From the author of Secrets of Nanreath Hall comes this gripping, beautifully written historical fiction novel set during World War II—the unforgettable story of a young woman who must leave Singapore and forge a new life in England.
On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.
Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.
Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.
Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for.
Critically acclaimed author of historical fiction, Alix Rickloff’s family tree includes a knight who fought during the Wars of the Roses (his brass rubbing hangs in her dining room) and a soldier who sided with Charles I during the English Civil War (hence the family's hasty emigration to America). With inspiration like that, what else could she do but start writing her own stories? She lives in Maryland in a house that’s seen its own share of history so when she’s not writing, she can usually be found trying to keep it from falling down. THE GIRLS IN NAVY BLUE is scheduled for release in November 2022.
You can enter to win a copy of The Way to London at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine till 11:59pm 9/29/17.
As many of you know, I’m always up for what’s new in WWII fiction and books set in England so I was very pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the tour for this book. The Way to London is very much a character driven novel that provided a fresh and somewhat lighter read than many WWII novels already on my shelf.
The book begins with Lucy living a life of luxury in Singapore. It would be easy to mistake her for a shallow, spoiled young woman. And perhaps she is a bit. But there’s usually a reason people behave the way they do and Lucy is no exception. Bounced from one nanny to another and sent to boarding school, Lucy has never had a close relationship with either of her parents. So it’s no surprise that she seeks attention where she can find it and has some difficulty making meaningful connections.
As rumors of war swirl around Singapore, Lucy’s mother and lecherous stepfather discover that Lucy has been having a relationship with Yoon Hai, the nephew a prominent Chinese business associate. Lucy is ordered to be sent away lest she interfere with the marriage contract already being negotiated for Yoon Hai’s marriage to another woman. She is to be on the next ship to England to be sent to live with Lady Boxley, an aunt she barely knows.
When she arrives, she finds that her aunt’s estate has been turned into a military hospital. Despite this and the evidence of the hardship of war all round her, Lucy does her best to continue living the life a carefree, moneyed woman, frequenting the pubs and defying her aunt’s wishes. This continues until Bill, a young refugee, comes into her life prompting a series of events that will lead them both on a journey to find “home”.
Alix Rickloff has created many characters to love in this book which is actually very refreshing. Though flawed, most of the characters are inherently good. I found Lucy to be daring, sassy, witty, and deeply emotional despite her best efforts to hide it. There were several characters who took their time in revealing their true nature which worked beautifully in this book. And then there was Bill. Rough around the edges? Perhaps. In need of a little structure? Well, yes. A good-hearted young man any reader could love? Most definitely!
And now I must address the romance bit… Many of you already know that romance is not my jam. I’ve been through reading the sappy stuff now for many years. To my own amazement, I actually liked the romance that developed in The Way to London. I know, I can’t believe it either! Perhaps that’s because it was more playful and realistic to me as opposed to the predictable gratuitous stuff authors sometimes try to sneak in. Whatever it was, it worked.
Overall, this was a very fast, enjoyable read that I’m tempted to call WWII “light”. In a refreshing departure from many WWII novels, it doesn’t contain bloody battle scenes and won’t make you cry for hours. That’s not to say it’s without depth. It provides it’s own brand of wonderful in a charming, heartwarming way.
I hadn’t read anything by Alix Rickloff in the past and was shocked to learn that she also writes paranormal romance. Though you probably won’t find me reading one of those, I’m impressed with her versatility and would certainly read another of her novels in the future.
I am a sucker for a good WWII story and when I discovered this book in a summer bargain bin, I just couldn't help but indulge. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I became swept up in the story.
Our story begins with a spoiled rich girl named Lucy getting shipped to England by her mother and lecherous stepfather after her less than desirable behavior in Singapore. Now living with her relatives who have seen their English home become a hospital, Lucy falls back on her bad girl behavior. Until she meets young Bill, the 20th century reincarnation of Dickens' Artful Dodger. Soon Bill and Lucy are off to London with the help of a a recently discharged British soldier named Michael.
