The Way to London
by Alix Rickloff
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 19, 2017)
From the author of Secrets of Nanreath Hall comes this gripping, beautifully written historical fiction novel set during World War II—the unforgettable story of a young woman who must leave Singapore and forge a new life in England.
On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever.
Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.
Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.
Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for.
She shared a tiny cabin with an older widowed woman of a melancholy disposition and a penchant for weeping unexpectedly who, when awake, spent her time recounting stories of her dearly departed husband, Edgar, and when asleep, rattled the paint from the walls with her seismic snores.
I’d scratch your eyes out if I didn’t think it would be a marked improvement.
Mam says a true gentleman treats ladies with respect. Course she likewise says true gentlemen are rare as hen’s teeth, but she has hope.
I know you think I’m an opportunist at best and a tart at worst and I wish it weren’t that way. But when you only have yourself to count on, you learn to count yourself first.
I seldom read historical fiction but found myself captivated by this richly detailed and lushly appointed narrative. I was quickly drawn in and intrigued by the plot and enigmatic characters. Although I was initially unsure if I was going to be able to enjoy the character of Lucy. Silly me, of course I did!
Lucy’s tale began as the pampered yet ignored, idle rich, adult daughter of an often-married socialite, as she was living the easy party-girl life in Singapore a few days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. Lucy was not immediately likable as she was brimming with snobbishness and snark, and popped off scathing replies with little or no provocation. She was a take-no-prisoners and self-centered diva and tended to be vicious and venomous when lashing out. My initial impression of Lucy was that of a vapid narcissist as she found talk of the war tiresome and tedious and didn’t want to be bothered. When her dalliance with a local became an embarrassment to her wealthy stepfather, Lucy was packed off to England on a cruise ship that was unfortunately torpedoed, which was only the first mishap of Lucy’s traveling travails.
London was not the original destination of her arduous journey when she departed Singapore, but after an uncomfortable stay with her aunt in the country, London became a tunnel vision life-or-death destination. Lucy picked up a fellow run-away and misfit in a mischievous twelve-year-old street urchin name Bill, who provided endless comic relief with his colorful vocabulary and unique turn of phrase, as well as his penchant for finding trouble. Lucy and the ragamuffin Bill bonded during their escape from the English countryside for London and spent long dusty days en route and uncomfortable nights spent hiding in a rat-infested shed and cramped bomb shelters. Their trek took a circuitous route with many delays, distractions, and life-altering adventures and profound epiphanies along the way. I was provided a review copy of this captivating book by HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.
About Alix Rickloff
Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance. Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series, the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy, and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series.