Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Love by the Morning Star (2014)

Love by the Morning Star. Laura L. Sullivan. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I was disappointed by Laura Sullivan's Love by the Morning Star. I wanted to love it. I did. It is a novel set in English countryside in 1938-1939. It offers an upstairs/downstairs view of life. Or supposedly so. Two young women come to Starkers. One is a gold digger spy. Her father is a Nazi-sympathizer to say the least and his gang (for lack of a better word) wants her in position at this estate. She's told she'll be a maid. The other young woman is a Jewish refugee. She is actually a relation of the family who owns the estate. She's coming to Starkers to stay with her aunt and uncle. One girl is Hannah. The other girl is Anna. One will be treated well. The other won't.

In case you haven't guessed it, mistaken identity is the name of the game. These two women also happen to fall in love with the same man.

Why was I disappointed? Well. I'm not sure if it's because of the setting or the tone. I think I might have tolerated the tone--the silliness, the lightness, the double entendres, etc. if it wasn't set during such a dark time. It's hard to make light of the Nazis gaining power and destroying the lives of the Jewish people. The subject is serious and it deserves better. If it had been set twenty-five or thirty years earlier, then, perhaps it would have worked for me.

The romance. I liked the secret meetings between the hero and the heroine. There were only a handful of these scenes, but, they kept me reading.

I just have to add that I HATED one of the characters. I disliked a few more as well. But there was one that stood out above the rest as being AWFUL.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Douglas Florian said...

I haven't yet read this, and based upon your review probably never will, but there's one thing bothersome here already: the cover.
Here's a story of a mix-up of two girls, one Jewish and one the daughter of a Nazi spy. There's no sense whatsoever of that in the cover art. Dishonest marketing to the reader.

Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said...

That doesn't sound like a book that would work well for me either. I like WWII stories, but they need to suit the mood of the times. If the story is going to be light and lively, I prefer a Regency or Edwardian setting.

Brona said...

Douglas is right - the cover doesn't set the scene for the story at all - except for the light and fluffy bit!

I don't mind satire or humour being used to deal with dark topics (think A Beautiful Life - the holocaust movie that made me laugh...and cry!) but it works best if it's a purposeful choice by the author.