Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Lost English Girl” by Julia Kelly, Gallery Books, 2023, BookBrowse

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Kudos to Julia Kelly, the author for “The Lost English Girl” for writing such a captivating and intriguing historical fiction novel. Julia Kelly is an amazing storyteller, and vividly describes the characters, events, plot, and scenery. The timeline for this story takes place around World War Two. The author describes her dramatic and colorful characters as complex and complicated. It is easy to relate and sympathize with some of the characters. Some of the men seem very weak and fragile, and some of the women are brave and courageous. The themes that can be seen throughout the novel are forgiveness, second chances, betrayals, and self-growth. During this tragic time in history, the author discusses the importance of family, friends, neighbors, determination, courage, love, and hope. It is difficult to imagine the sacrifices that people had to make.

Viv Byrne, is a Catholic young woman in Liverpool, England. When she becomes pregnant by a Jewish saxophone player, Joshua” does the “right thing” and marries her. Her family wants to avoid disgrace, and this seems like the best solution. Josh is made an offer, decides he wants his freedom, and goes to America. Viv has a beautiful daughter, Maggie, and stays with her dysfunctional parents. Viv is able to get a job delivering mail. She discovers that Joshua’s family lives on her mail route. Viv hasn’t seen them since the wedding, and they never knew if they had a grand-daughter or grandson.

Operation Pied Piper begins in England, where children are sent to the country to be safe from German bombing. Viv reluctantly sends Maggie to stay with a couple to be safe. Josh returns to England to serve his country. Not only does he have to fight for his country and life, there is antisemitism in his unit. Joshua is proven to be a hero. The Germans bombing England has caused much destruction in areas that were thought to be safe, and Viv has no idea where her daughter or the family she is with is.

Julia Kelly has done a great amount of research into this difficult period. I would highly recommend this thought-provoking and memorable novel.

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