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All the Lights Above Us

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Across Europe, on what history will call D-Day, five unforgettable women from all walks of life strive to survive the most terrifying night of their lives. Told in alternating viewpoints, this unforgettable debut is perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff. June 6, 1944. Allied forces hit the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Among the countless lives shattered are thos Across Europe, on what history will call D-Day, five unforgettable women from all walks of life strive to survive the most terrifying night of their lives. Told in alternating viewpoints, this unforgettable debut is perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff. June 6, 1944. Allied forces hit the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Among the countless lives shattered are those of five spirited women with starkly different lives. As the war reaches its tipping point, each of the women fight for the survival of themselves, their countries, and their way of life during one of the most pivotal days in history. American expatriate Mildred, better known as Axis Sally, has a thriving career as a Nazi radio propagandist, but her conscience haunts her. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, young medical volunteer Theda is pushed to her limit as shiploads of casualties dock in Portsmouth. Closer to the front, intrepid Flora aids the French resistance, while she seeks out her vanished parents. Iron-willed Emilia has climbed the Gestapo ranks, but she is now bent on betraying them. Finally, dignified Adelaide’s faith is shaken when she is forced to quarter German soldiers. Now, during the most perilous twenty-four hours of their lives, all five women must summon courage they never knew they had, as they confront the physical dangers of war, alongside treacherous family secrets, heartbreak, and the ability to trust themselves. For these women, their inner strength is their only hope. But is it enough? How far can one person go for the things they believe in?


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Across Europe, on what history will call D-Day, five unforgettable women from all walks of life strive to survive the most terrifying night of their lives. Told in alternating viewpoints, this unforgettable debut is perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff. June 6, 1944. Allied forces hit the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Among the countless lives shattered are thos Across Europe, on what history will call D-Day, five unforgettable women from all walks of life strive to survive the most terrifying night of their lives. Told in alternating viewpoints, this unforgettable debut is perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff. June 6, 1944. Allied forces hit the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. Among the countless lives shattered are those of five spirited women with starkly different lives. As the war reaches its tipping point, each of the women fight for the survival of themselves, their countries, and their way of life during one of the most pivotal days in history. American expatriate Mildred, better known as Axis Sally, has a thriving career as a Nazi radio propagandist, but her conscience haunts her. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, young medical volunteer Theda is pushed to her limit as shiploads of casualties dock in Portsmouth. Closer to the front, intrepid Flora aids the French resistance, while she seeks out her vanished parents. Iron-willed Emilia has climbed the Gestapo ranks, but she is now bent on betraying them. Finally, dignified Adelaide’s faith is shaken when she is forced to quarter German soldiers. Now, during the most perilous twenty-four hours of their lives, all five women must summon courage they never knew they had, as they confront the physical dangers of war, alongside treacherous family secrets, heartbreak, and the ability to trust themselves. For these women, their inner strength is their only hope. But is it enough? How far can one person go for the things they believe in?

30 review for All the Lights Above Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    So many times when we think about D-Day, we are imagining the storming of the beaches. But it was so much more than that. There was an American in Berlin who had become "Axis Sally" and was trying to pretend a trial for treason was not imminent. In the coastal towns of France, there was immense destruction and turmoil. As Germans were rooted out, many of the French were collateral damage. The wounded needed treatment and the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was in the thick of it. Then the So many times when we think about D-Day, we are imagining the storming of the beaches. But it was so much more than that. There was an American in Berlin who had become "Axis Sally" and was trying to pretend a trial for treason was not imminent. In the coastal towns of France, there was immense destruction and turmoil. As Germans were rooted out, many of the French were collateral damage. The wounded needed treatment and the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth was in the thick of it. Then there were the French citizens who had been trying to live their lives while occupied by the Nazis. How do they weather D-Day? Some families were reunited, while others were irretrievably broken. In this upcoming release, M.B. Henry gives us a view of this day through the eyes of five women: Mildred, Theda, Flora, Adelaide, and Emilia. They are not all on the same side and most do not know the others who help tell the story. Yet, all of their lives were deeply affected by the events of D-Day. This is their story. Thank you To Alcove Press and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    All the Lights Above Us is a story about the D-Day landing on the 6th of June 1944, written from five women’s points of view and it’s about what happens to them over a twenty four hour time frame. Mildred Gillars is American living in Berlin and she works as a Nazi radio propagandist. She reads inflated stories and false news to promote Germany are winning the war, she’s known as Axis Sally and considered a traitor by the allies. Theda Brown lives in Portsmouth and she’s a VAD at the Queen Alexa All the Lights Above Us is a story about the D-Day landing on the 6th of June 1944, written from five women’s points of view and it’s about what happens to them over a twenty four hour time frame. Mildred Gillars is American living in Berlin and she works as a Nazi radio propagandist. She reads inflated stories and false news to promote Germany are winning the war, she’s known as Axis Sally and considered a traitor by the allies. Theda Brown lives in Portsmouth and she’s a VAD at the Queen Alexandra Hospital. She’s worried about her brother William, the waiting is getting to her and will she be able to cope once the casualties start to arrive. Flora Babineaux lives in Caen, since her parents were arrested two years ago she’s been drinking too much and has a minor role in the French resistance. Emilia Wagner parents wanted her to take part in the Lebensborn program, she refused, and she works as a secretary for Harald Heyns in Caen, a high ranking and nasty Gestapo agent. Emilia witnessed everything he’s done and she needs to leave Caen before the allies arrive. Adelaide Paquet is a loyal French woman and she been boarding German soldiers in her house. She’s desperately worried about her daughter Georgette and granddaughter Francine, she leaves on a cross country trek through war torn France and she's heading straight for Utah Beach. All five women come from different backgrounds, countries and support different sides in the war. What they all have in common is their involvement on the day that’s going to change their lives, the course of the war and history. M. B. Henry wants us to understand the scope of D-Day, the miraculous planning, where the invasion took place, how people were affected by it, the sacrifices that were made and the bravery of everyone who was involved and especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Alcove Press in exchange for on honest review, a debut novel that uses real facts and the authors imagination to give us an interesting insight through five characters experiences on D-Day and four stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KarrenReadsH...

