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Fallen Skies

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  3,675 ratings  ·  393 reviews
The bestselling author of Wideacre returns with a dramatic story rich in human drama, emotion, and suspense, that explores the different impacts of World War I on a man and the woman who becomes his wife. They must truly accept the tragic past or risk losing the peace of the future together. First U.S. publication. Simultaneous with a hardcover library edition.
Paperback, 640 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published July 1st 1995)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  3,675 ratings  ·  393 reviews

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”’I tell you Lily is my saviour! She is free of the smell of it, free of the sound of it, free of the knowledge of it. How it happened I don’t know but it hasn’t touched her or spoiled her or corrupted her. When she’s beside me I feel clean again. I can’t tell you how or why. But if I don’t marry her and have her for ever, for ever, Mother, then I will go m…m…m…’ He snatched a deep breath to say the word. ‘Mad.’”

1.5 out of 5 stars

Have you ever reread a book, looked at the original rating yo
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

"Fallen Skies" by Philippa Gregory takes place in post World War I England, following wealthy war hero Stephen Winters and stage singer Lily Valance. Both are determined to forget about the war and move on with their lives. What follows is a rushed marriage that leads to repression, violence, and jealousy. For Stephen, the war has never truly gone and the reality of what he did during the war will lead his life
Dana Cordelia
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!

Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Philippa Gregory is a brilliant author who writes historical fiction. I was captivated with her book, The Other Boylen Girl, and am working my way through many of her other books. This book is about post World War I and how challenging it was for soldiers and families in Britain to try to lead a normal life after so much tragedy. Now that I have completed the book, all I can really say is "Wow." The novel became more and more difficult to read as the content became much more difficult to 'digest ...more
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 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
Amy Wilks
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Amy Burbidge
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
didn't finish, depressing, and I didn't care
Sophie (RedheadReading)
Apr 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Honestly, fuck this book. This was just an unpleasant read with very little enjoyment. I wasn't expecting a book set in post-WW1 Britain to be a romp, but I was hoping for some of that 'human drama and emotion' that the blurb mentioned. Instead, I got a far too detailed examination of a deeply unpleasant misogynist making life a living hell for a vaguely nice woman. I understand that the war was deeply damaging to an entire generation of young men, but I didn't like Stephen pre-war so wasn't rea ...more
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I would rate this as more of a 3.5
I was not a fan of this book until I reached half way and then I got into it. My issue was that I did not relate to the characters and I found that it dragged at points that were less interesting. I was also not a fan of how the book ended.
Victoria George
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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)
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Thea Guanzon
Apr 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was terrific. Captain Winters comes home from World War I, accompanied by one of his wartime subordinates who has been rendered mute by the experience. Both men are severely traumatized by both the trench warfare and by some secret atrocity they committed together. Captain Winters marries a young and innocent singer, expecting her to somehow rectify his war-induced mental illness. When she, of course, cannot, he becomes increasingly enraged and unhinged until the whole situat ...more
Jackie Weishaar
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mrs. Moira McGeough
The first Phillipa Gregory I've read that is set in relatively modern times. At first I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but as the story progressed I became more and more engaged with the characters and really did enjoy it. It also showed quite a different aspect of "shell shock" to those usually portrayed and how social class and snobbery affected peoples judgement.
April Hochstrasser
Jun 12, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Her historical fiction is much better.
Sarah Mac
Retroactively bumping this up from 4.5 to 5 stars. It keeps popping into my head at odd moments, which is generally a sign that it's worth the extra half. ;)
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a difficult book to read because there wasn't really happening in this book. I loved the cover and thought the premise was good when I read the description, but it fell flat for me. I think this entire story could have been told in less pages. I understand she wanted us to get a feeling for time and place, but it just seemed to go on and on. The only reason I finished this was because I thought it would be better at the end and though it was better, I didn't really enjoy the ending at a ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lots of Hold Your Breath Moments!
This is a MUST read!! How can you go wrong with a Philippa Gregory “page-turner” I had to write this review to let readers know that Philippa Gregory has brought her storytelling skills to another amazing level. I love her stories about the Tudors, but there's only so much one can write. I was happily surprised to see that Gregory developed rich characters and a riveting storyline in this book as well - in keeping with the WWI era that had me screaming, and clut
Mrs Erica Morley Hillard
Ultimately unsatisfying

I have to admit I got tired about halfway through. Although there is a lot of interest in this book, some of the characters are superficial or inconsistent and there is an awful lot of repetition , which can feel slightly condescending. After spending 500 pages building to the conclusion, the novel finishes in a rush, with some major points, such as the sudden speech of a mute character, left unremarked upon. It is an easy read, with few demands made on the reader, and it
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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

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