Love by the Morning Star
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
[June 3, 2014]
ARC from ALAMW14
Upstairs, downstairs, and in which lady’s chamber?Walking casually around ALAMW, the cover of this book is the first thing that caught me eye. Then I began reading the description and everything about this caught my eye. This book was essentially A Midsummer Night's Dream meets Downton Abbey and I loved every second of it.
On the brink of World War II, two girls are sent to the grand English country estate of Starkers. Hannah, the half-Jewish daughter of a disgraced distant relative, has been living an artistic bohemian life in a cabaret in pre-war Germany and now is supposed to be welcomed into the family. Anna, the social-climbing daughter of working-class British fascists, is supposed to be hired as a maid so that she can spy for the Nazis. But there’s a mix-up, and nice Hannah is sent to the kitchen as a maid while arrogant Anna is welcomed as a relative.
And then both girls fall for the same man, the handsome heir of the estate . . . or do they?
In this sparkling, saucy romance, nearly everything goes wrong for two girls who are sent to a grand English estate on the brink of World War II—until it goes so very, very right!
Now, I gotta start with the warning: This book is REALLY voice-y. It's a really strong voice, but it's kind of quirky and won't necessarily work for everyone. I'm not sure it would've worked for me, but I read it at a really good time. But the voice was a big part of why I loved it, but others may not.
It also helped that I'm SUCH a sucker for these types of mistaken identity stories. It was rather unbelievable how these mix ups worked, but it reminded me SO much of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is my favorite Shakespeare play. It was silly and fun and romantic, but it still had these moments of gravity to keep it from being too fluffy because this WAS the beginning of WWII with a half-Jewish character.
On that note, the history is so rich. It doesn't shy away from the reality of the time, but it embraces it, weaving in these facts and ideas of the time, the possibility of going to war, becoming a spy, and being attacked even if your religion was a minor part of your life. Nobody was safe, no matter where you were. And there was still that Downton Abbey-esque insistence of sticking to certain ways of life and having servants all over that really brought it to life.
And the romances. Oh the romances. They were so sweet and so deserved. That may not make sense from the beginning, but trust me. And I loved Anna and Hannah in their own ways. They were such interesting and fun characters to read about and then there were their boys. *swoony sigh*
I loved this book, but it's definitely not going to work for everyone. Just keep in mind that it's silly and swoony and fun and wait until that's the kind of book you need to read it. Meanwhile, I'll be eying Laura Sullivan's other books.