction to Aphrodite and Ares “trial” and onto the lovers’ war tale, the novel was an engaging and light listen despite the horrors of war. I kept asking myself, however, why the utilization of Greek gods to tell the story and for them to insinuate themselves into the characters actions via godlike influences. Initially I thought that eventually it will all tie in and I’ll get this author’s conceit, appreciating her choice. That realization never materialized. The gods were distractions and I feel rather silly.

The silliness was exacerbated by the voice performances of three of the leading readers: Jayne Entwistle reading as Aphrodite, Dion Graham as Apollo, and John Lee as Hades. In Entwistle’s case, her voice sounds like a prepubescent girl and not at all like the goddess of love, sensuality, and passion despite the words she’s reading. Dion Graham as Apollo and who was the main presenter of the African American soldier/musician (Aubry Edwards) read his part as if he was at the Apollo theater making Apollo sound Black and hip. Finally Hades performed by John Lee, a Brit, was so confused by his remit that when he had the job of speaking dialogue of the Aubry Edwards, instead of trying to affect a genuine African American cadence/accent, he incomprehensibly made him sound like he was white wise-guy from Brooklyn. For me, none of the voice actors were effective and I think it’s because they were confused by the set up as well. It seems as though the producer told them to adopt the attitudes of the characters the gods were presenting as opposed to the gods that they were.

I’ve read several positive reviews of this book and well, you never know what people will like or dislike. At the end, Julie Berry reads quite a few interesting end notes regarding her research into the book and that section is more compelling than the entire novel. She obviously did her homework and I would be inclined to read further into her suggested reading and wish she had just stuck to a perfectly reasonable novel based on that research as opposed to incongruously insinuating Greek god narrators into the mix. And if these distracting gods just had to be there, have the voice actors be directed to narrate like the gods not the mere mortals.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie Mc
  • 25-07-20

Beautifully written,fiction with truth intertwined

Could not stop listening. captivating story of world war 1. I love how the author researched and has factual information mingled in with the fiction. highly recommend, great book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-07-20

So good!

This was truly one of my favorite books I have read in a while! Also, the narrators were amazing.

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  • Lili
  • 27-04-20

Not suitable for YA, but has great characters 🎼

The friendships and romances were lovely, as were the period details, the tiny snippets of music, and the well drawn characters. But this book seems wildly mislabeled as YA.

I mean the mention, the very very graphic mention, of very heinous war crimes committed by the Germans, against the Belgian people, during WWI should be enough to take it out of that genre. That aside, yes the main characters are young, but being eighteen in 1918 is hardly the same as being eighteen now, so I just don't understand the YA designation.

The narrative being told by Greek gods, hmmmm. Honestly it felt a smidge gimmicky and a smidge distracting. I mean it was sort of novel and interesting at first, and then it quickly got weird. And felt unnecessary. The four primary characters carried the story beautifully on their own.

Also, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, I mean with the constant announcement of the date, surely the story was leading toward the Spanish Flu pandemic that peaked in late 1918, and killed millions? But no, there were the briefest of mentions of the illness, and but it never touches any of the main characters or even their families, which seemed really weird.

But as a stand alone historical fiction romance, very enjoyable. And the afterword with additional information about the time period, the issues of race, gender, inequality, etc. that was well done.

The narration was generally well done and appealing, tho it seemed a bit wanky to have Greek gods speaking with a distinct British accent, but perhaps I nitpick.

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  • I.L.OWEN
  • 07-06-20

very good

A love story mixed with social commentary around the first world war, kept me engaged and at times, sitting on the edge of my seat. be prepared for some teary eyed moments.