Tonight I’m sharing my review of The Daughter of Victory Lights
by Kerri Turner, which is one of the gorgeous novels in Harlequin Australia’s HERSTORY : Women Who Rebel campaign. This was a wonderful read!
Here’s the synopsis from the publisher’s website
(and you can check it out on Goodreads here
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 risqué 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 loved this book and gave it a full five stars.
There was just something really enchanting about the way that Turner tells her story – both the pace of the plot and the development of the characters were spot on for me. I loved that the point of view characters were flawed – and bordering on unlikable, but something about the way their stories were told was so tender that I couldn’t help loving them anyway.
The descriptions of Evie and Flynn’s experiences during wartime felt so thoroughly researched. I found reading about the work they each did was interesting and awful, heartbreaking but also uplifting – the sense of satisfaction (maybe?) at doing something really comes through. While the descriptions of war were raw and detailed, I thought the writing was respectful and even the most confronting parts didn’t feel gratuitous to the story.
One of the key issues drawn out in The Daughter of Victory Lights is the difficulty so many people had with returning to ‘normal’ life after the war was over. This is something that I find so fascinating – for instance, that soldiers (and others on the front lines) could live through such horrors and be expected to come home and be ok, and that women who experienced such independence were then supposed to go back to their roles as housewives dependent on husbands. I thought the exploration of these themes through Evie and Flynn’s stories was really wonderfully done – the characters and their experiences felt so authentic, and the impact of this on the rest of their lives was really clear.
The story that Turner tells is about Evie and Flynn post-war unfolds so beautifully – there were some surprises and, to be honest, quite a lot of tears! This is definitely one to read with a tissue or seven nearby! I absolutely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction, and I’m already excited about whatever Turner is writing next.
Kerri has very kindly answered some questions for me to share here too – I’ll pop those up tomorrow!
The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner
Source: I received a copy of from Harper Collins Australia for review. All views are my own.
Category: Historical fiction (WW2, post-war)
Themes: Post-war expectations, feminism, family, found family
Pages: 384 pages