2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 1 book toward her goal of 285 books.

2023 Reading Challenge

2023 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 5 books toward her goal of 265 books.

Guest Book Review: Lighting the Stars by Gabriele Wills, Review by Linda Lu

Today I’m pleased to bring you a review by a new contributor, Linda Lu. Enjoy!

About the Book
Tucked into the rugged Canadian wilderness of Muskoka’s majestic lake country, Merilee Sutcliffe’s peaceful town seems worlds away from the escalating conflict in Europe. But life is about to change dramatically in the Summer of 1940. As her patriotic friends and relatives leave for battle, her small town is thrust into the war machine. Merilee’s formerly tranquil skies soon roar with aircraft from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, stationed nearby to train young men determined to liberate their country from Nazi occupation.

When German Prisoners of War march into her shocked community, they become Merilee’s closest neighbours – and biggest threat. What unfolds in her remote town and on foreign shores sets Merilee and her growing circle on a collision course with an unimagined destiny. Caught up in the chaos is Luftwaffe pilot Erich Leitner. Shot down during the Battle of Britain and transplanted to a lakeside prison in Muskoka, he discovers he has more to fear from his comrades than his captors. While her cousin-in-spirit, Elyse Thornton, navigates the treacherous skies of Britain as a Spitfire Girl, audaciously ferrying warplanes from factories to airfields, Merilee becomes quietly entangled in her own dangerous liaisons on the home front. Caught between worlds, with conflicted loyalties and a sense of duty, she joins the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women’s Division, and soon finds herself in ground-zero London, focusing her photographer’s lens on a city under bombardment. Far from carefree summers on the lake, struggling to survive the relentless demands and sacrifices of war, Merilee, Elyse, and their friends wonder if they dare to risk their hearts as well. As unlikely lives intersect, ideologies and social hierarchies are challenged, loves and friendships are forged or broken, and countless heroes are made and lost. But even those who return to the serenity of Muskoka are changed forever.

Guest Review by Linda Lu
A beautiful novel about the enduring nature of love for people and places alike. ‘Lighting The Stars,’ by Gabriele Wills has the feel of classic literature with the intimacy of a genre favorite. 

The year is 1940, and Merilee Sutcliffe is relaxing by the lake in her peaceful Canadian town with her friend, Peggy, when they are suddenly stumbled upon by a soldier who informs them that the area is soon to be turned into a POW camp for German prisoners. They are sitting in the yard of Peggy’s home!

The sudden intrusion of the war cuts a dramatic path into Merilee’s life and lives of her friends and relatives immediately. Soon, Merilee’s cousin, the always sarcastic and saucy Elyse, decides to join the war effort herself by flying planes as a Spitfire Girl. Merilee eventually meets a young German pilot by the name of Erich Leitner and the two strike up a romance despite the fact that Erich is imprisoned in the POW camp. 

A moving and emotional look at the coming-of-age of a young girl beneath the shadow of a terrible war, ‘Lighting the Stars’ has compelling characters, beautiful prose and that extra something that makes a novel truly touching. I couldn’t put this book down and I know that many people will have that same feeling when reading it. 

Gabriele Wills has a talent for creating atmosphere that is so rare these days and so wonderful to find in a writer. Her descriptions of the wilderness of Muskoka were breathtaking and awe-inspiring. I can only imagine how much research went into this historical novel. 

There is nothing like dipping your toe into a new novel and finding a refreshing swim waiting for you and this novel about World War II in the Canadian lake country and in Europe gives readers that and more. This story is captivating and truly worth the read. I hope to see more from this author in the future! 

‘Lighting the Stars’ is book 4 of ‘The Muskoka Novels’ saga. It can be read on its own but I wish I had read at least the first book, first.  I think I would have had a better introduction to the older characters.  I plan to read the entire series now, as I loved this one so much!

Thanks to the author for my obligation-free review copy.

About Linda Lu
Linda Lu has been an avid reader since she was about 5 years old. When she was younger she enjoyed writing book reviews for herself. Now she enjoys sharing her opinion on books with other readers. She is a very eclectic reader and loves trying new genres as well as old. If she could only pick a few, she would have to say historical fiction, mystery, and literary. she also loves the classics. She loves spending time with he dog, Steinbeck. They take long walks together and love to cuddle. He enjoys it when she reads to him, even if he doesn’t understand.

3 comments to Guest Book Review: Lighting the Stars by Gabriele Wills, Review by Linda Lu

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