Official Review: When It's Over by Barbara Ridley

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Post Reply
User avatar
micoleon13
Posts: 451
Joined: 20 May 2016, 20:33
Currently Reading: Hidden
Bookshelf Size: 88
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-micoleon13.html
Latest Review: Hell in the Heavens: The Saga of a WW2 Bomber Pilot by Morton E Tavel, MD

Official Review: When It's Over by Barbara Ridley

Post by micoleon13 » 04 Feb 2018, 16:52

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "When It's Over" by Barbara Ridley.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Barbara Ridley’s historical fiction novel, When It’s Over, is a beautifully written story centered around the political situation in England during World War II. Based on a true story, it’s shown through the eyes of Lena, a young Jewish woman from Czechoslovakia.

Lena meets Otto, a German escapee who is active in intelligence gathering, in a small café in Prague in 1938 where she comes to hear news of the fighting on the front line. Swept away by her belief in the left-wing activists and their fight against Hitler, she moves with Otto to Paris to continue his work.

As Hitler steadily works his way through Europe, Lena fears for her family, especially her mother and younger sister, still in Prague. Reuniting with Otto in England, Lena has to learn to make a life of her own in a foreign country. With propaganda on every side, no one is sure of the truth of what’s happening in Europe, and Lena’s worry grows. With her growing political awareness and her changing relationship with Otto, she comes to learn that nothing is certain in war-torn England. With all this uncertainty, will she ever be able to find her family again?

Set in Prague, Paris, and England, during the years 1938 to 1945, this book is different in many ways from other war-based stories which I have read. This looks at the various political beliefs of young people during this time, as they lose their trust in their leaders’ capabilities and war tactics. While this may make the story sound a bit dry, it is anything but.

Beautifully written in third person, the fact that this is based on true happenings makes the story even more poignant. Lena is a wonderfully written main character with an innocence and naivety about her, especially at the beginning, which is very realistic. Her development was great to read, as she started to grow in both her courage and her own views, determined to make something of her life. Otto comes across realistically as an avid believer in his own personal views, determined that everyone should think the same as him. I tended to not like him very much by the end, but could easily see how his behaviour was a reaction to his circumstances. The other characters were all three dimensional and believable, from Muriel, an English gentlewoman who was rebelling against her own society to do her bit to help escaping Europeans, to Eva, Lena’s friend, who was focused on herself and improving her own situation, no matter who it hurt.

An interesting perspective shown here was how the English public reacted to propaganda concerning “foreigners”. I found it heartbreaking that these people who had been through so much to get to the safety of England, were only then to face mass hysteria by people thinking that just because they had an accent it meant that they were a spy for Hitler.

With difficult subjects touched on in this book such as gas chambers, the Holocaust, death, and grief, the author never let it get too overwhelming. The writing was in a clear, easy to read style, and I found no editorial mistakes. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It’s a coming of age story about family, love, politics, grief, and hardship in a war-torn country. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an interest in World War II, as well as those who like stories based on true happenings. A brilliant novel which is obviously written from the heart.

******
When It's Over
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like micoleon13's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
Rashka_Jr
Posts: 2
Joined: 13 Feb 2018, 06:36
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 5

Post by Rashka_Jr » 13 Feb 2018, 08:16

Wow! This is a fantastic review covering almost everything in the novel!
There is no doubt that you have read the book completely!
Meanwhile I am new to the forum and would want to know more about book review! So may I know how many days does it take to go through a whole book.
thanks.

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 4973
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 50
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 186
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: The Humor and Wisdom of the Aged by Euclid Isbell

Post by kandscreeley » 13 Feb 2018, 08:35

I enjoy stories written about WWII that aren't from the usual perspective. There was so much going on at the time, but sometimes we only focus on one aspect. Sounds like this is a great story. Thanks for showing it to us!
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
drdcpmd
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Dec 2017, 14:45
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 4
Favorite Author: Diane Pomerantz
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 9
fav_author_id: 109369
Location: Maryland,USA

Post by drdcpmd » 13 Feb 2018, 11:48

Definitely want to read the book!

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Trial Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 902
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 89
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 180
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... >Emotional Intelligence</a>
Currently Reading: A World Without Color
Bookshelf Size: 343
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: The Buried Secrets of Peonies by Mernegar Dorgoly
Location: Sri Lanka

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 13 Feb 2018, 22:46

I'm loving it, certainly a book for me! I love memoirs and stories that are inspired by true stories. Certainly adding it to my book shelf. Thank you!
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book!

User avatar
GathuaM
Posts: 46
Joined: 19 Jun 2017, 04:29
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 20
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 27
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gathuam.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base

Post by GathuaM » 14 Feb 2018, 06:01

micoleon13 wrote: ↑
04 Feb 2018, 16:52
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "When It's Over" by Barbara Ridley.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Barbara Ridley’s historical fiction novel, When It’s Over, is a beautifully written story centered around the political situation in England during World War II. Based on a true story, it’s shown through the eyes of Lena, a young Jewish woman from Czechoslovakia.

Lena meets Otto, a German escapee who is active in intelligence gathering, in a small café in Prague in 1938 where she comes to hear news of the fighting on the front line. Swept away by her belief in the left-wing activists and their fight against Hitler, she moves with Otto to Paris to continue his work.

