Lovely War [Book Review]

January 24, 2020

 Lovely War: by Julie Berry

Lovely War cover

Genre/Categories: YA Historical Fiction, WW1, Romance/Love Story, Mythology

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Is love more powerful than war?

During the years of WW1, Hazel, a shy and talented pianist meets James, a handsome soldier, at a dance. He’s shipping out to the front in a week. Is this enough time to fall in love? Two more characters round out the cast: Colette, a gifted singer from Belgium, and Aubrey, a member of the all African-American regiment and a gifted musician. The Greek gods narrate this story of love, music, and war.

My Thoughts:

Writing: Lovely War is beautifully written, well researched, and flows easily. The narrative is page-turning and engaging. The author writes characters who are each interesting, well-drawn, complicated, and likable. The format is creative in that it contains a story within a story and Greek gods narrate the story.  If you are a teen or young adult and have recently studied the Greek gods, this might be especially interesting for you. I enjoyed the narration by the gods but I found the story within a story a bit distracting (it’s not my favorite literary device to begin with) and started skimming some of that part. Please don’t take this as criticism (because it is creative) but simply as personal preference.

Title:  Does the title grab your attention? This is a curious title because there’s nothing lovely about a war! In fact, the author’s descriptions of war are rather graphic. What’s lovely is the love story and the thought that love is more powerful than war. Love can heal and restore and provide hope. In the story, there’s also a reference to a WW1 song called, “Oh! It’s a Lovely War.”

Themes: Thoughtful themes include the role of fate, a war romance, racism in the army, prejudice, music, healing, reconciliation, hope, determination, survival, and friendship.

Recommended: Heartfelt, heartbreaking, and charming, this is a creative combination of historical fiction, romance, war, music, and mythology. Even though the romance develops quickly (hello YA), I highly recommend Lovely War for fans of romantic historical fiction (WW1), for readers who appreciate lovely writing and engaging story telling, and for book clubs. Listen to the audio for the charming British accent, the pronunciation of French words, and the music transitions!

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on

Content Warning: WW1 atrocities

My Rating: 4 Stars


Lovely War cover

Lovely War Information

Meet the Author, Julie Berry

Author, Julie BerryJulie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. She now lives in southern California with her husband and four sons.

“The Emperor’s Ostrich,” Julie’s newest middle grade from Roaring Brook, earned a Booklist star. “The Passion of Dolssa” (Viking, 2016), won an ALA Printz Honor, was a New York Times Notable title, earned five stars, and was named to many best of year lists. Her middle grade novel, “The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place” (Roaring Brook, 2014) received an Odyssey Honor, was named a Wall Street Journal Top Ten Children’s Book of 2014, and was named to the Dorothy Canfield Fisher list. “All the Truth That’s in Me” (Viking, 2013) was Julie’s first YA novel. It has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, BCCB, and the Horn Book. It’s been named a Horn Book Fanfare title, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013, and a Junior Library Guild selection. It was shortlisted for a Carnegie Medal and a YALSA BFYA award. It was published in 14 international countries and territories. Julie is also the author of “The Amaranth Enchantment” and “Secondhand Charm” (Bloomsbury) and the “Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys” series (Penguin Books for Young Readers). Julie’s works appear in audio and international versions worldwide.


Have you read Lovely War or is it on your TBR?

Does a story narrated by Greek gods intrigue you?

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:

***Blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. Sounds like a good possibility Carol– always trust your 4 & 5 start reviews!! I just finished The War That Saved My Life– thanks to you. And will look for the follow up book! Gave it to my grand-girl Charlotte to read (she’s 12) and she read it straight through one day when she was here.

  2. Wonderful review Carol. I like that it has various themes. I am always looking for WWI stories as that is an event that is not written about as often as WWII. I had not heard of this one before, so thanks for introducing it to me. You seem to be doing that with a lot of books lately. 😀

Leave a Reply