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Fallen Skies

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  3,093 Ratings  ·  346 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 for
Paperback, 509 pages
Published December 2nd 2008 by Touchstone (first published 1993)
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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 you
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
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
Jan 06, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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


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  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
didn't finish, depressing, and I didn't care
Apr 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Victoria George
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jackie Weishaar
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ;)
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.
Adrianna Kowalska
Nazwisko Gregory nie jest mi obce. Wielokrotnie widziałam bijące po oczach zapowiedzi książek tej autorki. Jednak do tej pory nie było mi z nimi po drodze. W końcu wpisałam ją na swoją listę książek do przeczytania w najbliższym czasie i dotrwałam do niej. Poznajmy, zatem co w trawie piszczy.
Jest rok 1920. Dwa lata po I wojnie światowej. Świat dalej w szoku, ale cały czas próbuje się podnieść po tym jak synowie oddawali życie w imię wyższych celów. Wielu z nich zginęło, a część powróciła do dom
Andrea Buschman
Stephen is a veteran of WWI infatuated with Lily, a singer in a cabaret show. He is plagued by demons and nightmares from the war, but he believes that she can save him in some way. They marry, but no matter how much they refuse to speak of or acknowledge any unpleasantness (of which there is plenty) there is too much resentment and no potential for happiness.
Katie Hilton
An officer psychologically damaged by his experience in World War I attempts to marry and re-start his life. The results are disastrous. A good read, especially on details of the horrors of trench warfare for millions.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book I have read that did not have a like able character. Still, it was interesting, not always as easy to read as her other books, but I'm glad I read it.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Didn't really get into this book until about page 85; however, after that it really took off. Well worth the read.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, I could not put them down. War continues to create casualties even after the last bullet is fired and lived can still be damaged. A powerful tale.
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♥ Nothing Better ...: Help me decide whether to finish this book... 1 14 Dec 18, 2016 01:29PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 27, 2015 11:49AM  
  • Devil Water
  • The Shadow of the Pomegranate (Tudor Saga, #3)
  • Émilie's Voice
  • The Maid of the White Hands (Tristan and Isolde, #2)
  • The Good Journey
  • A Rose for the Crown
  • Something Dangerous (The Spoils of Time, #2)
  • There'll Be Blue Skies (Beach View Boarding House, #1)
  • Hope
  • The Question (Morland Dynasty, #25)
  • The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)
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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