As Hitler steadily works his way through Europe, Lena fears for her family, especially her mother and younger sister, still in Prague. Reuniting with Otto in England, Lena has to learn to make a life of her own in a foreign country. With propaganda on every side, no one is sure of the truth of what’s happening in Europe, and Lena’s worry grows. With her growing political awareness and her changing relationship with Otto, she comes to learn that nothing is certain in war-torn England. With all this uncertainty, will she ever be able to find her family again?

Set in Prague, Paris, and England, during the years 1938 to 1945, this book is different in many ways from other war-based stories which I have read. This looks at the various political beliefs of young people during this time, as they lose their trust in their leaders’ capabilities and war tactics. While this may make the story sound a bit dry, it is anything but.

Beautifully written in third person, the fact that this is based on true happenings makes the story even more poignant. Lena is a wonderfully written main character with an innocence and naivety about her, especially at the beginning, which is very realistic. Her development was great to read, as she started to grow in both her courage and her own views, determined to make something of her life. Otto comes across realistically as an avid believer in his own personal views, determined that everyone should think the same as him. I tended to not like him very much by the end, but could easily see how his behaviour was a reaction to his circumstances. The other characters were all three dimensional and believable, from Muriel, an English gentlewoman who was rebelling against her own society to do her bit to help escaping Europeans, to Eva, Lena’s friend, who was focused on herself and improving her own situation, no matter who it hurt.

An interesting perspective shown here was how the English public reacted to propaganda concerning “foreigners”. I found it heartbreaking that these people who had been through so much to get to the safety of England, were only then to face mass hysteria by people thinking that just because they had an accent it meant that they were a spy for Hitler.

With difficult subjects touched on in this book such as gas chambers, the Holocaust, death, and grief, the author never let it get too overwhelming. The writing was in a clear, easy to read style, and I found no editorial mistakes. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It’s a coming of age story about family, love, politics, grief, and hardship in a war-torn country. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an interest in World War II, as well as those who like stories based on true happenings. A brilliant novel which is obviously written from the heart.

******
When It's Over
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like micoleon13's review? Post a comment saying so!
I enjoyed reading your review. It really made me want to get the book and read it. I love historical books. So will surely read this.

User avatar
RebeccasReading
Posts: 261
Joined: 18 Jan 2018, 10:47
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 22
Currently Reading: Lovely Chaos
Bookshelf Size: 21
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rebeccasreading.html
Latest Review: Lovely Chaos by Joe Montaperto
Location: Atlantic City, NJ

Post by RebeccasReading » 14 Feb 2018, 14:19

Thanks for the review! I love WW2 books. There are so many profound perspectives from that era. This book sounds like a must read!

User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 587
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 78
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: The Alaskan Incident by Joseph Walls
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by cristinaro » 15 Feb 2018, 05:42

I've written it down on my list of books to be checked. I am interested in war-related stories because I think people have a lot to learn from them so that they do not repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Thank you for a very good review!
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

User avatar
The BookWorm Nagham
Posts: 190
Joined: 25 Jan 2018, 14:27
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 104
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 84
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-the-bookworm-nagham.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base
Location: Lebanon

Post by The BookWorm Nagham » 17 Feb 2018, 05:47

It seems like an interesting book, I love historical subjects, especially if they're mixed with a good story. Thank you for the review, it really encouraged me to read the book.

User avatar
KFree_Reads
Posts: 297
Joined: 08 Jan 2018, 08:18
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 25
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 31
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kfree-reads.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post by KFree_Reads » 22 Feb 2018, 09:10

Wow! Sounds like a really great book. I will be adding this one to my shelves. Excellent review, it was quite thorough!

User avatar
prettysmart
Posts: 198
Joined: 03 Feb 2018, 15:12
2018 Reading Goal: 560
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 1
Currently Reading: Big Doc Bitteroot
Bookshelf Size: 19
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prettysmart.html
Latest Review: Serendipity Mystery by R.F. Kristi
Location: The Caribbean

Post by prettysmart » 02 Mar 2018, 15:56

I love stories with a dystopia-like setting and world wars...Your review makes it even more riveting and provocative!

User avatar
rik17
Posts: 92
Joined: 25 Jul 2017, 00:49
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rik17.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 2 by H.M. Irwing

Post by rik17 » 04 Mar 2018, 02:14

I liked the fact that your review analyses multiple dimensions of the work, studying the behavior of human beings as the basis for appraisal.

User avatar
Camille Turner
Posts: 312
Joined: 28 Feb 2018, 22:24
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 110
Currently Reading: Sophie's World
Bookshelf Size: 36
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-camille-turner.html
Latest Review: Silk Road by Kenneth Canatsey

Post by Camille Turner » 15 Mar 2018, 22:07

This sounds like a great book! I love that it takes place in different cities and looks at the reactions of the English towards immigrants (an often untold piece of history). Great review!

User avatar
ostercl
Posts: 49
Joined: 08 Feb 2018, 20:55
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 16
Currently Reading: Horse Soldiers
Bookshelf Size: 11
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ostercl.html
Latest Review: Final Notice by Van Fleisher

Post by ostercl » 12 Apr 2018, 08:51

World War ll is one of the most haunting events modern history.. I look forward to reading this one.

Thank you for the review!

Eileen R
Posts: 230
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 03:12
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Bookshelf Size: 25
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-eileen-r.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing
Location: Kenya

Post by Eileen R » 12 Apr 2018, 10:52

Sounds like such an interesting book. Thanks for the review

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”