  3. 5 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    Operation Overlord and the ripple effects of what happened on June 6, 1944 were felt around the world and continue into the modern era. MB Henry explores this monumental invasion and its monumental legacy through the lives of 5 women; Flora, Adelaide and Emilia in Caen, France, Mildred in Berlin, Germany as well as Theda in Portsmouth, England. Henry writes to help us understand the vast scope of D-Day and put a face on those it affected, hoping that readers will use this knowledge to have more Operation Overlord and the ripple effects of what happened on June 6, 1944 were felt around the world and continue into the modern era. MB Henry explores this monumental invasion and its monumental legacy through the lives of 5 women; Flora, Adelaide and Emilia in Caen, France, Mildred in Berlin, Germany as well as Theda in Portsmouth, England. Henry writes to help us understand the vast scope of D-Day and put a face on those it affected, hoping that readers will use this knowledge to have more control of their future. She warns us not to become complacent, thinking it won’t happen to us, and encourages us to enlighten ourselves so that we can become better prepared, making prevention a possibility in our future. These women come from different countries, different backgrounds, and contribute differently to the war; however, they are united in their collective experience of the most terrifying night of their lives. The different perspectives add to the success of this book and its purpose. Each women’s experience is highlighted in short, taut and informative chapters. I especially enjoyed how the author retold the events but allowed readers to fill in the blanks and come to their own conclusions. These women are flawed and human and are trying to make sense of their circumstances and situations. How they handle it is a result of their mindset influenced by their culture, their country and their social status. What readers will conclude is that while none of them had any control over what happened that day, they had a say in how it affected them. I love the metaphor of the title and postulate that this is one of the best historical fiction accounts surrounding D-Day. I was gifted this advance copy by M.B. Henry, Alcove Press and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    This was a beautiful,historical story set during in the invasion of the latter half of the Second World War. It was set in three different cities with a few characters. I really enjoyed this story and I found the descriptions really spot on. A really interesting story to read. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Donna Alward

    This was a really interesting book - the timeline was short, focused on the hours just before and during D-Day, with five separate points of view. In the author's note, Henry speaks of empathy and notes that "Putting a human face on the trials of long ago can help us better connect with that happened. It can also help us understand that all of us are human, and none of us should presume that it can't happen to us." All of the characters in this novel are flawed, and I love that. Two of them are o This was a really interesting book - the timeline was short, focused on the hours just before and during D-Day, with five separate points of view. In the author's note, Henry speaks of empathy and notes that "Putting a human face on the trials of long ago can help us better connect with that happened. It can also help us understand that all of us are human, and none of us should presume that it can't happen to us." All of the characters in this novel are flawed, and I love that. Two of them are on the German side. I think what I found most intriguing is that I felt that the author was less concerned with showing us the characters as she saw them, perhaps, and more about making us think about the characters and come to our own conclusions. Emilia, for example, works for the Nazi Harald Heyns. We can understand why she's now in this position, and we can be glad she's having doubts, but the question remains...is her change of heart enough, considering what she's seen and done? What about Axis Sally? Do we feel sorry for her in the end? Adelaide's arc was so intriguing to me...her need to mother led her to have genuine affection for the German soldiers billeted with her, but she is truly French at heart, and her relationship with her daughter is complicated and so real. Flora is part of the Resistance but far from perfect - her anger and rashness get her in trouble. Theda was my favorite - I loved how she rose to the occasion and stepped into her own life. In an absorbing read, Henry shows us that while there is a right and wrong side of history, each side is made up of people who are intensely real and flawed, and that war shines a light on the humanity of those caught in its grasp.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Long

    And while the truths of history are always up for debate, empathy is one of my best tools for examining them. Putting a human face on the trials of long ago can help us better connect with what happened. —M.B. Henry D-Day…it had an affect on not just the brave soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy. It affected a young woman in the resistance, a mother worried about her grown child in the midst of the chaos, an English nurse tending to the wounded, a famous radio broadcaster who was known to And while the truths of history are always up for debate, empathy is one of my best tools for examining them. Putting a human face on the trials of long ago can help us better connect with what happened. —M.B. Henry D-Day…it had an affect on not just the brave soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy. It affected a young woman in the resistance, a mother worried about her grown child in the midst of the chaos, an English nurse tending to the wounded, a famous radio broadcaster who was known to spew propaganda and a Reich secretary made to take notes as her boss tortured people. MB Henry brilliantly brings to life different prospectives of the beginning of the end of WWII. While most of the characters are fictional, they all represent very real people and this story takes you along as they navigate their way through the scariest night of their life. It’s life changing and they all learn something about themselves that they didn’t know before. I LOVED this story and as I read the authors notes…the quote from the author herself that I shared above is why. When an author uses empathy to put a face to a name or a place, history comes alive in ways you wouldn’t believe! This is D-Day through the eyes of women and the various roles they played during WWII. Thank you NetGalley, Alcove Press and MB Henry for early access to this gem of a book. It will stay with me for a long time!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Molly K

    A 3 star read. I’m disappointed as the synopsis of this book - a historical fiction following the lives of five women, from all over the globe, in WW2 - was one that really intrigued me, but the end it’s delivery fell below my expectations. The writing of the war itself was thorough and evidently well researched - two must-have’s for any historical book. However, my biggest irk with this read came down to the formatting. I have read multiple, multiple POV books and usually this is a style which wo A 3 star read. I’m disappointed as the synopsis of this book - a historical fiction following the lives of five women, from all over the globe, in WW2 - was one that really intrigued me, but the end it’s delivery fell below my expectations. The writing of the war itself was thorough and evidently well researched - two must-have’s for any historical book. However, my biggest irk with this read came down to the formatting. I have read multiple, multiple POV books and usually this is a style which works. However, for whatever reason, it led to a real feeling of disconnect in this work - the widely separated storylines meant that I struggled to recall what exactly what was occurring in a particular characters story. By extension, it made this book drag a considerable amount because of the distance between individual characters chapters - it made it almost impossible to become attached to a character or their story. Thank you to Netgalley and Alcove Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for this honest review :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    The Invasion This is the story of the D-day invasion June 6, 1944. It is a story of four women during this time in history and the different ways in which they were affected by the invasion. How they fought for their survival, and their way of life in a country torn by war. Mildred is an expatriate American working at a radio station as Axis Sally spreading propaganda for the German's. She begins to have a guilty conscious for what she is doing. She knows that it is wrong and that she will be trie The Invasion This is the story of the D-day invasion June 6, 1944. It is a story of four women during this time in history and the different ways in which they were affected by the invasion. How they fought for their survival, and their way of life in a country torn by war. Mildred is an expatriate American working at a radio station as Axis Sally spreading propaganda for the German's. She begins to have a guilty conscious for what she is doing. She knows that it is wrong and that she will be tried for treason by America when she is caught. Theda is a VAD volunteer at the hospital working with the nurses and the doctors to help care for all the wounded soldiers returning to England for medical treatment. She is conflicted between wanting to be her own person and her mother's wishes for her to be a wife and mother. Flora is in France working with the French resistance. She lives with her boyfriend who also works with the French resistance. The resistance is called The French Maquisards. She wishes to do more but as a woman is only given simple jobs. Then she learns the real reason why as she sits by a fellow resistance worker and a childhood friend at the hospital. Emilia is working for the German Nazi's in France as a typist and a secretary to a Nazi officer. She took the job to keep from being sent to the Lebensborn program. She hates her work and only took it for that reason. She hates what the Nazi's are doing and the cruel acts they perform. She wishes to escape but is trapped. Adelaide is an older lady living in France. She has been forced to take in German Soldiers to board in her home. She has issues with her daughter, but when the invasion happens she takes on an impossible task to find and be with her daughter and granddaughter, first with the help of a German soldier and then with the help of an American soldier. These are the women the book is written about. Each of them live different lives and are affected differently by the D-day invasion. Even though they all live different lives, they are all affected by the war and it's horrors. It forces them to look inside to their true feelings. This was a pretty good book, it did go from one person to the next and was somewhat hard to follow because of that. I did enjoy the stories, but it was a lot of different switches with so many different stories to follow. It was almost like reading a book of short stories but they were mixed in together so you read a little of each story then a little of the next story. Thanks to M.B. Henry for writing the story, to Alcove Press for Publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available for me to read and review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karla Jay

    All the Lights Above Us follows five women during 1944, in and around the events of D-Day. I was intrigued because I hadn’t read any women’s perspectives surrounding the time when the Allies stormed the shores and took back the northern territory in France. Mildred was interesting and I liked her chapters, in particular her justifications for helping spread Nazi propaganda over the German airwaves. Might we all deceive ourselves in times of war that we are just doing our job? Flora’s parents wer All the Lights Above Us follows five women during 1944, in and around the events of D-Day. I was intrigued because I hadn’t read any women’s perspectives surrounding the time when the Allies stormed the shores and took back the northern territory in France. Mildred was interesting and I liked her chapters, in particular her justifications for helping spread Nazi propaganda over the German airwaves. Might we all deceive ourselves in times of war that we are just doing our job? Flora’s parents were arrested for their involvement in the resistance and taken to a prison camp, yet she doesn’t falter and at her own peril, continues to work for them. Her story was very exciting, and I found it easy to follow. Theda is working in the hospital when the battle for the beaches of Normandy breaks out. She won’t give up on the hundreds of men left behind when they are discarded as the Germans move in. Adelaide is an older woman who’s one desire is to find out if her daughter and granddaughter are safe. She walks through the middle of the war, against all odds and warnings to return to the family home. She’s a fighter and I respected her determination. Emilia worked as a typist at the Gestapo Intelligence Office in Caen, France. She is made to be available during prisoner interrogations (many involving torture.) Quite honestly, she was one too many characters for me to care deeply about. I guess I have a limit when chapters offer alternating stories, a five was sometimes too much. I appreciated the meticulous research and the details of the day. I always love author notes and this one does not disappoint. M.B. Henry explains which characters and events were true and which one she fictionalized. A woven story well-done. Thank you NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    The story's premise was pretty good, how D-day affected five different women. They were an ex-pat working in Nazi propaganda, a young woman working with the VADs, a young woman with a minor role in the resistance; a German woman who takes a job as a typist in order to escape the Lebensborn and an older French woman who billeted Germans in her home. The book wasn't that long so none of the stories had time to really develop or to get to know the characters. They were in France, Germany and Englan The story's premise was pretty good, how D-day affected five different women. They were an ex-pat working in Nazi propaganda, a young woman working with the VADs, a young woman with a minor role in the resistance; a German woman who takes a job as a typist in order to escape the Lebensborn and an older French woman who billeted Germans in her home. The book wasn't that long so none of the stories had time to really develop or to get to know the characters. They were in France, Germany and England, two French women, one English, one German and one American. The story jumped from character to character and at times was confusing. It seems with most books with different perspectives there is a point where all the characters connect but that wasn't the case here for the most part and then at the end each chapter ended kind of abruptly. The research was good and the writing was easy to read although did drag at some points. With so many main characters it read more like jumbled up short stories rather than a novel. Thank you to Netgalley and Alcove Press for providing me with this copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    linda hole

    What i love most about this book . It is told from alternating views. We get to Know how completely different women see the d day. What they have done during the war. What they endured during war. How much they have grown, how the war has changed their view on the war. It is raw, you can almost feel the pain and the smell of the devastating war . I highly recommend this book. Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest opinion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori Sinsel Harris

    This story is told in alternating viewpoints of five women, all very different, from different walks of life , all experiencing D-day, the day which changed the course of the war throughout the world. You meet an American turned Nazi sympathizer living in Germany, spewing Nazi propaganda over the airwaves, Mildred is known as "Axis Sally", and a voice hated by the American soldiers. Theda is a volunteer at a hospital along the English channel that will receive the wounded and casualties once the This story is told in alternating viewpoints of five women, all very different, from different walks of life , all experiencing D-day, the day which changed the course of the war throughout the world. You meet an American turned Nazi sympathizer living in Germany, spewing Nazi propaganda over the airwaves, Mildred is known as "Axis Sally", and a voice hated by the American soldiers. Theda is a volunteer at a hospital along the English channel that will receive the wounded and casualties once the D-day invasion begins. Flora is a member of the French Resistance, her job is to send notice and activate the resistance once the code that means the invasion has begun is broadcast on the BBC. Emilia is a German secretary, working for high-ranking SS and Gestapo in occupied France. She feels she has sold her soul to the devil with no way out. Adelaide, estranged from her daughter and living alone is forced to billet German soldiers in her home. Once the invasion begins, these kind young men she has come to care about become ruthless evil killers, forcing her to flee for her life. Very different women, different circumstances, all experiencing this historical day in their own way. This story was terrific. To see the different take each individual depending on their situation thought and felt about the events of D-day. Extraordinary how different each individual story and out-look of the same event can be. This book moves along at a nice brisk pace, keeping the reader's interest from page one. I recommend this one highly. Thank you to Alcove Press and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Captainmorgan09

