Official Review: War Serenade by Jillwallace

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.
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anneloretrujillo
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Official Review: War Serenade by Jillwallace

Post by anneloretrujillo » 06 Aug 2018, 14:36

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "War Serenade" by Jillwallace.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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War Serenade by Jill Wallace is a love story set in South Africa during World War II. Iris is a young British woman living in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. While there isn’t direct fighting in the British colony, they are still seeing the effects of the war. Her brother joined the war as a pilot and is fighting in Europe. There is a Prisoner of War (POW) camp set up just outside of her town in which Italian soldiers who were captured are being held. She’s even made her own efforts to help out with the war by volunteering in the hospital.

Pietro is an Italian POW housed in the camp in Pietermaritzburg. His plane was shot down, and he barely survived. He was rescued at the price of being a prisoner. He’s lost all hope and sees no joy in life. That all changes when he gets a glimpse of Iris through the fence. When their eyes meet, there is an instant connection that is unlike anything either of them has ever felt before. How does love work when the two people are on opposite sides of the war? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I am a huge fan of World War II stories. It’s one of the few time periods in historical fiction that I enjoy. This book offered a very unique perspective on the war. I always think about Europe, Russia, The United States, and Japan when I think about World War II. It never even crossed my mind that the war would have affected South Africa due to their colonization by the British. When I think about the different camps that held prisoners during the war, I think of the German concentration camps in Europe and the internment camps for the Japanese Americans in the U.S. I honestly wouldn’t have thought of POW camps housing Italian soldiers in South Africa. I love how much this book opened my mind up to all of the different aspects of the war.

I also really enjoyed the love story told throughout this book. Forbidden love is one of those topics that can be used over and over, and I still find myself immersed every time. This book was no exception. The love story between Iris and Pietro really pulled me in. I loved that the book switched perspectives between the two characters, so I really got to see it from both sides.

While I really enjoyed the story itself, there were a couple of negative aspects of the book. The first was that it took a long time to pick up. The background given was often extensive and could easily have been condensed. I found myself wanting to stop reading several times in the first quarter of the book because it got to be tiring to read. There were also a couple of erotic scenes that really dragged on. They didn’t add to the story and could easily have been omitted.

Another issue I had with the book was the lack of editing. There were several distracting errors throughout the book that I just couldn’t overlook. For example, the name “Gregg” was also spelled “Greg”, and the punctuation was inconsistent. I would definitely suggest another round of editing for this book.

Keeping those pros and cons in mind, I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. It started off slow, but I really got into it by the end. If it didn’t drag in the beginning and the errors were fixed, I would probably consider giving it a perfect score. As written, I had to take away one star. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves romance and who is interested in different perspectives of World War II.

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[Editor Note: Since the time of the review, the book has been edited to correct the errors noted by the reviewer.]
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War Serenade
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Emi_Review
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Post by Emi_Review » 21 Aug 2018, 04:00

I love history and it's nice to see an area of war history you don't get to see written about so often in other books. Although I don't particularly like slow beginnings as I love to be able to be pulled into a book and not be able to put it down from start to finish, the topic is intriguing enough to make me want to read it. Thank you for the review!

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Post by AmySmiles » 21 Aug 2018, 06:31

I'm not much for historical fiction, but don't we all love a forbidden love story? Very nice review, thank you.
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Post by AliceofX » 21 Aug 2018, 07:02

anneloretrujillo wrote:
06 Aug 2018, 14:36
While I really enjoyed the story itself, there were a couple of negative aspects of the book. The first was that it took a long time to pick up. The background given was often extensive and could easily have been condensed. I found myself wanting to stop reading several times in the first quarter of the book because it got to be tiring to read.
That to me is one of the worst sins a book can have. I mean, it's the beginning. You're supposed to hook the reader so that he'll continue reading. If a book has a slow start that makes want to quit reading it. Why would I not assume the rest of the book won't be a drag?

Anyway, you wrote a nice review. It seems like it's a really interesting story once you get past the slow beginning.

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Post by kandscreeley » 21 Aug 2018, 08:53

Sometimes it's so hard just to hang on past the background of the book. It takes so long for the story to actually get started that many lose their interest and stop reading. I'm afraid I would be one of those. But, if you can get past that, it sounds like a great story.
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Post by kfwilson6 » 21 Aug 2018, 10:05

I love the cover of this book, but I'm really not a fan of WWII historical fiction. I did enjoy your review though and agree that forbidden love never gets old <3

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Post by Kajori50 » 21 Aug 2018, 11:22

'War Serenade' seems to be an interesting book giving a different perspective of World War II. I have always been fascinated by the World Wars and romance novels are my go to. This book seems right up my alley.
Thank you for the great review.

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Post by teacherjh » 21 Aug 2018, 11:36

I'm not a big romance fan, but the idea of seeing the war from a new perspective is interesting.

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Post by prhyme » 22 Aug 2018, 11:23

There is a balm of hope whenever love is involved.I am not too sure about this one. Great review,all tge same.
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Post by sarbearah » 06 Sep 2018, 19:23

I love historical fiction and romance, so this sounds right up my alley! I have never thought of South Africa during WWII, like you mentioned, but it sounds like a very interesting background for a story. I'll make sure to keep in mind the warning about the slow beginning when I read. Thanks for the review!
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Post by topdan30 » 07 Sep 2018, 07:41

I love to have a different perspective of world war 11. Thanks for the review

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Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 26 Sep 2018, 08:46

I love an unconventional perspective on WWII, especially if a romance is engrained within the context. I am glad the book underwent a round of polishing to render it editorially clean. Thanks for the insightful review.

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Post by Cardinalsparrow » 26 Sep 2018, 08:58

This seems like a really interesting book, I'm always intrigued by historical fictions that have romance in them, though most are derivative. I think this one is a bit unique. Thanks for a thorough review.
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Post by Nerea » 26 Sep 2018, 09:04

I fancy reading Historical fiction narrative. I will give the book a try though am not a fan of romantic stories. Thank you for your kind review.
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Post by muchemost » 26 Sep 2018, 09:05

the beginning of this story is not that interesting but as you read ahead actions of love come in and make the story more enticing. I just love how it ends.

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