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The London Restoration

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  294 reviews
In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent n
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Thomas Nelson (first published August 2020)
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Rachel McMillan Hi! I don't know if there is a specific one but I do post a lot about the churches on my Pinterest page. I would say that most of the churches that Br…moreHi! I don't know if there is a specific one but I do post a lot about the churches on my Pinterest page. I would say that most of the churches that Brent and Di frequent are in the heart of Westminster: many are near St Paul's and around Fleet Street. I did find this article from the washington post that has a map of several I mention in the book here: Thanks for reading :) (less)

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Karren  Sandercock
Thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson-Fiction and Rachel McMillan for my copy of The London Restoration.

London 1945, Diana Somerville's has been working at Bletchley Park as a code breaker, she hasn’t seen her husband Brent four years and he thinks she’s been working as a translator. Brent Somerville left his new bride to be a stretcher bearer during the war it’s a very dangerous job, in fact it’s actually safer to be in the army and he’s wounded towards the end of the war. When he’s sent home from
Mimi Matthews
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The London Restoration is an elegant and beautifully researched novel, as rich in history as it is in romance. Set in post-World War II London, Rachel McMillan’s passion for historic cities and churches shine through every page. She brings the architecture to life, ravaged by war, but strong at its foundation—just like the marriage of Brent and Diana Somerville. Brilliantly done to the last word.
I was so excited when I was approved for my first NetGalley Audiobook. The description of this book sounded amazing and the cover is simply stunning. I THOUGHT I would LOVE this book. London is my all-time favourite city to visit. I love everything about it....but it was not to be.

I so dislike rating books low but I have to give my honest opinion. The story was promising. I couldn't wait to hear Brent and Diana's story. They met before the war and married. Brent was sent off to war and Diana was
Anna Lee Huber
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The London Restoration is McMillan’s love letter to the city of London and its churches, and what a love letter it is! An insightful exploration of the broken places within and around us, and the resiliency of the human spirit, even in the face of tragedy and war. Affecting, beautifully written, and soulful.
The London Restoration – one might imagine it entails restoration of London after a devastation of war. Or maybe it’s about restoration of love in London. One young couple gets married at the beginning of the war, then pushed away from each other due to war, and now after the war trying to restore the love bond damaged by war. A beautiful love story.

London, 1945. Diana Somerville is a woman of great intuition and ability to read hidden messages. Thus during the war she was recruited as a codebre
This is a historical fiction. I DNF this audiobook at 54%. I do not love the narrator of the audiobook, but what really made me DNF it was the writing style of the book and I did not feel the characters where developed. At 50% I should feel something feel the character and I did not. I also did not feel the book was going anywhere. I was very bored with this book. I hate giving bad reviews when I get ARCs, but one thing I always say is I am going to give 100% honest reviews. I receive an e-audio ...more
Rachel McMillan
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I AM COUNTING MY READING THIS FOR LINE EDITS as reading it again... bc I did. And when it comes back for galleys, I will read it again.

Hope you all love meeting Brent and Di and Simon and Sophie soon
Jocelyn Green
If you know Rachel McMillan at all, you know she loves travel, she loves churches, and she loves Mozart (among many other things). So it makes perfect sense that in The London Restoration, we get to spend time in London visiting Christopher Wren churches and chatting about Mozart's music. If you're not sure what a Wren church is, never fear, you will learn all about it in the novel. I found that aspect fascinating. Espionage is the vehicle that moves the plot along, but the main story for me was ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story was centered around post World War II London at the time of "restoration", and the relationship between the main characters, Diana Somerville and her husband Brent.

Just as London was recovering from the devastating effects of the war, so were Diana and Brent’s marriage as they spent years apart due to the war. However, their roles during the war must be kept secret from each other. As Diana and Brent rebuild their marriage and relationship, can they move forward when there are secret
Robin Lee Hatcher
Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, The London Restoration swept me into the months immediately following WWII (with glimpses into the war itself). Interested in restoring the churches of a war-torn London, Diana also wants to restore her marriage to Brent. I anguished over the missteps the couple made as they tried to find their way back to each other. PTSD, government secrets, and espionage complicate matters, making for some heart-stopping moments along the way. The story is a perf ...more
Courtney Clark
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
With painstakingly researched detail, The London Restoration spins a story of romance and reconciliation. A twofold love story is exquisitely told, initially through smartly placed flashback sequences and an ongoing one as Brent and Diana confront the changes a world war has wrought in the architecture of their relationship. This is a romance of two imperfect people whose roles in the war efforts have left scars both mental and physical, whose friendships have flourished and complicated the pres ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ahhhhh, what a satisfying book!
There are only a few authors I will make an exception to my "no historical novels" rule, and McMillan is one of those. Her incorporation of historical details in her books are what make them stand above the rest in the genre. I was utterly fascinated with the architectural history and the information about Wren and the churches.
Yet, the strengths of this book also lie with the romance between the husband and wife, separated by secrets, wounds, and other ravages o
Sarah Sundin
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Switching back and forth from Brent and Diana’s wartime stories to their postwar experience, The London Restoration tells of the restoration of churches, lives, and a marriage, all broken by war. Rachel McMillan lovingly describes London’s architecture in ways that will delight any Anglophile. And we receive the gift of two love stories, both featuring Brent and Diana – when they first meet, and later as these people, forever altered by war, find each other again. Romantic, beautiful, and suspen ...more
The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan is an illustrative historical novel. Diana Somerville spent the war breaking code at Bletchley Park while her husband, Brent was a stretcher bearer in France. Brent has no clue as to the type of work Diana accomplished, nor can she tell him thanks to the Official Secrets Act. Brent saw terrible tragedies while serving in Europe. He is suffering from PTSD as well as a scar on his face and finger damage. Brent has nightmares, but he does not want to share ...more
Literary Redhead
Rebuilding is key to this intriguing story of a failing marriage, a war-torn city, and the hunt for a Russian spy in London 1945.

Diana Somerville, a Bletchley code-breaker during the conflict, is an expert on London churches. She is enlisted by MI6 to help catch the Ruskie agent named Eternity, as her knowledge of Wren-built structures is critical to finding him.

But her husband, a stretcher bearer during the war, knows nothing of Diana’s work. When he was sent home badly injured, she was inexpl
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I love the forward for this novel and that it's set in a unique time period: just after WWII has ended. The history of churches was fascinating. And the cover...stunning.

The London Restoration features a married couple for its hero and heroine. Diana and Brent were married just before Brent left for war and then separated for several years. They both changed during the years of separation and it's a challenge for them to settle into a new normal when they are reunited. It's a nice change to have
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
During World War II Diana Foyle and Brent Sommerville are hastily married before Brent ships out as a stretcher bearer.  While Brent is away, Diana wants to do anything to help bring him back safely.  With her experience in architectural history and her specific love of Christopher Wren churches, Diana is recruited as a codebreaker for Bletchley Park M16.  All of her work there is classified and when Diana discovers that Brent has returned from the war and is injured, she needs to put off their  ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, mystery
I am writing this before I dash off to work so I will be brief... READ THIS BOOK. That's it that's the review....

Okay... Here are the highlights for you:
1. The Somervilles are precious cinnamon rolls who have to be protected at all costs and if something happens to them in subsequent books I shall be extremely upset.

2. Simon Barre is bae and Mr. Darcy can go jump in his lake.

3. This book is perhaps one of the most realistic pieces of historical fiction I have ever read. A few years ago I chan
Kate Breslin
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this newest novel by author Rachel McMillan to be a delicious exploration of the heart in the wake of war's separation, sacrifices, and secrets. And the struggle to reclaim what was lost between Diana and Brent Somerville pairs brilliantly with the attempts to restore to beauty Christopher Wren's architectural marvels in post-WWII London. Fraught with intrigue and mystery, this story is also an immersion of the senses; the sights, smells, and sounds of an ancient city come alive, making ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy. Where do I begin with this lovely, amazing, stupendous book? It absolutely checks off every single one of my boxes. The London Restoration has architecture, history, suspense, and above all a divine romance. Most people know that marriage of convenience stories are my jam, but there’s just something special about this devoted married couple working together to solve a mystery while fighting for the love that has evolved throughout the course of World War II. The backdrop of a city in tur ...more
Amy Bruno
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been wanting to read a Rachel McMillan book for a while so I was super excited to pick up The London Restoration! That cover has been slaying me for months! Isn't it gorgeous!?

Another reviewer said that The London Restoration is McMillan's "love letter to London and it's churches", and I can't think of a better way to describe it than that!

Set in 1945 the book starts with Diana Somerville being in Vienna after the war. Destruction has ravaged the once beautiful city. Diana is there doing wo
linda hole
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Book was ok. I guess i expected something else from it. I liked the synopsis. I liked the Main characters and the glimpses we got of architectural London. But for me, personally, it became too difused to what the book wanted be. Is it a historical fiction is it a mystery book. As Said too confusing. But thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
The London Restoration – Rachel McMillan
This is an intelligent, thought-provoking, and heart-wrenching novel by Rachel McMillan. London Restoration opens up with Diana and Brent Sommerville being reunited after the war is finished, but in many respects, another one has already started up and it forces Diana to keep secrets from Brent.
As a married couple, they should feel comfortable in each other’s company, but they are strangers with four years of war that separates them. Brent has been hurt p
Lou Allen
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this romantic suspense novel. It takes place just after World War II has ended.
Diana and Brent Somerville married quickly, and both longed for the time when they could return to each other after the war.
However, things don’t go as planned. Both of them are carrying secrets that they cannot or will not share. As they begin life again, they are drawn together by a common love of London’s churches, and by the threat of a mysterious agent called Eternity. Diana and Brent must strive to sa
Amanda Barratt
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The London Restoration is a vividly rendered exploration of the intricacies of love and the resiliency of a city. From the first page, I was transported to post-war London, in all its rubbled streets and indefatigable spirit, and into the world of a couple struggling to reconcile the newfound texture of their love with the life-shaping changes wrought by war. Atmospheric and rich, with characters both nuanced and captivating, the story seamlessly weaves the wonder of falling in love with a journ ...more
J'nell Ciesielski
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
A captivating story of a singular love forged in the peeling of church bells, The London Restoration drifts through the post war streets of London to wrap around readers' hearts. McMillan's evocative yet delicate prose is a testament not only to the power of love, but to the unfaltering resilience of the city itself which she captures so beautifully. ...more
Cara Putman
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of human endurance and coming back together. A story about discovering who we are and understanding and accepting that life has changed us, but trusting our love to endure. Highly recommend.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book that I have read or listened to by this author and I enjoyed it. The narrator did a good job and I could hear slight variations between certain characters’ voices as she read, which helped me follow along. The narrator also had a very pretty British accent, which set the stage nicely for this novel.

The story is a slow build and jumps back and forth through time. Sometimes the story is post war, which is definitely the main story line. In this time line, the reader follows
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many WWII stories follow the typical route of surviving the war, then soldier comes home to love of their life and they live happily ever after. Rachel McMillan took a different route that I much appreciated. The story actually begins at the end of the war and when Brent and Diana reunite life isn’t perfect. They have been estranged for years and the war has, in many ways, changed them both. This is a story of two people learning to know and love each other once again. There is a great deal of r ...more
The Lit Bitch
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that when I saw the cover, I simply said yes without even pausing to read the summary. As many of you know I am a huge sucker for historical fiction and this cover hit all the historical fiction eye catchers it possibly could!

I love the colors and the red hat just drew me right in and I couldn’t wait to check it out and see if the story lived up to the hype of the cover.

Basically I went into this one blind since I said yes without even reading the summary and sometimes
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Rachel McMillan is the author of The Herringford and Watts mysteries, The Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries, The Three Quarter Time series, The London Restoration and The Mozart Code. Her non-fiction works including Dream Plan Go: A Travel Guide for Independent Adventure and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada and is always reading.

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