Author: Julie Berry
Published: March 5, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
I almost adored this book. I wish I could say that I loved everything about it, but unfortunately, I can’t. It all started great; Aphrodite as a narrator was brilliant and gave the story such a fascinating edge. The “trial” Hephaestus put Ares and Aphrodite through was interesting and I couldn’t wait turn the page and learn more. The story sucked me in from page one. The setting and characters were engaging and I was emotionally hooked from the beginning. I was prepared to give the book 5 stars without a single complaint, until all the “woke” themes started. It nearly ruined the entire book. I have no problem discussing America’s past of racism and the reasons for the Civil Rights movement. I’m a historian, I don’t believe in revisionism in anyway.
But when the South is villainized unfairly, I’m gonna complain about it. Thankfully, Berry put in small phrases that acknowledged a black man’s plight even in the progressive and Yankee city of New York. But when every single Southerner is turned into an insufferable jerk all because of the color of another man’s skin, it overshadows how beautiful this story could have been. And it’s so sad that this is literally the only problem I have. I cannot say enough good about the rest of this book. I couldn’t put it down and this cover is sooooo beautiful!!!!! I still want to rate it as high as I can and I absolutely recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction.