Naomi Styles's Reviews > Fallen Skies

Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory
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Mar 29, 10

Read in March, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Very very readable once I'd got into it, I had to know what happened next. At first I was worried this was going to be one of those 'Lily was poor but had a lovely voice and managed to make it on the stage' novels, but it wasn't. Rather, Lily was naive and got herself hooked up with someone she didn't really know very well. It was an interesting read, covering the themes of the 'thou shalt not say your feelings or comment on anything unpleasant and hence you will be lonely for ever' rules of the middle classes versus the exuberance of the lower ones. Then it covers the social change between the beginning and the end of the war, and thirdly the dreadful loneliness, guilt and terror of the men who returned from the war (ww1) knowing that a lot of their comrades had died.
However, although immensely readable, it left me wanting. I wanted to know more about Muriel, and whether she felt trapped by her social status or whether she liked it, or just accepted it. I was expecting some sort of relationship to form between her and Lily, be it a good or bad one, but they seemed to remain impassive. I also wanted to know why Chris was so favoured and whether Muriel really did feel indifferent towards Stephen or whether this was just his perception. The character of Stephen was interesting, and, considering his life, it was a pity that the author was not a little more sympathetic towards him. I think 'silence' was also a strong theme through the book, but this may have been overdone a little, what with 2 mutes, and muriel as good as mute too, and stephen too, since he never mentioned what was happening in his head. I was hoping all hell would break loose when rory got his voice back and revealed everyone's secrets, but it all remained calm. Finally, the ending was a bit unsatisfying, with its who-dunnit element, and stephen safely out of the way without any big marital bust-up, so Lily can presumably go off with her love; and now she's got a baby, his war wound isn't an issue either. A bit too sickly sweet for me. Two pages from the end, I didn't feel as if I was approaching the end. It all seemed to just stop.

Still, this is a very readable and enjoyable book about a fascinating time in social history, and I thought the social elements were tackled realistically and well.
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