Gosh, Lucy was so difficult to like but I soon came to realize that she wasn't all bad. In fact, she was a compelling character who had been deeply hurt. Bill and Michael were instrumental in showing that Lucy wasn't totally a lost cause. I am glad I took a chance on it!
World War II-set historical fiction is my jam. Between book reviews and on my own, I have read or listened to about ten for the year so far. What drew me to jump on the tour for The Way to London was that they main character has been living in Singapore for the past few years and having spent time there for work years ago, I am always looking for books set there. Although we don't spend long in Singapore before Lucy is banished to London for the indiscretion of a romance with the son of one of her stepfather's local business contacts, it's always nice to read about the Raffles Hotel and other places I recognize.
Beyond the initial Singapore location, I didn't settle into the story in The Way to London easily--mainly due to the main character who is not immediately likable. She is spoiled, defensive, and has trouble controlling her impulses--especially when it comes to things that will annoy her distant socialite mother and lecherous stepfather. It is the interactions with these characters that made me thaw to Lucy--it becomes more than understandable what drives her behaviors. Once Lucy arrives in the English countryside to her aunt's estate (taken over by the government for use as a hospital/rehabilitation center for soldiers) she meets 12-year-old truant Bill Smedley, escaping back to London to find his mother. Lucy, wanting to get there herself in hopes of getting to America to start a new life by finding an acquaintance staying there on his way back to Hollywood, sets off with Bill and her experiences on the road with him begin to change her. With these changes, she becomes a better person and I found myself rooting for her happiness and on board with the rest of the book. There is romance, but the heart of the story is about growing up and Lucy's coming of age and it is well told. There is a good balance of humor (Bill especially is a pip and once Lucy grew on me I appreciated her wit and sarcasm more), some action, and a touch of poignancy--although coming off of a round of heavier books, I was happy that The Way to London leans to the lighter side of war historicals. Lucy and Bill have quite a journey and I was happy to travel along with them.
Note: A review copy of "The Way to London" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
Featuring a strong heroine and an emotional journey, The Way to London is a beautiful story of love, friendship, and the strength of the human spirit set against the backdrop of the tumultuous events of World War II.
She shared a tiny cabin with an older widowed woman of a melancholy disposition and a penchant for weeping unexpectedly who, when awake, spent her time recounting stories of her dearly departed husband, Edgar, and when asleep, rattled the paint from the walls with her seismic snores.
I’d scratch your eyes out if I didn’t think it would be a marked improvement.
Mam says a true gentleman treats ladies with respect. Course she likewise says true gentlemen are rare as hen’s teeth, but she has hope.
I know you think I’m an opportunist at best and a tart at worst and I wish it weren’t that way. But when you only have yourself to count on, you learn to count yourself first.
I seldom read historical fiction but found myself captivated by this richly detailed and lushly appointed narrative. I was quickly drawn in and intrigued by the plot and enigmatic characters. Although I was initially unsure if I was going to be able to enjoy the character of Lucy. Silly me, of course I did!
Lucy’s tale began as the pampered yet ignored, idle rich, adult daughter of an often-married socialite, as she was living the easy party-girl life in Singapore a few days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. Lucy was not immediately likable as she was brimming with snobbishness and snark, and popped off scathing replies with little or no provocation. She was a take-no-prisoners and self-centered diva and tended to be vicious and venomous when lashing out. My initial impression of Lucy was that of a vapid narcissist as she found talk of the war tiresome and tedious and didn’t want to be bothered. When her dalliance with a local became an embarrassment to her wealthy stepfather, Lucy was packed off to England on a cruise ship that was unfortunately torpedoed, which was only the first mishap of Lucy’s traveling travails.
