There was a pause, and Evelyn sensed those around her leaning forward in anticipation.
1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risque and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.
At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too does the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night …
1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?
Thank you @harlequinaus and Kerri Turner for sending me a proof copy of The Daughter of Victory Lights in exchange for my honest review.
The Daughter of Victory Lights is a unique view of post war experience from very different perspectives. Flynn, who has witnessed the horrors of war, having to retrieve and identify bodies, must live his life with these horrific images. Evelyn feels disconnected from her life in London upon her return from volunteering in the women’s searchlight regiment.
Flynn and Evelyn’s lives intertwine on the Victory, a boat that offers spectacular evening performances that challenge societal expectations, offering a more risque show. I felt like I was amongst the crowd, watching the performance, as the fire breathing man, contortionist and dancers created a show that lit up the night sky, with the help of Evelyn’s lighting. Kerri Turner’s experience of dance is evident in her writing. To make a reader understand a performance in a way that feels that they are there, emphasises her passion for dance and ability to share this passion with her readers. The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers gave me further understanding of ballet. The Daughter of Victory Lights gave me further understanding of dance performances that challenged society’s idea of what dance should be.
I love historical fiction and I am now a huge fan of Kerri Turner. Her novels do not bore the reader with historical facts, they actually immerse the reader in the world. What a way to experence history; through the eyes of a character in a novel.
The second part of this novel has such a different atmosphere and I was pleasantly surprised by the storyline. This is not a typical historical romance, it is much more. Lucy, a bright young girl, will be the motivating factor behind Flynn’s decision to make a path through his regrets and pain, in order to experience what life has to offer. Flynn’s pain is strong; ‘a phantom pain, something he knew wasn’t real but made him gasp all the same.’ Kerri Turner’s words are painfully true and yet, a perfect description. This phantom pain is symbolic of feelings of grief and regret that are reflected in his appearance. I particularly enjoyed the development of characters and by the end of the novel felt such love for Lucy’s family.
Kerri Turner has beautiful prose and this is the main reason I love this novel (not to mention her intriguing storylines) and am excited to read her future novels. The Daughter of Victory Lights is unique and breathtakingly beautiful.