    All The Lights Above Us By: M.B. Henry Publisher: Penguin Random House Pub day May 10th, 2022 This was such an eye opening glimpse into the days surrounding June 6th, 1944 - D Day. It was a very human experience reading this book - most all WW11 novels I’ve read (and there have been a few) are almost never from the perspective of Nazis - specifically Nazi Women. This book contains 2 of these kinds of characters. While what the Nazis did is egregious, unforgivable, and abhorrent, to understand what All The Lights Above Us By: M.B. Henry Publisher: Penguin Random House Pub day May 10th, 2022 This was such an eye opening glimpse into the days surrounding June 6th, 1944 - D Day. It was a very human experience reading this book - most all WW11 novels I’ve read (and there have been a few) are almost never from the perspective of Nazis - specifically Nazi Women. This book contains 2 of these kinds of characters. While what the Nazis did is egregious, unforgivable, and abhorrent, to understand what happened (and so that it is not repeated) it is important to have insight to different perspectives. This book takes place over the course of a few days surrounding D Day. It covers the point of view of five very different women during that time. What I really loved is that many of the characters are based on historically accurate people and events. There is Mildred an ex-American living in Berlin and grappling with her new found fame and her position at a prominent radio station. Theda, an independent and career driven volunteer nurse trying to find her way in a world she doesn’t quite fit in. Adelaide, a dignified, mature woman who is a mother to all, even the enemy Germans who have invaded her home. Emilia, a beautiful Nazi born girl who on the outside seems to have it all, but who is victimized by the Nazi party she is apart of. Lastly, we have Flora; a rough around the edges, determined and misunderstood French girl who helps with the French resistance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from front to back. I was evenly invested in each of the 5 womens stories and found myself heartbroken for each of them at different times in their stories. A must read! Many thanks to M.B. Henry, Penguin Random House, and Goodreads for a digital copy of this book. I read and reviewed this voluntarily and opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own. This book is available for purchase on May 10th, 2022!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Shields

    (3.5 rounded up) “The dice are on the carpet!” The six code words broadcasted far and wide alerting people across Europe that the invasion of France was on the way. June 6, 1944 was D-Day. When over 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France— one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. It’s often been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. There is an endless supply of WWII novels out there. What makes this book unique is that it focuses on one 24 hou (3.5 rounded up) “The dice are on the carpet!” The six code words broadcasted far and wide alerting people across Europe that the invasion of France was on the way. June 6, 1944 was D-Day. When over 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France— one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history. It’s often been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. There is an endless supply of WWII novels out there. What makes this book unique is that it focuses on one 24 hour day. All the Lights Above Us— titled for the thousands of aircraft lights and bombs that lit up the sky that day—follows five different women in Europe and how they were affected and challenged by the events of D-Day. The Cast of Characters - Mildred, Berlin, Germany - (denounced) American actress at a German radio station responsible for broadcasting propaganda on the airwaves, trying to convince herself she’s not doing anything wrong. Nickname: Axis Sally, real historical figure. “Germany gave her fame and fortune, where America gave her scandalous headlines and terrible scorn. Germany fed her, while America starved her. Germany transformed her from a nobody into an icon.” - Theda, Portsmouth, England - independent woman who hated the idea of marriage and feels like she doesn’t belong since she cares more about books and traveling than homemaking but finds herself caring for soldiers at the hospital. “A very sad truth, Theda Brown. Sometimes the biggest roadblock to women is the judgment and criticism of other women.” - Flora, Caen, France - stubborn daughter of deceased parents of the Resistance who has taken up their mantle and tried to prove her usefulness to the Resistance by doing whatever secret tasks she can, like delivering encrypted messages. “She just couldn’t understand why no one ever took her seriously." - Adelaide, Sainte-Mère-Église, France - traditional elderly woman billeting (and mothering) German troops in her home, struggling with her usefulness in old age and the tension with her daughter (who views motherhood differently) and wishing she could be with her daughter and granddaughter out in the country. “Day in and day out, all Adelaide did was mother. But no one had ever called her a good mother, at least not to her face. She couldn’t even say the words to herself in the mirror, because without the validation, she didn’t know if they were true.” - Emilia, Caen, France - beautiful woman who was destined for the ‘birthing houses’ of Lebensborn to produce more Aryan offspring with German men until she made her escape and ended up working with the Gestapo typing up interrogations. “She admired those women who had bucked male authority, who made their own mark on the world. Women who never felt the need to run away.” Themes All the Lights Above us shows us the terror, the panic, and the danger of that infamous day. It shows us how women from a variety of ages, stations, loyalties, and locations handle the impending invasion. How they muster the courage to do what needs to be done. Another major theme of this book is the roles and expectations of women during that time. Each character has a male counterpart and an important moment in which they must decide whether they stand up for themselves or ‘fall into line'.’ A less admirable theme is the gore. If this was a movie, it would definitely be rated R for violence and gore. It’s different when you read it than when you see it, but there are a lot of descriptions of destruction, injuries and death. To give you an idea if you think you can handle it, some of the wording is like this: “Germans tackled paratroopers to the ground like wildcats. They shredded them to Swiss cheese with bullets.” “Putrid, rotting algae mixed with the sharp odor of decaying flesh.” “Teeth cracked, blood spattered, and the jaw broke.” It’s not super graphic, but it’s enough to make you cringe. Recommendation Because there are so many WWII books out there, it’s hard for me to recommend this over some of the other books out there. The idea of focusing on a variety of characters while looking at one day in history is interesting. But I felt like we didn’t get enough time with each character. I thought that the author was going to intersect all of their stories in the end somehow as we see done in Cloud Cuckoo Land, but only Flora and Emilia interact. I think it would have made more sense of the larger cast of characters if their stories intersected or culminated at the the end. Instead it feels a bit shallow. It seems like more time was spent describing the war movements/actions/violence than each character’s story. I’m not sure what I would have rather had because there’s only so much ‘character development’ that can happen in the span of one day and to do more back and forth between past and present to create historical depth would only have added to the complexity and flow of the chapters. I would say if D-Day in particular interests you, or books with many characters, or you just want to read all the WWII stuff there is, then I think you’ll like this book. If you’re just looking for a really good WWII novel, I’m not sure this is the one I would hand you. It’s not a bad book and I don’t discourage anyone from reading it— there were parts that were gripping— it just didn’t keep my attention like other WWII books I’ve read. “Wrapped in each other’s arms, they watched the dizzying light show out the window. Flares, antiaircraft fire, bullets, and shells. Liberation.” **Received an ARC via NetGalley** Book Review Blog | Facebook | Pinterest