London was not the original destination of her arduous journey when she departed Singapore, but after an uncomfortable stay with her aunt in the country, London became a tunnel vision life-or-death destination. Lucy picked up a fellow run-away and misfit in a mischievous twelve-year-old street urchin name Bill, who provided endless comic relief with his colorful vocabulary and unique turn of phrase, as well as his penchant for finding trouble. Lucy and the ragamuffin Bill bonded during their escape from the English countryside for London and spent long dusty days en route and uncomfortable nights spent hiding in a rat-infested shed and cramped bomb shelters. Their trek took a circuitous route with many delays, distractions, and life-altering adventures and profound epiphanies along the way.
I looked forward to reading this book. I am a fan of these types of books. As the saying goes, the first impression is the most important. Well my first impression of Lucy was not a great one. I found her to be inconsiderate, disrespectful, and childish. I am glad that her step father and mother finally took a stand against Lucy and sent her away, even if it took an incident to make them act.
After, that incident, I thought I would try to be open minded towards Lucy, thinking that she would change for the better. Which, she did but it was a slow change. One that I would and expect. It is not like I expected Lucy to change overnight. Although, I had another problem. It was the rest of the story and the other characters. I found no connection to any of it. Thus it made it made for me to want to stick with this book and continue until the end. Not, that I did as I only made it about half way. I lost my way to London.
Pampered, stubborn, impetuous, reckless. That’s Lucy Stanhope, granddaughter of an earl. Not a very likeable person…at first.
Set in the early days of WWII, Lucy is living in Singapore with her mother and stepfather. But after a questionable incident she is exiled to England to live with her aunt. Lucy is one of the last people to get out of Singapore before the war reaches the island.
Lucy learns that her mother has perished at sea. While in Singapore Lucy had met Mason Oliver, a Hollywood producer. He gave her his business card and said he would make her a star. So rather than live with her elderly aunt she set out for London to meet with Mr. Oliver before he leaves for the US.
Along the way she rescues Bill, a young boy who has run away from the home he had been placed in. He is determined to find his mother in London. Reluctantly Lucy agrees to help him find his mother. She also encounters a soldier she had met in Singapore, Corporal Michael McKeegan. They have sparred from the moment they met.
“The Way to London” is a delightful read. No alternating perspectives, no back and forth in time. Lucy’s character development was so beautifully written. I loved seeing her slowly mature and begin to put the needs of others before herself. And along the way she discovers what love is…something she had never felt.
I loved the simple storyline that held my heart throughout the journey.
Alix Rickloff’s Secrets of Nanreath Hall made a fabulous impression on several of my friends, but The Way to London: A Novel of World War II marks my first experience with her work. I’m not entirely sure what I expected going in, but I was generally optimistic and am pleased to report my confidence was not entirely misplaced.
Spoiled socialite, Lucy Stanhope, reminded me quite strongly of Naomi Watts’ Kitty Fane, but that’s not entirely surprising when one considers the nature and scope of the story. There is an oft ridiculous immaturity in her makeup and while I respect the opinions of those who struggled to appreciate her personality, I’d like to point out how difficult it’d be to recognize her emotional transformation if the author had centered the novel on a universally likable protagonist.
The story itself is chock-full of wit, but the novel is character driven and those looking for a hard-hitting historical are destined for disappointment. Rickloff’s is a human story that wastes little time on the politics or cultural impact of the war which is where I struggled to appreciate the narrative. It’s fun and engaging, but it was light and leaves little for the reader to sink their teeth into.
Even though the blurb tells the future reader that Lucy Stanhope is over-indulged, I was not initially prepared for the spoiled brat with the waspish tongue that appeared on the pages of the first few chapters. I kind of clenched my teeth and spirited on.
Despite the fact that war was raging all around her, Lucy and the elite living in Singapore dined in fashion and were coddled in their affluent, carefree existence. However Lucy, typically throwing caution to the wind, antagonizes her step-father, the purse-string holder and ends up on a ship sailing back to London.
It’s not often that I change my opinion of a character so much as I did in The Way to London. Lucy is SUCH a spoiled little brat at the beginning of this–she thinks the world actually revolves around her and how DARE anyone suggest otherwise. Her spitfire spirit and love of gin were the only two things that appealed to me, and I was ready to cast this book off.
