The Light Over London

Love Is in the Air (So Let's Celebrate with Free Books)

February is the month of love, so I’m happy to show my love for my readers by announcing another Goodreads giveaway for The Light Over London!

All you have to do to enter is click on this link and keep your fingers crossed for a Kindle edition of the book. This giveaway runs until February 22nd and is open to US readers only.

Good luck, and happy reading!

The Light Over London Is Out at UK Retailers

UK readers, the wait is over! If you’ve been waiting to snag a hardcover copy of The Light Over London, it’s now available for you to purchase. You can buy the book from these fine retailers:

Amazon UK |Waterstones | WH Smith

I would love to see you guys reading your copies of The Light Over London. You can do that by using #TheLightOverLondon on social media or joining my reader Facebook group.

The Light Over London Is a Canadian Bestseller!

Release weeks are always exciting, and none was more exciting that that for The Light Over London because I found out that the book debuted at #8 on the Toronto Star’s Original Fiction list.

Even better? The book rose a spot this week to #7!

The love that Canadian readers have been showing to this book is just extraordinary, and I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Making The Light Over London Come Alive Through Research

For The Light Over London, I got to immerse myself in a number of histories of the ATS, the Blitz, women’s roles in the British military, and more. I’ve included a few mentions of these books in my author’s note at the end of The Light Over London, but I wanted to mention a few more titles in case there are any readers who want to learn more about this fascinating time period.

Used for The Light Over London

These are the books that had the greatest impact on me while writing Louise and Cara’s stories. I don’t think it would’ve been possible to write the detail of the 1941 story without Barrett and Calvi’s excellent history of a Gunner Girl (as well as a Wren and a WAAF) or Green’s extensive research into the everyday lives of women in the ATS.

Girls in Khaki: A History of the Second World War by Barbara Green

The Girls Who Went to War by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

The Secret History of the Blitz by Joshua Levine

Woman at the Front: Memoirs of an ATS Girl by Sylvia Wild

Additional Resources Used

From time to time, I needed to get a greater context of what was going on in Britain or Europe during the war. For that, I turned to several of these books. Certain titles also were invaluable for giving The Light Over London texture in the fashions and hairstyle or learning about social attitudes to things like love and marriage during the war.

Britain’s War: Into Battle 1937-1941 by Daniel Todman

The Blitz: The British Under Attack by Juliet Gardiner

Debs at War: 1939-1945 by Anne de Courcy

Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look by Jonathan Walford

The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel

Historical Fiction Set on the Home Front

If you enjoyed The Light Over London and are interested in reading more books set on the Home Front during this time period, I recommend the five-volume family saga by Elizabeth Jane Howard, The Cazalet Chronicles. Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers also touches on World War II in Cornwall and the Wrens in a charming historical and contemporary narrative.

If you’re a reader of books set in Britain during WWII, I’d love to hear your recommendations. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

To the Readers of The Light Over London

Dear Reader,

To live in London is to always have the memory of World War II with you, a whispered reminder of the unfathomable destruction and incredible bravery that was seen on the streets of this great city. 

When I moved to London, the omnipresence of the war drove me to read as much about it as I could, trying to understand how it had shaped this place. It was when I picked up a book about the Gunner Girls and other British women who went into service, a seedling of a plot for The Light Over London began to grow. If you’ve never heard of the extraordinary women of Ack-Ack Command who manned the anti-aircraft guns defending London’s skies during World War II, it’s my privilege to introduce you to them.

Made up of the women from the Army’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the Gunner Girls were formed to fill out the ranks of the Royal Artillery’s anti-aircraft batteries stationed in Britain and across Europe.

By parliamentary decree, women were not allowed to load or fire the massive guns, but they did everything else. Each battery had a spotter who could identify German aircraft, as well as a team of women to operate the sophisticated instruments used to aim the weapon and set its fuse. These teams moved fast, executing a complex set of adjustments in a matter of seconds. 

Working primarily at night, the Gunner Girls formed a special bond held together by the incredible danger of their jobs to shoot down enemy aircrafts amid air raids. They were also united in their knowledge that they were doing something few women had ever done before—standing down the enemy right in the path of bullets and bombs. 

More than 350 Gunner Girls lost their lives during World War II, and their contribution and sacrifice when their country needed them most to win the war cannot be ignored. The Light Over London is my way of honoring the women of Ack-Ack Command and their incredible stories.