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fran Hawthorne

    All the Lights Above Us covers roughly the 24 hours of D-Day, almost minute-by-minute, through the eyes of five disparate women in England, France, and Germany whose lives will be upended by the mass Allied landing in Normandy in World War II: ----Adelaide, a widowed French grandmother alienated from her daughter, who has come to feel almost motherly toward the German soldiers billeted in her Normandy farmhouse over the past few years. ----Emilia, the beautiful German secretary to an SS leader in All the Lights Above Us covers roughly the 24 hours of D-Day, almost minute-by-minute, through the eyes of five disparate women in England, France, and Germany whose lives will be upended by the mass Allied landing in Normandy in World War II: ----Adelaide, a widowed French grandmother alienated from her daughter, who has come to feel almost motherly toward the German soldiers billeted in her Normandy farmhouse over the past few years. ----Emilia, the beautiful German secretary to an SS leader in Normandy, who was raised by devout Nazi parents and who likes to remember that she “once shook the hand of Adolf Hitler.” ----Flora, a young French Resistance courier in Normandy, who chafes at being relegated to “women’s work.” ----Mildred (an actual historical figure as the notorious Axis Sally), an American-born actress who began broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin in 1940 because she saw it as the only way to get any sort of job in the performing arts. ----Theda, a no-nonsense nurse in Portsmouth, England, who dreams of a career, not marriage, but who isn’t prepared for the day’s tsunami of horribly wounded soldiers. Not surprisingly, the most interesting of these protagonists are the ones who, to some degree or another, have let themselves be seduced by evil—Adelaide, Emilia, and Mildred. Author M. B. Henry believably shows how they have managed to lie to themselves over the years and how their blinders are now tumbling off. On the other hand, the staunchly anti-Nazi Theda and Flora are clichés of brave, idealistic feminists who don’t want to sit home knitting scarves. The intense focus on a single day gives Henry, a California-based historical consultant for films and TV, the space for vivid descriptions of the blood, sweat, filth, mangled limbs and other detritus of war. So, while this is at heart a romantic novel, it’s not for the squeamish. (adapted and condenses from my review in the New York Journal of Books) https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mystica

    This was quite an arresting read. Five women across Europe all very different in age and occupation enact a very important day not just in their lives but in the world. The repercussions of this day echo in their own little world but also very much in the country in which the stories were set. June 6th 1944 was D Day not just for the Allied Forces. It was a disastrous day for Nazi Germany occupied France. The Nazis were determined to hold out and murder as many as they could before they gave up t This was quite an arresting read. Five women across Europe all very different in age and occupation enact a very important day not just in their lives but in the world. The repercussions of this day echo in their own little world but also very much in the country in which the stories were set. June 6th 1944 was D Day not just for the Allied Forces. It was a disastrous day for Nazi Germany occupied France. The Nazis were determined to hold out and murder as many as they could before they gave up to the Allies and these five stories told in alternating chapters effectively describe what took place on both sides of the divide. From the Resistance worker Flora to Adelaide who just kept her head down, boarded young German men and who could be viewed as a collaborator but who wasnt, she was just a survivor. Then we have Midge the young American who bound herself with Nazi Max and would always be thought of as a traitor, Theda the young English nurse trainee whose sights unlike those of her colleagues was set on a career and not just enticing a young man into marriage and Emilia the young German woman who is seeking to escape one German prison of Lebensborn for a career with a Nazi high up, hoping one day she can escape it all. The book covers not just the work and lives of five very different women, but the effort of meticulous planning and implementation for the success of 6th June. The carnage, the destruction that preceeded it and that which followed it was brutal but matter of fact. As usual a WWII book from so many different perspectives, and a very good account of history.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carlie | shesbecomingbookish

    The lives of five very different women are all about to change. The dawn of a new day brings hope to all those who have lived under the threat of the Nazis; victory, like the scent of a springtime flower, is in the air. The planes are fast approaching; the parachutes are deployed. Soldiers fall from the sky, like swarms of locusts here to plague the Nazi regime. As the events of D-day unfold, some are left wondering what will become of them. Are they on the wrong side of history? Only time will The lives of five very different women are all about to change. The dawn of a new day brings hope to all those who have lived under the threat of the Nazis; victory, like the scent of a springtime flower, is in the air. The planes are fast approaching; the parachutes are deployed. Soldiers fall from the sky, like swarms of locusts here to plague the Nazi regime. As the events of D-day unfold, some are left wondering what will become of them. Are they on the wrong side of history? Only time will tell. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At first, I was skeptical that I would ever figure out who was who; each of the first five chapters introduced a new main character, making it hard to keep things straight. Once I got a grip on the MCs, the action took me by storm. Told over the span of 24 hours, this book was non-stop, page-turning, action-packed goodness. I found myself completely engrossed, unable to put it down. Having said that, I suspect this one may be problematic for some. Two of the characters in the book are Nazis, so we hear about World War II from their perspective in the beginning. Despite this, I’m certain the author didn’t intend to glorify or support Nazism in any way. Simply put, I believe the author was crafting the characters, portraying their allegiance to the Nazi regime as part of who they are at the beginning to the book. Over time, we watch as they question their own beliefs and loyalties, but, still, some may find their initial views as troubling. I was able to put it into perspective, but I can see why others might not be willing or able to do so. Overall, this is a great book that I encourage people to read, but some may find it triggering in the beginning.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    My family are history buffs with a particular interest in D-Day, so I was pre-disposed to have a favourable view of this historical novel set from June 5th- June 7th , 1944. I was not disappointed. The story is told from five different women’s perspectives: bold Flora, who lives in Caen and has worked hard to become part of the French resistance -- and who hears the secret code announcing the invasion is imminent; beautiful Emilia, also in Caen but a German secretary working for the Gestapo; mot My family are history buffs with a particular interest in D-Day, so I was pre-disposed to have a favourable view of this historical novel set from June 5th- June 7th , 1944. I was not disappointed. The story is told from five different women’s perspectives: bold Flora, who lives in Caen and has worked hard to become part of the French resistance -- and who hears the secret code announcing the invasion is imminent; beautiful Emilia, also in Caen but a German secretary working for the Gestapo; motherly Adelaide who is housing German soldiers when Sainte-Mere-Eglise becomes a centre-point for the invasion; American Mildred – called ‘Axis Sally’ -- who has betrayed her country by making a career as a Nazi propaganda radio broadcaster living in Berlin; and insecure Theda who is a medical volunteer living in Portsmouth on the front line of D-Day casualty treatment. All these women have been underestimated by others – and by themselves. D-Day brings their worlds crashing down; as the narrative unfolds, we find out more about their individual backgrounds, fears, passions and mistakes. I enjoyed the deeply empathetic portrayal of these complex women, none of whom are perfect heroines but all of whom show inner strength. In fact, I was so gripped by the women’s stories that I read the book in just two sittings. I also relished the historical research clearly put into the crafting of the novel; the fact that I have been to almost all locations mentioned in the novel – Utah Beach, Saint-Mere-Eglise, Pegasus Bridge, Caen, Berlin, Portsmouth) made it even more meaningful. The author’s notes at the end explain clearly what/who is ‘real history’, and what is fictionalised – and how all this fits into the wider historical picture of D-Day. Recommended!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lesa Young