But, war is coming to Singapore, and she is all but shoved onto a boat back to England. Again…HOW DARE. Reality quickly sets in, and so does Lucy’s character development. It happens slowly throughout the story, but it’s a bit like a flower opening as she discovers what love is.
There is romance in this historical fiction novel, but the theme is more about finding your chosen family. Love takes all kinds of forms, in all kinds of people–not just between potential marriage partners. I certainly recommend this for lovers of WWII historical fiction!
A troublesome and difficult to like character in Lucy, she’s just like her mother: over-indulged, selfish, self-absorbed, sharp-tongued and manipulative, she’s always felt out of place and unwanted by her mother, even as she is following closely in her footsteps. Repeated moves and adjustments as her mother jumps from rich man to richer man, her current stepfather has been funding (read paying off) Lucy’s exploits in Singapore, until a confrontation with one of his potential investors leads to her being sent back to an Aunt in England, one she doesn’t remember. Lucy was incredibly difficult to empathize with: she’s built a shell of waspish responses and self-indulgent behaviors that, when finally explained are understandable, but wear very thin through the early chapters. There is little to no self-awareness of her less attractive traits, and her desire to be loved and accepted and finally acknowledged by her mother leads her into bad choices. Incredibly bad choices.
On the way to her “exile’ the ship is torpedoed and her dreams are again thwarted as she awaits rescue from a lifeboat to head to her aunt’s. Enter Bill, a 12 year old child from London, evacuated from the city because of the Blitz, and the two form an unlikely friendship. Much like Lucy, Bill has always felt out of place which leads him to act out and get in trouble, if only for attention. Wanting to go home, as the country isn’t for him, the two head off to London, a journey that is fraught with peril and dangers, even as we see Lucy, for the first time in our knowing her, to look out for someone other than herself.
Encountering an American GI that she had first met in Singapore, the attraction is clear, but Lucy is starting to see her behavior as what it was: indulged, self-absorbed and off-putting, although the attraction she finds for the soldier just may be a turning point for her and her aimless life. Expectations for her own life were never completely tied to love, as she doesn’t really believe in it. But, no matter the man, he would be titled and wealthy, and this soldier is neither. But he appreciates the airs she pulls around herself like armor, finds her funny, and she has softened with her relationship with Bill, as the two are trying to find home and hope in a war-torn, weary country. Half adventure and half love story, the sights, sounds and struggles brought on by the war are clearly defined and described, even as the story is solidly character driven. And what a cast of characters! Lucy is troublesome from the start, and does show great growth and maturation throughout the story, even if she backslides into old patterns. Bill becomes the star of the show: a young boy with a world-weary attitude, used to fighting for every morsel of attention he’s given: he’ll steal your heart and make you hope for his life to change. While the romance was more than a bit predictable, the changes in Lucy that allowed for her to contemplate a relationship far different from those she knew with her mother is heartening, and if you can get past your initial dislike of Lucy, this is a story well worth reading.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I can not say enough about how fabulous this book is. In the midst of war Alix Rickloff is able to capture the human spirit of survival and even humor. Her 3 main characters are some of the best I have come across and the supporting cast is just as endearing. I laughed, shed a few tears and fell in love with The Way to London. Put this on your #TBR list. Twelve year old Bill will steal your heart.
This is a well written book about WWII and how it affected the lives of the rich. I can promise you that you won't like the main character at the beginning of the book - she is sarcastic and rude and a real elitist who doesn't care how other people live or how the war is changing their lives. Don't let your feelings towards her, affect your decision to continue reading this book. I think that the author deliberately made her unlikable to show how she changes throughout the book. When you finish this book, you'll be glad that you read it and left with a memory of a strong female character.
