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Lucia's War

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  34 reviews
London, 1950. Soprano Lucia Percival has overcome racism and many obstacles to become a renowned opera singer. She is now due to perform her last concert. But she has no intention of going onstage. A terrible secret from her service during the First World War has finally caught up with her.

London, 1917. Lucia, a young Jamaican exile, hopes to make it as a musician. But she
Published June 1st 2020 by Idee Fixe Press
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Karen Kingston
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Susan Lanigan for a digital review copy of this book - my thoughts are my own.

I've read a large number of historical fiction books over the past couple of years and was interested by the synopsis of this book. When I studied History at school, the early part of the twentieth century was one of my favourite periods of time - so many social changes happened in a relatively short period of time.

This is the first book I've read about the era featuring a family from Jamaica. I had no ide
Bonnye Reed
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from BookSIRENS, Susan Lanigan, and Idee Fixe Press. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this historical novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am happy to recommend Susan Lanigan to friends and family. She writes a tight tale with convincing protagonists and her backgrounds are picture-perfect. We see all the places Lucia touched, and all the experiences that touched her, with ...more
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A straight 5* for this beautiful book! Lucia's story is about fight and survival. Fight to make her place in a society (London) which does not welcome her (she is a Black woman from Jamaica); fight to make herself heard (she is a very talented singer); and fight for loving (her child foremost, and men). However, she is not giving up, and does not give in to self-pity.
Racism is a big theme in this book. Susan Lanigan shows its hierarchy and stratas very subtly.
The writing is excellent, many pat
Mairead Hearne (
'A story of motherhood, music, loss and redemption, set in the latter part of WWI and post-Armistice.’

Lucia’s War is the latest novel from Irish writer, Susan Lanigan. It will be published June 5th 2020 and is described as a ‘novel telling a compelling story of music, motherhood, race and war’ Lucia’s War follows on from Susan Lanigan’s novel, White Feathers, which was released in 2014.

“It was always my desire to continue on with Lucia’s story where it began in White Feathers, and while Luci
Jennie Rosenblum
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This read was just what I needed to escape. A secret has caught up to the main character, Lucia, and an interview of her ‘true story’ kept me quickly swiping pages to figure out the secret and how Lucia survives. This author did a nice job of taking you into the atmosphere of London, as well as the time period that Lucia is experiencing. An all around good read that reminded me how much I love Historical Fiction.
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, Susan Lanigan has a pearl here. From the first page of this book I knew I would learn so much from Lucia's story. Not only did I learn but I lived and cried with Lucia as she struggled to find her way through wartime, a way to survive the discrimination, the loss; to find a way to nurture her talent. And boy does she have a talent. The beauty of music was not about to be destroyed by war and in the most unlikely of circumstances, a star was born. That star is Lucia. Against all the odds a ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is a stunning work of historical fiction, and I’m very grateful to have been given an advance review copy.

The title - Lucia’s War - sums up everything about this novel. It’s her experience of war, and it’s everything that happened to her during, or as a consequence of, that war. Lanigan excellently portrays how the First World War affected women left at home, how they helped, how they grieved, and how they managed the consequences.

As a young woman, Lucia travels from her homeland of Jamaica
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Book Sirens for this copy of Lucia's War by Susan Lanigan. I'd not heard of the book or the author prior to requesting it from Book Sirens, but after reading the description knew it was one I wanted to read. I love historical fiction and lately am leaning towards the plight and journey of black men and women in history. I'm not familiar with Opera and don't listen to it at all, but that didn't stop me from wanting to learn about Lucia Percival's life, the good and the bad.

Lucia, a J
Mary Yarde
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing

"Did you know I once sang Wagner to a roomful of Nazis?"

It wasn't the most conventional way to start an interview with a music critic, but then, no one had ever called Lucia Percival conventional. And it wasn't as if this man's opinion mattered, for this was to be Lucia's last concert.

Of course, the Nazis had not realised that it was not an Aryan goddess singing behind the curtained booth. It was amusing when one thought about it. But that is all water under the bridge, at least, it should be. I
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent sequel-of-sorts to White Feathers, this book also addresses the terrible cost of war, repression and abuse of power, but from a different perspective. Lucia's story draws in all those themes, as well as the ever-present oppression of racism. The use of music as a linking thread throughout the many twists and turns of the plot works very well - Lucia's passion for her art is never in doubt. The world of Black intellectuals in early 20th century London, which is not as well-known as i ...more
Mary Conroy
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read Susan Lanigan’s 2014 novel White Feathers and enjoyed it immensely. Lucia’s War returns to the same fictional universe, with a support character from that earlier novel now moving centre stage against the backdrop of the devastating Great War.
Lucia Percival is a young Afro-Caribbean woman who has moved to London to fulfil her ambition of training to be an opera singer. By the time we meet her, we are aware that she has already been through a personal ordeal that has left her scarred, tho
Trick Wiley
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this historical story. You can tell As you read a lot of research went into writing this story. Grab some tissues,you will need them Follow this woman's life for better or worse! The writing of Susan Lanigan it flows,seeing no bumps in the road. I will read more of this ladies stories. Learn about her the opera,learn about Lucia 's music in the year starting in 1917.. Follow her life as a musician ,a mother and how a old woman impacts her life. Very much a emotion read,this s ...more
Nicole Murphy
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the type of book that throws open the shutters and lets in the light on a pretty niche part of history that I knew very little about and I feel all the wiser after reading it.

I’m very grateful for this view of World War 1 from a woman’s point of view. Lucia – the heroine of the book was a very strong and well-rounded character. Totally believable. Lanigan is amazing the way she can weave the backstory of a character into her novels as she moves the story along. I quite liked the flashba
D Jackson
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
A historical novel written in the first person.

This could just have been a straightforward account of how a musician from the period 1917 encounters racist beliefs, but it isn't. The author has endeavoured to make it more personal and add more interest and depth by ensconcing the main character in a very complicated personal battle. Again, this could have been more straightforward than it transpires to be but our musician must first fulfil her side of a bargain - one that would seem to be totall
Kathleen Van Lierop
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to thank BookSIRENS for their free copy of 'Lucia's War'. My thoughts about the book are my own.

I chose this novel, because I really like to read about historical events and people. So I'm very happy with this wonderful story.

Lucia's War is very well and clearly written by Susan Lanigan.
She writes fluently and convincing.

I really wanted to know the end of the story. So a book to recommend to friends!
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was really interesting, and the author has written a wonderful book.

There is such a range of emotions, action, adventures, mystery and twists in this one book, the author really has painted a wonderful picture.

I will look forward to reading more by this author.
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I recommend Lucia’s War. It is quite well-written. Since a lot of the events in history regarding the treatment of women and especially of people who are not white and straight, were already known to me, I was not as surprised as some readers might be. Nevertheless, there were times I was saddened by the story. Overall, there is a hopeful message for thoughtful readers. Discussing it might lead to spoilers, howe
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is outstanding. Historical fiction at its best. A very pacy pageturner. This will transport you to WWI London.
Lucia is a Jamaican nurse with ambitions to sing Opera. What an eventful life she leads. Flawed and carrying alot of trauma, many of her choices are not prudent. But I really cared what happened her. The fierceness of her love, how she dealt with casual as well as very pointed racism and her big dreams are endearing. The men in her life are well-drawn too. All the characters are.
Susan Lanigan
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Because I gave this book all my heart and love.
esha | felix felicitated
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*Note: The author kindly sent me a digital version of her book in exchange for my honest review. A huge thanks to the author for letting me be a part of it.*

- Book in One Sentence
Lucia's War by Susan Lanigan is a tale of existence and survival during World War I - a time when countries all over the world were torn apart by war and violence.

- Introduction
Before I review this book, I have a confession - this is my first time reading historical fiction for leisure. Therefore, I do not have a yardst
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received a free copy of this book via BookSirens and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Lucia's War was an interesting and exciting historical tale of singing and motherhood. It was interesting, because I like opera very much, but did not know anything about the difficulties of colored opera singers in the past. The story was exciting, because it was highly emotional and for the most parts I didn't want to put it down. The ending was brilliant.

The first chapter was a really strong start in medias
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
The early part of the twentieth century was largely overshadowed by the catastrophic events of the First World War and for Jamaican Lucia Percival life is going to turn out very differently from what she expected. Being part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, Lucia works as a VAD during some of the worst conflicts of the war, memories of will which never leave her and which shape her destiny. During the early part of this troubled century living life as a black woman was difficult as racism was ne ...more
Shirley McAllister
For The Love of Music

This story is a bit different, but it's a good story. I really liked the story. The book rambled on a bit so I got lost a few times trying to figure out where we were in the time frame. If you read the book you must read the prologue because if you do not you will be lost.

The story is about Lucia a young Jamaican girl working in an army hospital. She left Jamaica and came to London to escape an arranged marriage. She fell in love with an Irish doctor at the hospital and the
Becky Durstenfeld
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
First, this would have been easier to read as a paper book rather than on Kindle. I do not care for the style of this book that jumps back and forth between different times. The dates at the beginning of the chapters were useless for me. I had trouble keeping track of what was happening until about halfway through the book. Some chapters were very long. This book has so many things going on as we learn about the life of a black opera singer. I am not a fan of opera, so all the musical references ...more
Whispering  Bookworm
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lucia's War is unlike any book I have ever read because unlike most book set during this era this novel is about a young Jamaican woman who has the most amazing operatic voice, but she faces discrimination simply because of the colour of her skin. But this novel is not just about a young woman's dream of becoming an opera singer, it is also about love, war, and loss. You will certainly need some tissues close at hand while you read this book because you are going to need them. I would also sugge ...more
Alison Starnes
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, war
From a dramatic beginning unfolds a story that encompasses race, sexuality, war, love, and music.

Lucia Percival is an opera singer about to perform her last concert, although we first encounter her much earlier in her life when she is pulled from the River Clyde in Glasgow. How she got there is only part of her story.

As a young black woman in London around the time of the First World War, Lucia meets budding composer Arthur Rosewell and they strike up a close friendship. She eventually achieves
May 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2021-reads
“You cannot let future jewels be stolen from you by past sadness.”

This phenomenal book deserves more than the meagre review I can provide.

Lucia Percival is a Jamaican exile with high hopes of making it in London’s musical scene in 1917. Being black, she faces unsurmountable obstacles and it’s her drive and determination that carry her through the hardship and heartache. Lucia is proud of her heritage and discrimination is just one thread of her story. She also faces the horrors of war, abandonm
Diane Secchiaroli
Jul 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Lucia’s War is a historical novel covering WW1 up to 1950. The story is basically about a young Jamaican women who escapes to London to pursue a career as an opera singer. During the war she works as a nurse in a field hospital and falls in love with a white doctor. This is her story of love, motherhood, racism, musical studies, perseverance and determination. There were references to the white feather which were not explained during the story but since I had read a previous novel regarding the ...more
Jean Curran
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is indeed a book to be savoured, with so many layers and nuances of emotion. The story, narrated by Lucia the protagonist, sweeps one through a whirlwind of settings and sensory experiences, from the devastation of war to the sublime B flat sung at a Christmas carol service which leads to a life of acclaim as an opera singer. We meet Lucia when she is hauled, sodden and bleeding from the stench and filth of Glasgow's dockside river water and travel through time and events with her to Parisi ...more
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a digital copy of this book through Book Sirens, and I am please to give it my honest review. Although the setting is London after the Second World War, it goes back and forth in time pretty flawlessly as Lucia tells her story to a music critic. A Jamaican woman who had emigrated earlier in the century, Lucia has become a renowned opera singer in spite of poverty, racial prejudice and her "secret", which is so common in fiction and in this case, something that could destroy her career ...more
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