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» » Fallen Skies

Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory

Fallen Skies
Fallen Skies
Philippa Gregory
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1170 kb
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HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (May 12, 1994)
608 pages
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Literature & Fiction

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Lily wants to forget the war and enjoy the world of the 1920s. When she meets Captain Winters, a hero back from the Front, she's drawn to his wealth and status. In Lily he sees his salvation - from the past, from the nightmares, from the guilt at surviving. But it's a dream that cannot last.
  • Mariwyn
I confess, the beginning of this novel was a bit of a slog. The main characters were not particularly likeable and seemed quite shallow. Then, the pace picked up. One of the main characters became more likeable, while the other began showing by his true colors, becoming a tad more interesting in the process. The story takes in 1920s England, with World War I still fresh in everyone's mind. Those who survived are trying to forget it and forge on with their lives.

Lily Valance is in her late teens and just starting a music hall career as a singer, when she meets Captain Stephen Winters, a hero of that war. He is a wealthy gentleman with standing in the community, while she is a shopkeeper's daughter. She is initially drawn to him, as he takes her to lovely places. He is drawn to her by her innocence and complete disinterest in the war. He feels that she can make him whole again. Stephen, you see, is troubled and has war related issues. He may not be the hero everyone thinks.

When her mother dies, Lily is bereft. Under the circumstances, she accepts Stephen's proposal of marriage in a weak moment, only to ultimately find that things are not as they seem. Still, she tries to make the most of it, and when she has her baby, she loves that baby more than she thought possible. Stephen, on the other hand does not feel quite the same. Therein lies the rub.

The last half of this book is much better than the first half. In fact, some of it is quite gripping. I could not stop turning the pages. Though the astute reader might surmise where it is all going, it is the journey there that counts. Fans of the author should find it enjoyable, despite some of its shortcomings. I know I did.
  • Mamuro
Great read. I have read most of Philippa Gregory's English period pieces and love the way she thinks and attends to small se tail. I thought I would try something else here. It reads as a wonderful who dunnit mystery after a long period of following the characters and the difficulties they face. The drama comes suddenly toward the end. It was unexpected and with a somewhat narrow cast of characters to choose from, I thought I knew who the culprit was. Of course I was dead wrong. But her writing style brings everything to life. The end us fast paced and riveting. I loved the end. Philippa seems to handle any genre. Good writing does that.

  • Bedy
I always enjoy Philippa Gregory's novels. I am astonished by the amount of historical detail that she includes in every one of her books. This tale was much more recent history, and of interest to me. We Americans were taught very little about WWI, so much about the battles and death toll is a surprise to us. I found this tale to be very sad and somewhat depressing as Stephen unravels over the course of his marriage. There is some graphic violence, but it is part of his history and dreams, not an in your face kind of thing.I feel that the sexual content was not excessive, not graphic, and appropriate to the story.
  • Goldenfang
This was fascinating. A great story of imperfect "love" but most of all, the reality of the damage that war does to those who fight. I've read lots of non-fiction about war - Unbroken and Ghost Soldiers being two of my favorites. But Fallen Skies was different. It dealt with the subtler issues of the damage and its long lasting effects..
  • Abywis
I looked up Philippa Gregory because she had written the foreword to the re-issued version of Katherine, by Anya Seton. I ordered Fallen Skies because the era in which it is set is of particular interest to me. I was extremely disappointed.

While the story itself is not poorly rendered, the characters leave a great deal to be desired. The heroine is shallow, self-centered and unsympathetic. The character the reader initially believes to be the hero is physically and emotionally abusive, mentally unstable and as needy as the heroine. Nor is the hero-by-default someone whom the heroine can ever have a happy relationship. There seems no real goal or point to the story, other than the depiction of a relationship without which all parties would have been better off -- including the reader.

I continued reading simply because I kept hoping the unredeemable characters would somehow be redeemed, or at least become somewhat likeable. This never occurred, and the ending was unsatisfying and inconclusive. Fortunately, I read quickly, and I had bought the book, so I finished it, although I was sorely tempted to skip the last quarter of the book and just read the end.

Given Gregory's comments about historical fiction versus historical romance in the foreword of Katherine and the disdain in which she appears to hold the latter category of fiction, I expected Fallen Skies would be straight historical fiction without any romance conventions. Even with those expectations, Fallen Skies simply did not fulfil the hopes I had for it.

Read this only as an antidote for a Pollyanna case of good humor and optimism.
  • Pad
Philippa Gregory is one of my favorite authors and she hit it out of the park again with Fallen Skies. It was such a compelling story -- a complete page-turner -- that gave a poignant view of the aftermath of war. The damage it does on the inside can be more significant that what you can see in pictures or on gravestones. The triumph of the human spirit, good over evil, and classic enduring love are all included.
  • Cildorais
I love being able to buy this author's book at such an inexpensive price.
Not as good as the Tudor period books