The book begins in Singapore, where spoiled and pampered Lucy is living the life of luxury with little thought about the oncoming war. After a possible scandal involving her, she is exiled to London to live with an aunt that she barely knows. On the way to London, the transport ship that she is on is torpedoed and she arrives at her aunt's with none of her beautiful clothes. Her aunt's huge home is now being used by the military as a hospital and she isn't at all happy about the rules that she is forced to follow. On a whim, she decides to help a young evacuee return to London to find his mom. What should have been a one day trip, ends up taking weeks and once she gets to London, it's not the beautiful and extravagant London that she remembers. Will Lucy grow up and accept life like it is during these war years or will she continue to yearn for her extravagant and pampered lifestyle from earlier? Her decision affects not only her but other people in her world who have come to know the real Lucy and why she acts the way that she does.
This is a lovely book about the changes being brought about by war and about finding happiness no matter what you have to leave behind.
Well written tale of Lucy, a very flawed heroine and her journey to understanding how and why she is that way. She had a Mother who was neglectful and spiteful and who when not ignoring her only child, was berating her. Only after she is banished by her Mother and Stepfather from her glamorous but lazy life among the ex-pats in Singapore before WWII and sent to live with a distant Aunt, does she find herself.
She hooks up with a street smart 12 year old who as also been sent away by his Mother (out of love not embarrassment)to live in the English countryside to escape the Blitz. Together they runaway to London to find his Mother and to find an American movie mogul who had promised to make Lucy a star. Along the way, they find that what you think you want isn't always correct.
The characters they encounter are all fascinating and not always what their first impression suggests.
I debated between 3 and 4 Stars. On the surface the story seems to be lacking especially at the beginning when Lucy seems like a spoiled little rich girl and rather unlikeable. I felt like perhaps there should have been more depth to her relationships, but the more I thought about it the more I felt there was enough depth after all. Lucy had spent her whole life keeping people at arm’s length to avoid being hurt the way her mother had by not caring a fig about her; so she did not have deep relationships. It is quite an awakening for her to realize she cares for young Bill and also Corporal McKeegan. It is a slow awakening but there is enough action in the journey to London to keep things moving and propel the reader to the end.
I really wanted to like this book. I enjoy reading books set during WWII Britain. The descriptions of what life was like during that time are presented well in this book. However, I just do not like the main character. She's spoiled, shallow, and self-centered for most of the story. She redeems herself at the end of the book. There were several loose ends that were never resolved. Maybe the author plans a sequel. It just wasn't one of my favorites.
An excellent historical fiction book around & on the eve of Pearl Harbor about an impetuous & overindulged granddaughter of an earl who is living a pampered luxury life in Singapore until one act changes her life forever. Exiled to England to live with an aunt, one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, not knowing where her parent are, left alone. Excellent 5 stars ⭐️
Den her bog har været en blandet fornøjelse. Selve historien kan jeg godt lide, men den bliver ødelagt af virkelig mange afsnit eller sætninger, der ikke giver mening. Jeg kan ikke finde ud af, om der mangler en sætning her og der, eller om det simpelthen er dårlig oversættelse. Det er virkelig frustrerende. Derudover synes jeg, at historien går lidt for langsomt. Jeg ville helt sikkert have kortet den ned, for man begynder at kede sig lidt.
Oplæser: Susanne Storm. Jeg er ikke den store fan - oplæsning på det jævne.
Dejlig roman om det at søge. Søge efter en forsvunden mor, søge efter kærligheden, søge efter en vej frem i livet, søge efter den tabte kærlighed til en mor, søgen efter hvem man er eller er på vej til at blive.
In "The Way to London," privileged Lucy is forced to leave her cushy in warm Singapore home where she is basically free to do whatever she wants and spend money however she wants for cold, dreary London as war threatens to engulf the Pacific. Lucy will go on a journey that forces her to change and adapt in ways she didn't think possible.
This book had a slow start for me. Lucy does not start out as the most likable character; it was hard to find common ground with her for me. She is so focused on herself that she seems to treat the war as a nuisance rather than something to be concerned about. She's annoyed by having to go to England even though it is safer. She's annoyed about having to stay with her aunt so she goes to London and along the way meets Bill, a young boy looking for his mother. Bill was one of my favorite parts of the book and really shakes Lucy loose from her myopic tendencies. Meanwhile, Lucy learns that she may have lost her own mother, which gives her a bit of introspection as to whether she will follow her mother's footsteps or break free.
