Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Daughter of a wealthy Australian businessman, Sophie Higgs is among a select number of young women invited to Shillings Hall in England. There she receives instructions in etiquette and the power of charm from the mysterious Miss Lily. But with the coming of a world war, the women of Europe will need to find and exert different kinds of strength in Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies by author Jackie French.
Indeed, don’t let the lovely book cover and the almost too lovely title give you the wrong impression. This isn’t a sweet little tale about English teas and parties (the story’s teas and parties notwithstanding.) This novel based on true events surrounding the Great War is very much a war story, and oftentimes a gruesome one at that.
It’s also a coming of age story. I couldn’t always make sense of the heroine, but I can appreciate the strength and purpose she finds in wartime.
That purpose is what led me to read this novel, since I first read a companion story, With Love from Miss Lily. Admittedly, that Christmas tale, in 30 pages or so, packed more of a punch for me than this novel did in over 500. There were longish lulls in this book between the parts that moved me.
Still, the overall substance and intrigue of the plot made it worth it. Granted, I was almost turned off the book during the last fifth of it. (Even with the roles feminine wiles play in war maneuvers here, having three semi-seductions in back-to-back scenes is overkill, and the ending chapters stretch and complicate matters maybe more than necessary.)
Nevertheless, my historical-fiction-loving self is curious about the promise of postwar challenges here. If/when Book Two of this series becomes available in the US, I plan on reading it.
Note to my blog readers: this book contains some (not much, but some) content past my usual quasi-conservative preferences and should not be mistaken for Christian Fiction.
Here’s my review of With Love from Miss Lily: A Christmas Story.