Sincerely,
Julia Kelly

Goodreads Hardcover Giveaway

If you haven’t picked up a copy of The Light Over London yet, or you’re a digital reader who also wants a hardcover for their collection, you’re in luck! There’s a Goodreads giveaway for the book running until January 22nd.

All you have to do to enter is click on this link and keep your fingers crossed. This giveaway is open to US readers only, but keep an eye out for some international giveaways coming soon.

Good luck!

The Light Over London Is Here

A forgotten diary, a forbidden love affair, a desperate fight to save her country

2017 When Cara Hargreaves discovers a diary from the 1940s, its contents will change her life forever...

1941 When Louise Keene meets dashing RAF pilot, Paul Bolton, she is swept off her feet. Then Paul is sent to war and Louise, defying her mother's wishes, ends up a gunner girl in London.

Watching the pitch-black skies for bombers, Louise finds comfort recording her dreams in her diary. And as Cara reads her words, decades later, she learns that hope can be found even in the darkest of times, she just needs to take a chance...

 

After months of teasing, I'm now happy to say that The Light Over London is now available in stores. This is a romantic, heartbreaking historical novel about love, loyalty, and redemption.

If you're a US reader, this book is in your local bookstore and online in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook right now.

Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

If you're a UK reader, you'll have to wait just a little bit longer for a hardcover (February) but you can start reading the ebook today.

Amazon UK | Waterstones | WHSmith

You can share your thoughts about the book by using #TheLightOverLondon on social media or joining my Facebook Group just for readers!

One Month Until You're Transported into the Sweeping World of the Ack Ack Girls

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In just one month, my first World War II historical fiction The Light Over London comes out. Whether you're a print, ebook, or audiobook reader, you'll be able to sink into this sweeping story.

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

n 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties.

AmazonApple Books | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

We're Giving Away Books Again!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

My publisher is feeling very generous this holiday season and has decided to give away 25 advance reader copies of The Light Over London. All you have to do is click on this Goodreads link between now and December 10th and enter.

The fine print? This giveaway is open only to US readers. (European readers, I’ve got some special things planned for you very soon.)

Good luck!

Your First Look at an Entrancing, Heartbreaking Novel of World War II

Told from the present-day perspective of a British antiques dealer who specializes in helping families sell the contents of estates, The Light Over London transports readers to World War II London through forgotten treasures. Please enjoy this early look at this entrancing, heartbreaking novel, reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls.

The Light Over London Goodreads Giveaway

Autumn is my favorite season. The cozy clothes, leaves crackling under foot, and plenty of good books.

If you're looking for something fresh for your TBR this fall, you're in luck. I've got another The Light Over London Goodreads giveaway to tell you about! 

Up for grabs are 100 advance reader copies of The Light Over London. All you have to do is click here to enter to win one. (You can also follow me on Goodreads for updates about my book.)

Now for the fine print: The contest is for U.S. readers only and is open until September 24. 

Good luck!

The Light Over London Goodreads Giveaway

What's better than free books? Not much. That's why I'm happy to announce another The Light Over London Goodreads giveaway! 

Up for grabs is 100 advance reader copies of The Light Over London. All you have to do is click here to enter to win one. (You can also follow me on Goodreads for updates about my book.)

Now for the fine print: The contest is for U.S. readers only and is open until August 27. 

Good luck!

Publishing, Happily Ever Afters, and the #MeToo Movement

Publishing, Happily Ever Afters, and the #MeToo Movement

In my wide-ranging interview, I invited Kassia and Simon into the world of romance and genre fiction. We spoke about how I came to write my first books, the importance of marketing and social media for writers, and the pros and cons of self-publishing in this genre. I also talked about the impact of the #metoo movement on the world of romance.

Your First Look at The Light Over London

I'm very happy today to be sharing with you a first look at my first historical women's fiction, The Light Over London, which will be coming out in paperback and ebook this fall. Split between present day and World War II, it's a story of love and loss, secrets and discovery. And there's a dreamy cover to match this beautiful story.

Available for preorder in print and ebook

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play

For Cara Hargraves, burying herself in the past is easier than confronting the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is the perfect salvation. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship; among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform—the same one Cara’s grandmother wore during the war. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara embarks on a journey to untangle the affair, and just maybe uncover her grandmother’s deeply guarded secrets, too.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until the wealthy son of her mother’s best friend returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. But their whirlwind romance is cut short when Paul’s unit is deployed.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise defies her parents and joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit. As bombs fall on London, she relishes in her growing friendships with the gunner girls and knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to Paul are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Google Play