This book is very much about how the rich "waited out" World War II. I really liked a lot of the historical detail that was in this book. I loved the descriptions of Singapore in the 1940s. I also really enjoyed some of the smaller details that the author put in the book like restaurants not having to adhere to ration amounts in the early 1940s. I had no idea about that! All of these details really brought the book to life.
The slow start hung things up for me a bit but the book settles into a nice pace.
Sent 'home' from Singapore for her lavish and careless lifestyle, the anti-heroine gets torpedoed and arrives in Britain without her fine dresses, which upsets her rather more than being told that there is a war on. I am puzzled as to how she gets away with doing no war work for a good while, as almost every woman had to enlist in some auxilliary service or work on the land, in nursing, in NAAFI canteens etc.
Cornwall is too boring for her so she heads to London on the train, meeting a young scruff (tired of being an evacuee, he has sneaked home) and getting drawn into his world of bomb sites and blackouts; all he can remember. Maybe the good qualities will be drawn out of this socialite when she faces reality.
This was well written if the heroine was deliberately not engaging for most of the tale. I also found some of the details not suited to the period or location.
I received an e-ARC from Fresh Fiction. This is an unbiased review.
I simply could not get into this one. The characters are overly familiar stereotypes and the plot is predictable. Lucy Stanhope, the pampered protagonist, is so unlikable that you just know she will end up being reformed by love and circumstances, and you know by the second chapter that the man who will spur that reform is going to be the same young officer who flirts with her by the side of a ritzy hotel pool in Singapore. By the time I got 30 pages in, I was bored to death, and it was a real struggle for me to finish the book. I heaved a sigh of relief when I did and quickly moved on to something more original.
Okay, Alix Rickloff, you got me. I started out hating Lucy, and I think I was supposed to do so. But as the book progressed, and I learned more of her back story, and as I watched her grow and learn to care for others, I started pulling for her. The romance and ending were predictable, but satisfying. All in all, well done.
>>>>> My Synopsis (Review Follows): <<<<< Lucy Stanhope is a spoiled debutante living the good, but boring life in Singapore as World War II encroaches upon its shore. Just months before all hell breaks loose, her mother banishes her to England to live with her estranged aunt as punishment for her total disregard for priority and for almost sabotaging her stepfather's business deal. As the ship makes its way to England, however, it's torpedoed, and so begins a journey that will test her inner strength and beliefs ultimately changing her life forever.
>>>>> My Review: <<<<< This was a lovely journey of self discovery. When we first meet Lucy she is a self indulgent young woman desperate for attention, but who goes about getting it in all the wrong ways--sometimes to the point of recklessness. She's always felt a bit like an outsider, constantly being moved from one place to another and never setting down any roots. With no immediate plans for the future and constantly trying to gain her mother's approval and affections, she tends to act out and do what she wants. While not happy about going to England, she hopes she'll somehow manage to find her place in the world. When a chance encounter with a Hollywood producer suggests he could make her a star, she really think much of the offer. As the idea begins to take root, she sets her sights on being "discovered" as she suspects Hollywood might be her ticket to getting her what she wants. Her mother would no longer be able to deny her existence and maybe, just maybe, be happy to lay claim to her.
Bill is a young boy whom Lucy befriends. Separated from his mother during the evacuation program set up to save London's youth during the worst of London's air raids, Bill is equally ignored and frequently finds himself in trouble. In Bill, Lucy finds a kindred spirit often times seeing bit of herself in him. Right from the start, the two get along swimmingly. Together they decide to venture into the war torn region of London--one in search of his mother, the other for a shot at stardom.
