Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!
It is an honour today to welcome a Historical Fiction novelist of whom I have just discovered has written a novel set during the reconstruction and restoration of London after the last world war. It was an interesting premise to be sure as through watching the latter half of “Foyle’s War” in recent years, I knew the lines were a bit blurry between civilian life & the life of those who worked for the government, such as the codebreakers and cipher readers. Theirs was an interesting transition back into ordinary life and not one that wasn’t met with challenges.
Ahead of sharing my conversation with Ms McMillan, I wanted to take a moment to share with you about what first inspired me to want to read &/or listen to “The London Restoration”:
Any frequent reader & visitor to Jorie Loves A Story has learnt how passionate I am about reading the following stories: historically authentic stories rooted out of the historic past, ANY story featuring strong women (whether Historical, Contemporary or Feminist driven) as much as my new passion for seeking out ‘human interest stories’ set during the war eras rather than my previous passion for seeking out ALL war dramas which included the grit, the heart-wrenching and soul-crushing narratives I used to devour with a hearty thirst for the intensity of how those writers re-created such a guttingly difficult period of living history.
Of recent, I have had two favourite stories set during war – one which took us into the heart of the Resistance and the heartache of seeking freedom from the oppression of war as told through the Jewish perspective of surviving the second world war: “The Medallion” by Cathy Gohlke (see also Reviiew) whilst at the same time I was equally impressed (and suffered a right proper bookish hangover) by the acuity of how “Christmas Once Again” pulled me so rivetingly into a time bending story set at Christmas during the war era. (see also Review). Both of these authors tapped into their stories in such a way as to leave everything on the pages to where you cannot help but feel their stories etch themselves onto your heart and imprint themselves into your bookish soul.
Similarly the author Susan Meissner revisited a part of our lives I never thought I could revisit in a novel and she did it through the lens of “A Fall of Marigolds” (see also Review). However, the novel which brought the change in my readerly life was “The Citadel” (see also Review) and I cannot dear hearts re-open a door into the war era which touches anywhere near where that story took us.
Yet, you must be wondering – okay, Jorie you LOVE #HistoricalFiction, we get it but what pulled your curious time travelling eye into “The London Restoration”? The answer is in the book title – ‘restoration’ has a variety of meanings behind it and one of the most intriguing aspects I have always felt about History is how people have restored their lives after war, after dramatic & traumatic loss and how a country can find the Light again after such incredible Darkness. To find a story which seeks to root out the stories of how London Restored Itself was a story I aptly felt was one I dearly needed to read!
I’ve spent years as a reader & as a watcher of Historical dramatic series (ie. “Foyle’s War”, “House of Elliott”, “Bletchley Circle: San Francisco” & loads of others) observe how the war destroyed not just London but the countryside of my family’s ancestral home. I felt it was a fitting chance to see how the country re-found their courage to not just rebuild but to preserve what was left behind and whilst they restored what could be repaired in effect restored their own souls in the process. They were able to focus on the positives rather than the losses they had endured and through it – perhaps re-find their humanity along the way after having it fractured and distanced from their lives due to the tumultuous assaults London lived through during the Blitz.
We cannot re-experience History ourselves in our own tangible living experience as we live our lives but we can endeavour to draw out empathy and understanding through a fictional character whose living during that lifetime & historic marker in History as if we transported ourselves through their shoes and began to live it as our own life ourselves. Stories have a way of encouraging all of us to live lives outside our own & to use Historical Fiction as a gateway into the historic past is one way to bolster our knowledge of the past & to hope that the future will not have to endure repeating the lessons already learnt.
For those reasons and the simple fact I was wicked enthralled with the synopsis is why I dearly wanted to seek out this story to read! The fact it was told through INSPY Historical Fiction warmed my bookish heart because I felt I could trust the boundaries of what Ms McMillan might explore therein and what might not be as inclusive in this story as the stories I’ve had to stop reading which pushed my literary envelopes straight to Pluto before they exited our galaxy completely. We each have to own our limitations and our bookish turnoffs – for me turning to INSPY is one way of restoring my love of certain genres of story told within the expanse of what I can emotionally handle and feel soul lifted by the experience of having read the stories.
The London Restoration
by Rachel McMillan
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Hannah Curtis
From author Rachel McMillan comes a richly researched historical romance that takes place in post-World War II London and features a strong female lead.
Determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.
London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.
Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.
Featuring a timeless love story bolstered by flashbacks and the excavation of a priceless Roman artifact, The London Restoration is a richly atmospheric look at post-war London as two people changed by war rebuild amidst the city’s reconstruction.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, War Drama
Places to find the book:
Borrow from a Public Library
Add to LibraryThing
Published by Thomas Nelson
on 18th August, 2020
Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)
Length: 11 hours and 47 minutes (unabridged)
Published by: Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson)
an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub)
Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov as well as #INSPY #HistoricalFiction
+ #TheLondonRestoration, #audiobook or #audioreads
as well as #TNZFiction and #HFVBTBlogTours
Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook