Fallen Skies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fallen Skies

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  2,284 ratings  ·  289 reviews

Can a family's mannered traditions and cool emotions erase the horrors of war from a young couple's past?

Now back in print from New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory, Fallen Skies takes readers to post-World War I England in a suspenseful story about the marriage of a wealthy war hero and an aspiring singer he barely knows.

Lily Valance is determined to forget

Mass Market Paperback, 640 pages
Published August 15th 1995 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fallen Skies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fallen Skies

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
i did enjoy this . it is rather the equivalent of a sunday evening BBC costume drama in being well written , having a firm story line , clearly defined characters and being a bit of a page turner into the bargain . it is reassuringly safe and engrossing
set after WW1 it is a family drama involving a bullying ,cold , rich solicitor dehumanised by the war and his inferiority complex as the not so good son , his failed marriage to a younger , poorer and in his snobbish eyes not quite the right clas...more
So far my least favorite of this author. I have read most of her others, that take place during the time ,of King Henry VIII, a period I love.
This book takes place after WWI, and although I wanted to find out how it ended, I did not enjoy is as much as The Boleyn Inheritance, The Other Boleyn Girl (which far surpasses the movie), and The Queens Fool. I have read a total of nine of her books so far. And on my to read list is her latest The Other Queen.
I hadn't expected to enjoy Fallen Skies as much as I did. I still maintain that "The Other Boleyn Girl" is her best book, but this is way up there near the top of my list.

The vivid descriptions of the vaudeville theater, and the delicious glimpses of 1920s Portsmouth and Southampton, were so much fun. My heart thudded and ached in syncopation with Lily's. I was most definitely drawn into this book from the first few pages, and sad when it ended because I wanted there to be more of it to read!

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthia Haggard
Philippa Gregory is a talented author with a knack for making characters come alive. But I have noticed a not-so-wonderful pattern to her novels: The beginnings are usually very strong, and then they peter off. Too many of her novels have weak endings. The most vivid example of this is THE WHITE QUEEN, which ended just before the tragedy of the murders of the two sons of the protagonist.

Unfortunately, this was another such novel. As with all of her novels, I loved the way it began. I loved the...more


Post-WWI, shell shocked gentleman, working class music-hall dancer/singer.

Love the period. I had thought all the P. Gregorys were Tudor-era.



The more of this I read, the more I like it!



This book reminds me of the sort I used to read on the subway headed downtown for work many years ago: thick enough for the long rides, engrossing enough to make me miss my stop, and addictive enough to have...more
WWI is the backdrop for this saga, which is a change from Ms. Gregory's more common British royal tales. PG takes you into the depths of human emotions in this whirlwind novel. This one has it all. Love, hate, war, mystery, brutality all wrapped up in a story that is quite compelling. The 5 star rating was coming out, but the ending fell a bit short, for me. PG always creates the most interesting characters. You either love 'em or hate 'em.
The realm of the aristocracy never fails to intrigue, w...more
Amy Wilks
It took me some time to become enthralled with this book. The first few chapters rambled on slowly for me, and I wasn't clear where the story was going. About a quarter of the way in, I had a clearer picture of the story line and could not wait to see the ending.

The characters range from sweet and cheerful to absolutely detestable. I had great empathy for Lily, who always tried to do the right thing and who brought joy, innocence, and laughter into the Winters' home. The secret between Stephen...more
didn't finish, depressing, and I didn't care
This was not an easy book to read! The subject matter (post WWI England) was dark, the characters were not particulary likeable, and the first half of the book was pretty slow. I almost put it down. But, I began to realize that Ms. Gregory had captured something realistic in the telling of this story. The prejudices of the characters were probably all too real in this time period (and possibly still exist in some quarters today). The post-traumatic stress of Stephan Winters and his friend Covent...more
This is a historical fiction book set just at the end of World War I in England, during the 20s, flapper time. This is a time frame i know almost nothing about...I watched Chicago, but that's about it...so I'm glad to read this. Unlike Gregory's other books I've read, these characters weren't real people, but the sentiments they expressed mainly were. Here is a whole country full of people who seem to have lost their innocence. They describe sending the men off to war like it's a game, and then...more
This is the story of a young woman who works as a singer in post World War I England and the wealthy war hero she marries. I am a fan of Philippa Gregory in general but I recently read Wideacre and that was awful, so I checked the reviews on Goodreads before starting this one. It seems that views are polarised, but for those who did not like it the main criticism is that it is depressing. Well, that's war for you. I am not quite sure what people were expecting, Gregory's books are often about th...more
Thea Guanzon
Very dragging in parts, and with some quite abrupt changes in POV that jar the flow of the narrative. Prose is bland, bordering on insipid. Gregory suffers from lack of adherence to the golden rule, "show, don't tell", and I'm sorry but I've read quite a lot of her books and the woman cannot write a positive strong female character to save her life. Lily, like all of Gregory's protagonists that I've encountered, is whiny, hysterical, helpless and impossible to sympathize with. Everyone else in t...more
Amy John
You really have to force yourself to get through the first few chapters of this book. It is a very subtle read with very few climaxes until the ending. It is basically about a young girl under her mothers care and guidance who at first is a strong influence to the main character but trails away near the end. It almost as if when she ends, the driver of her husband picks up as her role model. The ending was very surprising with a lot of fanatic and surprising emotions coming from the character, y...more
Amy Burbidge
I have a hard time really getting into a book when there isn't anything redeeming about the main characters. I kept hoping for a change to occur, some catharsis to take place to wrap it all up in a nice package, but alas, no such luck. The ending was a bit of a let-down. It seemed incomplete, like just the ending to the incident at the end of the story rather than an end to the story. It left me feeling unsatisfied. Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough for it.
I wasn't sure about this novel at first. It was obviously one of Philippa Gregory's earlier novels, as it didn't have that same confident, assured prose style that her more recent historical novels have. I think she took a risk introducing a flawed and unsympathetic lead male character first, as this could have alienated some readers. However, once Lily is introduced, then it becomes a much easier read.