    For lovers of historical fiction, this is a good book to read. It is an interesting comparison of four women, their role and the impact of D-Day invasions had on them as women, their perspective of humanity, and choices made for survival. The author does a wonderful job exploring the full spectrum of human emotions, love versus hate, fear versus courage, parent versus child and many more. Painting images that left me pondering the lives of ordinary people on the periphery as well as those direct For lovers of historical fiction, this is a good book to read. It is an interesting comparison of four women, their role and the impact of D-Day invasions had on them as women, their perspective of humanity, and choices made for survival. The author does a wonderful job exploring the full spectrum of human emotions, love versus hate, fear versus courage, parent versus child and many more. Painting images that left me pondering the lives of ordinary people on the periphery as well as those directly involved in the war. I felt the story ended too abruptly and left a few things undone with some of the secondary characters. All in all, a solid story worth reading. #AlltheLightsAboveUs #netgalley #historicalfiction #WWII #D-Day

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Even though there is nothing truly new in this account of June 6, 1944, experiencing the confusion and fear of that invasion through the eyes of 5 different women really exposes the emotion and human cost of war. The writing is just superb, filled with descriptions that evoke the smells, sounds, and sights of the land, the French citizens, and the soldiers themselves. Telling this war story through women’s voices was creative and very effective. Thanks to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC to Even though there is nothing truly new in this account of June 6, 1944, experiencing the confusion and fear of that invasion through the eyes of 5 different women really exposes the emotion and human cost of war. The writing is just superb, filled with descriptions that evoke the smells, sounds, and sights of the land, the French citizens, and the soldiers themselves. Telling this war story through women’s voices was creative and very effective. Thanks to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC to read and review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krizia Anna

    Thanks to the publisher, Ms. Henry and Netgalley for the ARC copy. I loved it! I like war books that centers on women. I absolutely love "Woman In Berlin" and this book focused on the stories of women during world war 2. I gave it 4/5 stars just because I find some (or maybe just 1) character unlikeable. I love how the story shifts between these women and how the "voice" changes in a way. I would love to have a physica copy of the book. I'm also loving the cover! Thanks to the publisher, Ms. Henry and Netgalley for the ARC copy. I loved it! I like war books that centers on women. I absolutely love "Woman In Berlin" and this book focused on the stories of women during world war 2. I gave it 4/5 stars just because I find some (or maybe just 1) character unlikeable. I love how the story shifts between these women and how the "voice" changes in a way. I would love to have a physica copy of the book. I'm also loving the cover!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This novel took me three starts to get into. I found the first chapter clunky and was really distracted by continuity issues - she rubbed her bare legs but then he rubbed her stockings. On the third go, I told myself I’d read 5 chapters and then decide, and that was enough to make me keep going. It definitely improved. This novel follows the stories of different women in the lead up to D-day: Axis Sally, an American in German radio propaganda (based on a real figure), Flora, a French girl in the This novel took me three starts to get into. I found the first chapter clunky and was really distracted by continuity issues - she rubbed her bare legs but then he rubbed her stockings. On the third go, I told myself I’d read 5 chapters and then decide, and that was enough to make me keep going. It definitely improved. This novel follows the stories of different women in the lead up to D-day: Axis Sally, an American in German radio propaganda (based on a real figure), Flora, a French girl in the resistance, Theda, a British volunteer in a hospital in England, Adelaide, a French grandmother with Germans living in her house, and Emilia, a German secretary to the SS. Each chapter furthers the story of one of these characters, and we see glimpses of their stories overlapping. The book is quite a feminist take on the situation, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, and not that it’s incorrect to point out the difficulties and changes for women in this time, just that it feels forced. It feels like the author was looking for as many opportunities as possible to write some version of “ugh just because I’m a woman.” In the end, I did get hooked on the story, but with the wealth of other World War II novels available, this wouldn’t top my list of recommendations. If a copy falls into your hands, read it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for my honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Gold

    Thank you Alcove press and NetGalley for the ARC. All The Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry I’ve often wondered who I would become if war should breakout in my backyard. Would I become more of myself or less? Which parts of my character would strengthen and which parts would wither? Would I be brave and fight, or hide and focus on survival? These are how the five women in All The Light Above Us reveal themselves to the reader. With their unique backgrounds they experience themselves during war time as Thank you Alcove press and NetGalley for the ARC. All The Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry I’ve often wondered who I would become if war should breakout in my backyard. Would I become more of myself or less? Which parts of my character would strengthen and which parts would wither? Would I be brave and fight, or hide and focus on survival? These are how the five women in All The Light Above Us reveal themselves to the reader. With their unique backgrounds they experience themselves during war time as caricatures of their previous selves. It’s not enough that Mildred is an American Expat who now lives in Germany, but she finds herself making a living reading for German radio propaganda. “Mildred hated the word “propaganda”. She carefully avoided it when she described her job. Oh sure, she said some pretty nasty things into the microphone. She slammed the Allies. She railed against the Jews just like everyone else. And she did it all with a smile.” It’s not enough that Adelaide, whose love of motherhood has made her the caretaking mother figure for German soldiers living in her French countryside home. Because “After all, even Germans needed a mother” Theda, Flora and Emilia round out the five main characters in this gripping novel taking place in one of history’s greatest single war-time feats, June 6, 1944 D Day.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    Many books have been written about D-Day ( Operation Overlord) and the vast majority have focused on the experiences of the soldiers as they landed and did their best to achieve their objectives. The author of this novel takes a different approach allowing the reader to experience the emotions and traumas of the attack from the vantage point of five different female characters ranging from a mother who is afraid she has failed her daughter to a woman involved with radio propaganda or what we wou Many books have been written about D-Day ( Operation Overlord) and the vast majority have focused on the experiences of the soldiers as they landed and did their best to achieve their objectives. The author of this novel takes a different approach allowing the reader to experience the emotions and traumas of the attack from the vantage point of five different female characters ranging from a mother who is afraid she has failed her daughter to a woman involved with radio propaganda or what we would today call "Fake News". Some of the experiences described are very intense. The characters for the most part do not interact with each other and have their own unique issues that they face throughout the attack. At times I found it challenging to keep track of which character was which through the back and forth of the book but I did feel that it was well researched and well written. It is not a particularly "happy" book so of that is what you are looking for, don't expect to find it here. It did , however, get me thinking about all the various ways that people are affected by warfare and how little power they have to control the outcome as it affects them. Many thanks to #NetGalley and #AlcovePress for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Thank you Netgalley and Alcove Press for this early release in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’ll start with the positives. 1. The extensive research. I appreciated how many of the events and people in this book reflected real people and events. 2. The setting. I loved that this book took place over such a short period of time, focusing on so many details of D-Day. 3. The multi POV style allowed readers a peek into how D-Day unfolded in France, Germany, and Britain. And the negatives - Thank you Netgalley and Alcove Press for this early release in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’ll start with the positives. 1. The extensive research. I appreciated how many of the events and people in this book reflected real people and events. 2. The setting. I loved that this book took place over such a short period of time, focusing on so many details of D-Day. 3. The multi POV style allowed readers a peek into how D-Day unfolded in France, Germany, and Britain. And the negatives - the writing. I just couldn’t. The writing was forced and disingenuous. The characters developed so quickly it felt rushed and unbelievable. A lot of the writing was just cringeworthy. Honestly this book made me appreciate just how difficult the fictional part of historical fiction must be to writers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Rowlands

