‘PART CABARET, PART BURLESQUE, AND LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE! GENTLEMEN, AND LADIES IF YOU’VE DARED TO COME, WELCOME TO …
1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risque and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.
At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too do the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night …
1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?
I will admit I was a bit nervous going into this book as historical fiction is notoriously ‘not my thing’ and I was worried I had set myself up to fail. The first 60 pages didn’t help as my least favourite historical fiction is war stories. Luckily we are only in WWII for those pages, personally I think they could have been cut and nothing would have been lost. In the end, it was a minor thing.
I can say though that this book continually managed to surprise me, every time I thought I knew where it was going it took a sharp twist. The sudden leap in 11 years to Lucy’s story made me stop and have a cry, I knew what had happened but none of the details. I wanted to know but also couldn’t bear to read further.
This utterly feminist novel grounds itself in women’s choice and women’s rights as we follow Evie decide that returning to pre-war womanhood was not in the cards. She wears pants, forsakes a hat and is passionate about lights and lighting. I love a good found family and that is the true heart of this book.
Let’s talk about our male lead, Kerri manages to write a book that highlights how difficult it was for many men returning from the war without making excuses for his behavior. It is clear he suffers from what is now call complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also that his behavior is not okay. I really liked the way this was framed and appreciated the refreshing take.
I give The Daughter Of Victory Lights:
The Daughter Of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner was published on 20 January 2020 by Harlequin Australia. You can purchase your own copy at Mighty Ape, Whitcoulls, Booktopia, or wherever you like to purchase books.
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A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.