Lucy is more than she first appears. As the story progresses, we watch her grow as an individual and find herself right before our eyes. Instead of trying to do things that will get her mom to notice her, she starts trying to figure out what she wants. She begins to wonder what would make her happy. That's a luxury that until recently she really had no control over. As she makes her way to London with Bill, she loses her prickly disposition and begins to open up to life, love, and all the possibilities that exist..
Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It hooked me at the get-go and kept my attention. I hadn't a clue what to expect with this one, but it was intermittently funny, witty, and serious. I enjoyed the multifaceted characters, and felt as if I'd stepped through a portal back in time. I'm not sure taking a young boy back to London in the middle of a war zone was the wisest of decisions, but I enjoyed the journey and story nevertheless. I'll definitely be reading more books by this author in the near future.
Sometimes you pick up a novel expecting one thing and get so much more. The Way to London By Alix Rickloff is one such novel. Set among the war that is just on the verge of breaking out, over indulged socialite Lucy Stanhope has followed in the ways of her promiscuous mother Amelia. It seems after her mother had given birth to Lucy, all she can do is find ways to hand her daughter off to a nanny or boarding school in order to fulfill her maternal expectations. But Lucy can see through all of that. As her mother bounces from one relationship to another, finding wealthy men who can serve her needs and fund her lifestyle choices, Lucy feels the consequences of those choices.
As the family heads to Singapore just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, her new stepfather expects something for funding all of Lucy's wild expenditures. After all he has no blood relation to her so he isn't about to be breaking any rules except infidelity to Amelia, but as long as the money keeps flowing, she isn't about to rock the financial boat. When Lucy is asked to distract a wealthy client of her stepfathers, things escalate to the point where they have asked that Lucy be removed back to London or risk the financial backing of the client to her stepfather. She doesn't realize what a blessing it might be in the long run.
So while heading back to London aboard a steamship they are torpedoed in the middle of the night on the eve of war, and she finds herself on a lifeboat waiting to be picked up and delivered back to London to live with her wealthy aunt. Unfortunately it will be a set of circumstances that will forever test her resolved that in the past has suited her needs but will she be able to temper her rash tongue that has always felt free to speak her mind regardless of the outcome. When she find solace in an American soldier she first met in Singapore, it seems like fate may have a role to play in where her future is heading even as war breaks out all around them.
I received The Way to London by Alix Rickloff compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. While this is such a riveting story, there are parts of the novel that readers should be cautioned about. There is a handful of profanity used as well as the promiscuous lifestyle of Lucy's that causes her to use men as she fits if they can benefit her. But the real story is the way she comes to resolve all the pain she has built up around her to protect herself from being hurt any further. I love her fiery grit and determination that keeps her from being a victim but also keeps her from also letting in anyone to love her as well. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars based on my own review guidelines and really enjoyed this one so much I read it in one evening.
This is a beautiful and well-written picaresque tale with a headstrong protagonist, an emotional backstory, and a journey full of hope and aspirations, stumbles and failures, dangers and adventures. It's a story of an unlikely friendship and the tale of one young woman's difficult emotional and physical perseverance against a backdrop of war.
Lucy Stanhope is a spoiled rich kid whose absent and uninvolved mother, married to her 3rd husband, is becoming tired of Lucy's troublemaking and shenanigans in their adopted country of Singapore, and even of her very presence. So Lucy is shipped back home to England to wait out World War II at the home of her stodgy aunt in Cornwall, a prospect that Lucy finds terrifically boring. However, Lucy wants adventure, and a life that defies expectation. So she embarks on a journey to London, accompanied by a young imp who is on his own search for home: his long-lost mother. The two travel together and encounter all manner of adventures and obstacles on their way to their joint and individual futures.