    All The Light Above Us gives us a look at what the real D-Day was like on the beaches of Normandy and all over the occupied countries in France, England and in Germany. With characters based on real-life people and their experiences, M.B. Henry does a great job with this WWII historical fiction read, keeping you hooked from the start. Though I felt I wanted a bit more to round out some of the storylines at the end, this was a good read nonetheless. Thank you to NetGalley & Alcove Press for this All The Light Above Us gives us a look at what the real D-Day was like on the beaches of Normandy and all over the occupied countries in France, England and in Germany. With characters based on real-life people and their experiences, M.B. Henry does a great job with this WWII historical fiction read, keeping you hooked from the start. Though I felt I wanted a bit more to round out some of the storylines at the end, this was a good read nonetheless. Thank you to NetGalley & Alcove Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    M B Henry, All the Lights Above Us, Alcove Press 2021 Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review. My first reaction to All the Lights Above Us was admiration for the cleverness with which M B Henry relates the political, personal, and military drama of June 5 to June 7, 1944. The narrative follows the events of the day before and following D Day in their horrors, passion, courage, foolishness, treachery, and self-deception through the experiences of five women. F M B Henry, All the Lights Above Us, Alcove Press 2021 Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review. My first reaction to All the Lights Above Us was admiration for the cleverness with which M B Henry relates the political, personal, and military drama of June 5 to June 7, 1944. The narrative follows the events of the day before and following D Day in their horrors, passion, courage, foolishness, treachery, and self-deception through the experiences of five women. Flora, Adelaide, and Emilia are in Caen, France; Mildred in Berlin, Germany; and Theda in Portsmouth, England. Their stories are largely independent of each other, although Flora’s and Emilia’s stories converge in the last hours of the invasion of France by the Allies. This coming together is another intelligent device, not only providing a conclusion to Flora’s story, but adding to the characterisation of Emilia. Each woman’s story is told in short, but strong chapters, evoking their past, developing characterisation, and moving the story forward. This story is full of event, emotion, and social commentary, its impact makes it seem as though we have been with the women for far longer. As I stated at the beginning – so clever. Other features of the novel should not be underestimated. While narrating relatively easily envisioned events that are familiar through historical works, nonfiction and fiction, M B Henry gives them additional impact through several means. She ensures that the reader becomes aware of the discrimination against women that has brought most of the women to their current situation. While Mildred’s story does not reflect the discrimination that has impacted so heavily on Flora, Adelaide, Emilia and Theda, her persona is linked strongly to the way in which a woman may rely heavily on appearance and a male mentor to accomplish her aims. While not defending Emilia’s behaviour, Henry gives her story a background that explains the trap made for women such as her in Hitler’s Germany. Adelaide’s mothering role is complex. Although from a different country, experience, and period, like Theda she has been surrounded by arguments about what a ‘real’ woman should be. Flora is confronted daily with examples of discrimination based on her gender. Importantly, Henry’s concern with that broader theme does not undercut her attention to developing her characters, with only three days in which to illustrate their reactions to world shattering events. Where she uses background information to fill out her characters this is done smoothly without interrupting the narrative of the present. Small events are used to highlight large issues, particularly so in Theda’s story. Each woman’s story is carried through, from the background that has brought her to her situation on D Day, to her experiences throughout the invasion, and to completion. Possibly the tying up of ends might seem a little contrived. However, once again Henry has worked to fulfil her mission, that is, using D Day as the time in which she must tell the women’s stories and establish possibilities for each of them. These endings all ring true, considering two important features of the book. They rely on the way in which each woman has been depicted; the way in which each woman has demonstrated her strengths and weaknesses throughout the narrative. The drawing together of events assumes little beyond the initial impact of D Day, except possibly in one case where the events based on a real person suggest some likely possibilities. However, the overall impression is that Henry’s characters’ stories reflect the way in which those who welcomed the success of D Day had to imagine an end before they could go on for the remainder of the war. The descriptions of the wounded in Theda’s hospital; the drowned parachutists observed by Adelaide; the torture and shootings to which Emilia is a witness; Flora’s experiences as a member of the resistance; and Mildred’s knowledge of her own perfidy are disturbing images. Henry has momentarily put these aside for a short time by establishing completion for each of the characters. Whatever the future possibilities, Henry has given both her characters and readers a taste of the breathing space that reflects a likely reality at the time. With its short strong chapters, convincing and intriguing characters, and commitment to developing a short period of time into a persuasive depiction of a real event, this novel is an engrossing read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pamela King

