Alix Rickloff returns to the blog today with a World War II era novel, taking a journey from Singapore to England, and through the countryside of Britain. Please read on for my review of
The Way to London
A troublesome and difficult to like character in Lucy, she’s just like her mother: over-indulged, selfish, self-absorbed, sharp-tongued and manipulative, she’s always felt out of place and unwanted by her mother, even as she is following closely in her footsteps. Repeated moves and adjustments as her mother jumps from rich man to richer man, her current stepfather has been funding (read paying off) Lucy’s exploits in Singapore, until a confrontation with one of his potential investors leads to her being sent back to an Aunt in England, one she doesn’t remember. Lucy was incredibly difficult to empathize with: she’s built a shell of waspish responses and self-indulgent behaviors that, when finally explained are understandable, but wear very thin through the early chapters. There is little to no self-awareness of her less attractive traits, and her desire to be loved and accepted and finally acknowledged by her mother leads her into bad choices. Incredibly bad choices.
On the way to her “exile’ the ship is torpedoed and her dreams are again thwarted as she awaits rescue from a lifeboat to head to her aunt’s. Enter Bill, a 12 year old child from London, evacuated from the city because of the Blitz, and the two form an unlikely friendship. Much like Lucy, Bill has always felt out of place which leads him to act out and get in trouble, if only for attention. Wanting to go home, as the country isn’t for him, the two head off to London, a journey that is fraught with peril and dangers, even as we see Lucy, for the first time in our knowing her, to look out for someone other than herself.
Encountering an American GI that she had first met in Singapore, the attraction is clear, but Lucy is starting to see her behavior as what it was: indulged, self-absorbed and off-putting, although the attraction she finds for the soldier just may be a turning point for her and her aimless life. Expectations for her own life were never completely tied to love, as she doesn’t really believe in it. But, no matter the man, he would be titled and wealthy, and this soldier is neither. But he appreciates the airs she pulls around herself like armor, finds her funny, and she has softened with her relationship with Bill, as the two are trying to find home and hope in a war-torn, weary country. Half adventure and half love story, the sights, sounds and struggles brought on by the war are clearly defined and described, even as the story is solidly character driven. And what a cast of characters! Lucy is troublesome from the start, and does show great growth and maturation throughout the story, even if she backslides into old patterns. Bill becomes the star of the show: a young boy with a world-weary attitude, used to fighting for every morsel of attention he’s given: he’ll steal your heart and make you hope for his life to change. While the romance was more than a bit predictable, the changes in Lucy that allowed for her to contemplate a relationship far different from those she knew with her mother is heartening, and if you can get past your initial dislike of Lucy, this is a story well worth reading.
Title: The Way to London: A Novel of World War II
Author: Alix Rickloff
Genre: Family Saga, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, New Adult - Coming of Age, Setting: Britain, World War II
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Published on: 19 September, 2017
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
From the author of Secrets of Nanreath Hall comes this gripping, beautifully written historical fiction novel set during World War II—the unforgettable story of a young woman who must leave Singapore and forge a new life in England.
On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.
Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.
Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.
Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.