Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.
While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.
But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?
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You are drawn into this story on the first page and then it leaves you with a serious book hangover. You don't want these feelings to end as you've built a connection with the characters. The story seems to provoke a Nicholas Sparks book cover as you notice two passionately in love people so close to that earth shattering kiss, but in this book life gets in the way of that kiss. If you can imagine some of the love stories and scandals in Downton Abbey and this book delivers the trump.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in historical romance and the young adult audience. It was so well written that you were lost in the emotions of the characters and the time period only played as an accent and some times a funny break in the plot. Julianne would have her heart stepped on then be off to retail therapy and slumber parties with her best friend who would stay up till dawn laughing so hard which made it feel like the present. The history was added in the details when she brought up that the fashion world hadn't accepted women in pants yet or that she needed a matching garter and her stockings ripped.
The historical aspects of this story were not thrown at you, but were so easily weaved into the story that it felt like you lived in the times with them. It seems like such casual story telling, the author made writing look easy, which I know is a difficult task. She didn't overthink things, but you could tell she did her research. I learned quite a bit about history as the details of the story went on. As she intertwined certain aspects like the rivalry between religions, the Nazi war, and the acceptability of establishments like the one that held Julianne's brother, where rich families sent children that were not perfect, in order to not embarrass the family name I realized how little I know.
History aside, this story held heart and passion. It incorporated young love and followed the hardships of what life threw at them. One aspect of this story that made it feel in a whole so young and present was the rift between life and love. I can relate to a young love that was destined to fail because of how different their backgrounds were, but if you looked a little closer you realized how similar they really were. I loved getting to follow the characters off to school. It was a fun addition that made the story feel fresh and exciting.
The present scenario of this story, which kind of acted as a reverse flash back, just about killed me. I will be comparing this story to many more to follow. Another Nicholas Sparks mention, but the format felt like The Notebook, as the past took up the majority of the story with flashing to the present circumstances, which were nail bitting! I'd rate this five out of five stars and could write a book about all the things I liked about this book.
Also this author is so awesome this book has it's own trailer that I just watched after reading and wanted to include a link, so no one misses out on this awesomeness. As well as a book trailer, the book also includes pre-formated book club questions, so there should be no hesitation whether to buy this book or not. Buy it, Read it, then leave your thoughts about what you thought.
Thank you for reading.