I found the whole 'want to be a star of the musical halls' scenario, but then she's whisked aw...more
I think I have knack for reading books no one else likes. If you pick up this copy based on my review, and really did not like it. I am so sorry.

"Fallen Skies" is a bit of an echo of the other 1920's novel "The Great Gatsby", by means, the main characters Stephan and Lily, are always trying to reclaim the past-we all know that will end disastrously. Lily wants to pretend the war never happened and had never soiled her childhood. Stephan wants things to go back to "the time before the war", neth...more
Jackie Weishaar
Enjoyed this book. It shows the underbelly of the post WWI era. I found that I grew very angry at how women were treated at that time. They had very few rights and men could divorce his wife for any reason. The wife on the other hand rarely had no grounds, and if divorce was pursued they would lose everything including their children. I was kind of cranky with my husband while I was reading this book.
Loved reading this. So enjoyed the struggle of Lily to break through the class system that was so restricting her. Morgan Freeman was in my mind as the mute butler to Stephen. Great story.
April Hochstrasser
My one complaint about this book was that it was too long. I liked the story and the contrast between good and evil. But she took 500+ pages to tell the tale.
Victoria George
I'll write a review when I get home from work today

OKAY so. This effing book. This whole review is going to be spoiler after spoiler so I'm gonna tag all of it except for the end when I give the "So essentially, what I think is..." part.

(view spoiler)...more
Her historical fiction is much better.
Apr 20, 2009 Kirsta rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a superb historical novel with tragic themes. Phillipa Gregory demonstrates the she can craft such a great story that takes place in the past century. (This book was initially released in 1993. Due to Gregory's popularity, it has been reissued.)

The story focuses on the dysfunctional marriage of Lily Valance and Captain Stephen Winters. Stephen was traumatized by his service during World War I. He is clearly suffering from PTSD and other issues. Yet he refuses treatment of any kind and is...more
The author is well-known for her historical novels about royal personages, but this book, first published in 1993 and re-issued in 2008, is among her best and is timely in this era of war. It is set in the immediate aftermath of World War I in England. A former officer from an upper-class family is haunted by dreams of the war. He falls in love with a pretty, very young music-hall performer, seeing in her naivete the pre-war innocence he misses. The impoverished girl reluctantly marries her rich...more
Juanita Carter
When I read the last page my initial reaction was, "WHAT?!" and I was mad, but later I was fine with the ending. I hated Stephen the entire book and found myself saying "run girl!" out loud to Lily, but obviously that is my opinion. This book makes me thankful that I grew up the way I did, with the mother I did, and so on. Written well and I think in a good era (WWI) which I don't know as much about as earlier or later time periods. At first I thought Lily was a bit light and fluffy, but I think...more
Jan 30, 2010 Brittany rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in the 1920s
Recommended to Brittany by: Tegan
How I Came To Read This Book: My friend Tegan randomly bestowed books on each of us one day, and I ended up with this one.

The Plot: It's 1920 and Lily Valance is a burgeoning starlet who just wants everyone to forget about the war and have a good time. Her joie de vivre catches the attention of a WW1 hero and wealthy lawyer named Stephen Winters, who aggressively pursues Lily to become his wife. As Lily is drawn into Stephen's world she realizes how strongly silence can mask pain and deception,...more
Sheri Evans
I would definitely recommend this book, knowing that some will have a hard time dealing with the lack of likable characters and the dark subject matter. However, I personally feel strongly that these are stories that need to be told and we need to hear, even if it makes us uncomfortable or morose. Gregory does a fantastic job describing the difficulty returning shell-shocked WWI vets had reassimilating into a culture they felt they no longer understood and how for some it became impossible to ev...more
Naomi Styles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina Sesok
I started this book several years ago, couldn't get into it and stopped. This time around, however, I found myself completely captivated by this book. There are very few times where I encounter characters that I hate so much I physically want to reach into the pages and bash their heads against a wall, but that is how I felt about Stephen and his mother, Muriel. I found them to be cold and heartless, but I feel like that was the point. On the other end of the spectrum, I found some of the other...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Devil Water
  • The Maid of the White Hands (Tristan and Isolde, #2)
  • The Shadow of the Pomegranate (Tudor Saga, #3)
  • The Tudor Rose
  • Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • A Rose for the Crown
  • Dancing With Kings
Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acc...more
More about Philippa Gregory...
The Other Boleyn Girl (The Tudor Court, #2) The Constant Princess (The Tudor Court, #1) The White Queen (The Cousins' War, #1) The Queen's Fool (The Tudor Court, #4) The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »