Lily Valance wants to forget the war. She’s determined to enjoy the world of the 1920s, with its music, singing, laughter and pleasure. When she meets Captain Stephen Winters, a decorated hero back from the Front, she’s drawn to his wealth and status. In Lily he sees his salvation – from the past, from the nightmares, from the guilt at surviving the Flanders plains where so many were lost. But it’s a dream that cannot last. Lily has no intention of leaving her singing career. The hidden tensions behind the respectable facade of the Winters household come to a head. Stephen’s nightmares merge ever closer with reality and the truth of what took place in the mud and darkness brings him and all who love him to a terrible reckoning…
I was recommended this book a while back by a lovely reader's comment (hello!) and I thought "Hmmm. Let me get my peepers on it!"
That was many months back, and I have only just got round to grabbing it from the "to be read" pile on the bookcase.
I am very much into all things Great War at the moment, but I needed a break from the proper history books. So what better than historical fiction? Set just after?
Gregory has become a bit of a trailblazer of historical fiction in recent years with the success of The Other Boleyn Girl. It was the subject of Anne's little known sister that made me sit up and take notice in that novel. More importantly - it made me want to know more. And that to me, is the mark of a good historical fiction. Something that sparks your interest.
Fallen Skies is no different. As someone who digests "...and this happened like this.. and this was soldiers experience..." on a regular basis, I am always looking for fault. I am happy to say that there were enough facts sprinkled throughout to kerb my usual disappointment at avoidable inaccuracies
The author makes mention of the million surplus women, the feelings of men who survived such circumstances where their comrades did not, as well as the nightmares they were left with - all weaved into a world of can-can dancing, theatres and a stiff upper lipped class system.
But, like most of Gregory's books, it does suffer from repetitiveness. I feel that it may only be me who get's annoyed by this sort of thing and I have to remind myself that it is all part of laying the foundation of a story and cementing elements of it in your mind.
There are ups and downs, sadness and anger, love and loss. The ending left me wanting a little, but on the whole I found it an entertaining read.