This is a character-driven story, and luckily, Lucy's character is so well-drawn, colorful, realistic, and interesting that the reader's interest is sustained throughout. Despite the fact that Lucy is spoiled, flirtatious, and almost certainly an alcoholic, Lucy is quite likable. She's a troublemaker, rude, and entitled. but she's got a quite sad back story, which the author interweaves with her current situation to Lucy's advantage. Her mother isn't much of one, and her father has been absent all her life; in addition, she's saddled with a lecherous stepfather. So she's had to fend for herself all her life. She's been alone and as she notes early on, as a result she doesn't cozy up to people easily or befriend anyone whom she can't use. However, she has a deep compassionate streak, which accounts for her taking Bill under her wing.. Her character thus provides great material and foundation here on which to build this story of two lost souls finding their way "home," which has different meanings for both of them.
The story is half a picaresque adventure, 1/2 a war tale/love story. The love story is a bit predictable, and I wish it were less so, because the journey on the way to the end should be fraught with suspense and drama, but isn't.
The character of Bill I found grating, annoying, and quite frankly unrealistic in the least. He's a Dickensian urchin type, with all the innocent mishchief-making qualities that implies. Did not like him at all.
Overall, a very good read. Thank you to the author and publishers for a review copy.
So what I was expecting from this book is a typical journey of a young woman and a boy she finds along the way. I was expecting a serious journey, perhaps with a few tear jerker scenes along and a bit of romance to lighten the mood. I was happy to be wrong about it when I finally finished the book.
Besides the obvious journey to London, it’s also more of Lucy’s road to developing her true self and coming to terms with it. She comes across characters that have had a hand in impacting her life and assisting Lucy in finding self finding journey.
The plot here was steady and flowing, there were some lulls here and there but it’s pretty much cut and clear. I did like reading Lucy’s character development throughout the novel. She went from spoiled entitled brat to someone who really did have a soft caring heart. It was great to see her develop into a more caring loving person of not others but also of herself. No matter how much she tries to go back to her selfish ways something always gets her back on track to show her true caring nature and that it is more rewarding helping and caring for others.
Lucy’s chemistry with Bill and Michael make the book more enjoyable to read. Bill because he brought out the caring aspect in Lucy, Michael because he challenged her and made her see things in a different light (plus, well he managed to wriggle under Lucy’s skin which was nice and fun to read as he had caught her speechless in some moments)
What I didn’t expect from the book was the funny light hearted moments. I found myself laughing here and there with Bill’s behavior and his uncanny ability to involve himself and Lucy into potentially hairy situations, or the times where Lucy fights with Michael, and it seems Michael is the only one that can render Lucy speechless and flabbergasted. Those were great moments in the book and it kept the reading at a light hearted mood despite what was happening around them.
I enjoyed this book a lot and I do recommend it if you’re in the mood for something light despite the dark setting of WWII London.
I didn't think I was going to like The Way to London, at first. Lucy Stanhope, the heroine, is a wicked character with icy manners. You have to be patient with her. The story is basically a romantic quest. Lucy is a wounded soul because her mother never paid attention to her and flitted from one romance (and marriage) to another. It starts in Singapore and Lucy is pressured to go to England by her mother after her scandalous affair comes to light. But, she's unhappy in her aunt's huge estate in Cornwall, where soldiers are billeted and Aunt Cynthia expects Lucy to abide by strict rules and standards but is also too busy to spend any time with Lucy.
Then, Lucy meets a 12-year-old boy named Bill who has been evacuated from London. Bill is frustrated with the family who took him in and wants to go home to London's East End. Lucy has heard there's a Hollywood filmmaker in London, a man she met in Singapore, and she wants to see if she can become his next starlet and escape England and the war. So, Lucy and Bill decide to go to London together. The war interferes with their travels and they meet a number of challenges.
Along they way, they meet up with another acquaintance of Lucy's, a former soldier she met in Singapore who was released for medical reasons. He sees through Lucy's caustic personality - even thinks she's kind of funny. Can Lucy accept the fact that she may be falling for a man who is neither wealthy or exotic? Or, will she stick to her escapist plan and attempt to become a starlet?
The Way to London is very plot-driven, which I love, but I think what I liked about the book most is the way Bill softens Lucy. The relationship between the two is a little odd and a lot heartwarming. And, in the end, I loved it.