Lovely War

512p. Viking. Mar. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451469939.
RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—The Greek gods relate the tale of how four young people's fates collide in a love story for the ages. Caught by Hephaestus in an compromising position with Ares, the god of War, Aphrodite is put on trial by her husband in a Manhattan hotel. World War II is waging, but the goddess of Love hearkens back to the first World War to present the romantic epic tale of Brits Hazel (a shy pianist) and James (a reluctant soldier). Hazel follows James to the Western Front, where she meets Colette (a grieving Belgian) and Aubrey (an African American musician from Harlem). Readers will be swept away by Berry's lyrical prose, evenly paced alternating chapters, and unforgettable characters who will jump off the page and resonate with teens. Her acute attention to historical detail is supported by thorough back matter touching upon the racism and sexism of American armed forces at the time. While the conceit of meddling Greek gods sometimes borders on contrivance, the format is ultimately successful. This rumination on the costs of war, the healing power of love and music, and the inevitability of death will stay with readers and tug at their hearts.
VERDICT A must where historical fiction and Berry's previous titles are popular.

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