The Lost English Girl by Julia Kelly
Print Length: 416 Pages
Publication Date: March 7th, 2023
By: Simon & Schuster Canada | Gallery Books
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About The Book:
Liverpool, 1935: Raised in a strict Catholic family, Viv Byrne knows what’s expected of her: marry a Catholic man from her working-class neighbourhood and have his children. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a fling with Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man with dreams of becoming a famous Jazz musician, Viv knows that a swift wedding is the only answer. Her only solace is that marrying Joshua will mean escaping her strict mother’s scrutiny. But when Joshua makes a life-changing choice on their wedding day, Viv is forced once again into the arms of her disapproving family. Five years later and on the eve of World War II, Viv is faced with the impossible choice to evacuate her young daughter, Maggie, to the countryside estate of the affluent Thompson family. In New York City, Joshua gives up his failing musical career to serve in the Royal Air Force, fight for his country, and try to piece together his feelings about the family, wife, and daughter he left behind at nineteen. However, tragedy strikes when Viv learns that the countryside safe haven she sent her daughter to wasn’t immune from the horrors of war. It is only years later, with Joshua’s help, that Viv learns the secrets of their shared past and what it will take to put a family back together again.
Viv's mother was so manipulative and I loathed her, I love it when a book's character can evoke emotions in me and every single one in this book did that, they were fully rounded, well-developed and believable. I will never understand people who claim to follow God when they aren't kind or compassionate towards others who they believe have sinned. I thought God's teachings were to be loving, kind and forgiving.
The book deals with topics of unwed pregnancy, religion, love, loss and second chances. It is about yet another priest abusing his position but in an entirely different manner than usual. What a powerful story that was complex and well-written, I could tell the author did a lot of research. The book is pure fiction but is based on families sending their child(ren) away to safety during the blitz of WWII and I loved every page. I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the Advance Readers Copy.