At the height of the London Blitz, Viola Craft, a sexually repressed young woman is trapped in a loveless marriage to her God fearing husband Vernon. She spends her days working in her mother’s dress shop while Vernon pulls the dead from the rubble with his rescue crew.
Their marriage is turbulent and Viola feels pressured to bear a child. After failed attempts, Vernon believes she’s barren and alienates himself from their marriage.
One night during an air raid, she meets alluring German born Kristoff Richter. They make an in-stant connection. He’s young, good looking and emphatic. They embark on an illicit affair that leads to tragic consequences.
About the Author:
Born in Sydney, Australia Kellie Wallace developed a love for the written word early in life, recalling her earliest memory when she was three years old. She has been writing ever since. After finishing high school, Kellie moved to the sunny Northern Beaches from the Central Coast and carved a successful career in the media/advertising industry writing for numerous Sydney based publications. An aspiring novelist, Kellie fulfilled a dream in 2008 having her first book All She Ever Wanted published by Zeus Publications at the age of 22 years old. In her spare time she loves to write, game and draw.
Connect with Kellie:
3.5 out of 5 stars
Historical Romance is not typically one of my favorite genres to read. I think one of the main reasons being that most of the time periods they are set in were times that weren’t exactly the best for women. Not a lot of freedoms. It’s hard for me to envision a time when the men dictated everything and your sole purpose as a woman was to marry well, produce heirs, and keep house. And that’s just really naming one of my larger issues with it, there are more….so like I said, not my favorite genre, but there are a few that I have read that stick out and have been quite enjoyable, and I can now add Her Sweetest Downfall to that list.
I actually really lost myself in this time period, I’m no history buff, but I have a fair share of knowledge about World War 2, I blame my guy and his making me watch Band of Brothers (which was AMAZING and gut wrenching and so devastating). So the setting was really well done here, and it was interesting to see how what was happening around the characters played a part in the what drove them. It was a different side to that war that I hadn’t really experienced before, not being in the middle of the battle, but being terrified in your own hometown. Losing friends, neighbors, your livelihood, home, etc. It was just as horrible to watch from this side. It also set the tone for the relationships too. When nothing is certain, not even your future, do you take more chances at living your life to the fullest regardless of the consequences, do consider what it might mean to start a family in these trying times, do you stay in a loveless marriage because it’s the “right thing to do”? I felt every choice Viola had in front of her, I considered what I would do along with her.
“You must never blame yourself, Viola. The longer this war goes on, the weaker we become. We do things we shouldn’t, love people we shouldn’t. You act foolishly to keep them close, only for a second, all the while war rages on, and people around you lose loved ones. In the end, you have to stop and think if it’s worth the risk.”
While I really enjoyed this story, I did struggle with the characters at times. I didn’t always understand the choices Viola made, or that of those around her either. I don’t know if this was mostly due to the societal beliefs at this time, or they were just things I couldn’t grasp because of my own outlook on the situation. A few of the characters ultimately felt a little flat to me as well, Vernon was so single minded in his pursuit of a child that I never really noticed much more than that about him, with the exception of the cruelty and lengths he would go to in his pursuit. Kristoff was another one that I never really connected with, he really just seemed to represent Viola’s chance at happiness. Oddly enough I felt more from a few of the side characters, Beatrice the mistress especially. I found her relationship with Vernon, and eventually Viola so compelling! I was fascinated with her and her thought process about the situation she found herself in, right up to the very end.
I was quite surprised with many of the events that took place throughout the story, especially in the last half. I was not expecting things to work out the way they did. I think it ended on a bittersweet note, and which really stuck with the tone of the entire book. By the end I had this thought about the relationships in this story, how they started, what they endured, and ultimately how they ended. I kind of felt like they were possibly a metaphor for war itself, something that can happen suddenly, turn your world upside down, and end abruptly leaving you to collect the ashes and rebuild from the destruction in new, and unexpected ways. And that, I thought, was masterfully done.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Now for the GIVEAWAY!
Kellie Wallace is generously giving away a (mobi file) copy of Her Sweetest Downfall to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment below to be entered to win, easy peasy! This giveaway will be open until Friday Oct. 9th, and we will announce the winner the following day, Saturday Oct. 10th. And as always…