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The Light over London

Written by: Julia Kelly
Narrated by: Lucy Brownhill
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
4 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly's Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-listen for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted. 

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.  

In 1941, 19-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her - she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.  

Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.  

Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties. 

©2019 Julia Kelly (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Didn't Want it To End

Lovely story in two time settings. Both story lines gripping. Sweet. romantic and historically interesting. I will look for more Julua Kelly. Great narrator too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy J Henson
  • 2019-02-08

Lovely

A compelling story about two women who find themselves during dark times. I couldn't put it down.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • RueRue
  • 2019-01-30

Historical romance

This is chick lit with WWII as a backdrop. This might sound like a condemnation, but actually this is a pretty good book as historical romances go....yes, there were some plot elements were totally predictable, but I enjoyed the alternating stories. And good narration, too.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexis Earls
  • 2019-07-09

Sort of Predictable

The narration was great. There isn’t a whole lot of actual war history in this book, but it’s a unique perspective. I found the story a bit predictable, but still a good read!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-05-31

Heartbreaking and Magical

There are not really words to explain the beauty of this book. The deep intensity of war time drama. The burden of grief and regrets woven from the present to the past and back again. Characters that are so real you desperately hope to get to know them better.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Caliope
  • PA
  • 2019-05-15

Never Forget

Light Over London is a story of a young woman working in an antique shop who finds a diary of another young woman who lived during WWII. Given permission by the shop owner to read the diary and try to locate the owner, the young lady becomes absorbed in the diary and curious about her own Grandmother who lived in Germany during the war. Between the diary and the Grandmother's story lies an interesting read for anyone who takes seriously the concept that we must never forget the Holocaust and the other horrors of that war. I have always been interested in knowing all I can about that period of time. This book doesn't necessarily tell the reader anything new unless the reader knows little or nothing about the war, but the way the story unfolds is charming and enjoyable. And there is pertinent truth in the words, Never Forget.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chere Thomas
  • San Diego, CA United States
  • 2019-05-14

Kept me wanting more

This is a good story, well written and it kept me not wanting to stop listening. Although I had expected a deeper story of history, I found this story to be believable at a time when the world was in chaos and young men and women were looking to each other for comfort. Somewhere in the middle of the story, the narrator’s voice became very soft, almost a whisper, and I had to strain a bit to hear what she was saying. I found myself turning the volume up very loud. I don’t know if this was my device (but it’s not happened before) or if this has happened to anyone else. This is the only reason I gave 4 stars to the performance. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a historical love story and how women in England helped in the war effort. Bravo.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JUDITH
  • 2019-05-03

Interesting story

It’s an interesting story but not one that grabs at you or makes you sit in the driveway with the car running till the end of a chapter. And the reader is good but has a ‘whispery/breathy ‘ style that’s too much for me.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah N.
  • 2019-04-26

wonderful book for fans of historical fiction

I loved this book! The parallel timelines were interesting and the parallels were thought provoking. Nothing too deep here, but a fun little listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara D Payne
  • 2019-04-25

Enjoyed this book

I must say that it took me a little time to settle into this story, but then I hot hooked. It was a bit of a soap opera but sometimes that is okay. I liked the narrator. She had a soft, pleasant tone though she didn’t distinguish among the characters too much. The story line was interesting if a bit predictable. The one thing that I found annoying was Cara’s forceful insistence that her grandmother divulge her past. I realize it was a literary device to move the story along, but it seemed unkind and wrong to do to someone who clearly didn’t want to talk about it, though the author tied it in. Recommended with reservations

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  • UC
  • 2019-04-18

Fantastic

A great read. You'll enjoy this story. Hard to put down. We'll Worth it.! Looking forward to other stories by this author.