    I love historical fiction and appreciate an author who does their homework. In All the Lights Above Us M.B. Henry has done exactly that to bring us an engaging story of D-Day from the viewpoint of five ordinary women with extraordinary experiences. It covers a short time – the day before D-Day, D-Day and the following day. Incredibly Henry describes not only the women’s D-Day experiences but through short chapters, manages to provide the reader with their background stories giving us a full unde I love historical fiction and appreciate an author who does their homework. In All the Lights Above Us M.B. Henry has done exactly that to bring us an engaging story of D-Day from the viewpoint of five ordinary women with extraordinary experiences. It covers a short time – the day before D-Day, D-Day and the following day. Incredibly Henry describes not only the women’s D-Day experiences but through short chapters, manages to provide the reader with their background stories giving us a full understanding of emotions, purpose, and reasons for their actions. Each story for the most part is separate to the others. Each has their faults, but they are strong and persist in their beliefs and aims. The reader may not agree with their actions, but they represent many women during war and should not be judged. Characters include real people and fictionalised people based on the author’s research. The characters are well developed and as their stories unfold you understand the hardships of war on ordinary people. The five women represent women in different countries and different situations. They are in non combative roles but enormously impacted by the war around them. Adelaide is in her sixties. Her home in France has been taken over by German soldiers and she is compelled to care for their needs. She cares for them like a mother but it’s not until her town is affected by fighting that she sees the cold-heartedness within them. Her only wish is to be with her daughter who lives in another town. Bravely she leaves her home and heads off to find her. In doing so she experiences more of the horrors of war. Emilia is a young German woman brought up to believe the Nazi way was the right way. She is a classic Aryan woman with golden hair and perfect blue eyes. She works as secretary to a Gestapo intelligence officer in Caen, France. After observing the constant cruelty of her boss’s interrogations, she begins to question everything and plans to escape. Flora is a young member of the French Resistance passing on messages. She is frustrated at not being permitted to do more but there is more than just discrimination behind the reasoning. Mildred is an American expatriate who makes her living as a radio broadcaster in Berlin. She is based on a real person, Axis Sally, who spread Nazi propaganda over the air waves. She has foolishly convinced herself she is only an actress, it’s not propaganda, its’s just her job. When the DA-Day landing is over she realises she will most likely go to prison or worse for her actions. Theda is member of the Voluntary Aid detachment (VAD)- a medical volunteer caring for wounded soldiers in Portsmouth England. She shares a dormitory with her friends but unlike them who see their future as wives and mothers, she wants to follow a nursing career. The struggle and frustration of caring for the wounded is brought home on D-Day when hundreds of soldiers are brought in needing attention. It depicts not only the suffering of those soldiers but those that cared for them often working around the clock. The women’s stories were so real I felt their pain and fears and hope for the future. Anyone who thinks that the atrocities of WWII did not happen needs to read this. I know it is "fiction”, but the author nailed the reality. It was like looking at the war from above as the women move through their troubled lives. It is an absorbing read with vivid descriptions and emotional stories. Some scenes are graphic but needed to emphasise the horrors of war and the impact on everyday people – to put history in perspective. If you read this book don’t ignore the author’s notes at the back where she explains how real people influenced the characters in the story. They also demonstrate how much research she undertook to get the realities of D-Day right. I admire Henry’s writing style and dedication to researching the facts. I will be keeping an eye out for her future books. Thank you NetGalley, Alcove Press and MB Henry for a pre-publication copy of this book. It is due for release on 10th May.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Peterson

    I don’t typically review fiction, but this review is of All the Lights Above Us, the first novel by my blogging friend M.B. Henry. It’s historical fiction and depicts how five women were affected by the Allies’ D-Day invasion of Normandy. While many of us are familiar with the fighting that happened on the beaches, this book shows the broader impact of the invasion. The main characters included two German women (Mildred and Emilia), two French women (Flora and Adelaide) and one British woman (The I don’t typically review fiction, but this review is of All the Lights Above Us, the first novel by my blogging friend M.B. Henry. It’s historical fiction and depicts how five women were affected by the Allies’ D-Day invasion of Normandy. While many of us are familiar with the fighting that happened on the beaches, this book shows the broader impact of the invasion. The main characters included two German women (Mildred and Emilia), two French women (Flora and Adelaide) and one British woman (Theda). Mildred is a fictional representation of the real-life Axis Sally, who was an American convicted of treason for broadcasting Nazi propaganda on German radio. Emilia worked for the Nazi SS’s intelligence agency, and her boss was based on a real-life person. Flora is part of the French Resistance, and Adelaide is a mother who encounters an American general (based on a real-life person) while searching for her daughter near the Normandy coast. Theda is a volunteer at a British hospital that receives casualties on D-Day. The women’s stories are interspersed through the book, with each chapter beginning with the name of the woman in whose point of view it was being told and the place where the chapter was set. I found that the place names helped me to keep track of who was who. The book is organized chronologically and divided into eight parts. The first two parts are set in the days before D-Day, parts three through six are set at different times on D-Day (including “Saw Sunset’s Glow”, which comes from John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields), and the last two parts are set the morning after. The timing of different events, like Allied bombings and paratroopers landing in Normandy, is based on the actual events of D-Day. The book is incredibly well-researched, and there’s an author’s note at the end of the book that explains how the story corresponded with real people and real events. Emilia works for the SD (the intelligence agency of the Nazi SS), and it’s interesting to see a character who is involved in terrible things but at the same time is very human. The SD was a way for her to avoid being part of the Lebensborn, a program to pump out Aryan babies. Emilia observes that “women were always punished in the end. They were spoken over, trampled on, and batted around. They worked twice as hard for half the pay. When they tried to stand up and prove their worth, people punished them with silence, control, and Lebensborn. And the outspoken ones… who weren’t afraid to stare that injustice in the face, they were punished hardest of all.” The book is full of evocative descriptions, and particularly powerful were the descriptions of the wounded from the beaches arriving back across the Channel at the British hospital where Theda volunteered. After they first arrived, “It wasn’t long before the entire place stank of damp sweat, rotting seaweed, and sour blood,” and Theda “got tangled in endless webs of ripped-apart patients.” I was really impressed by this book. I find history, and particularly the history of war, to be fascinating, and it was very apparent while reading the book how much research had gone into it. I really appreciated the level of detail that helped to bring the characters and the setting to life. It was interesting to see the different perspectives of the characters who were experiencing the same event in different ways and from different sides. This was a great read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for my preview of All The Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry, in exchange for an honest review. All the Lights Above Us is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, June 6 1944 through the eyes and experiences of five women - Flora, Adelaide and Emilia who live in France, Mildred from Germany and Theda from England. The women are introduced in the first five chapters of the book with each following chapter Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for my preview of All The Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry, in exchange for an honest review. All the Lights Above Us is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, June 6 1944 through the eyes and experiences of five women - Flora, Adelaide and Emilia who live in France, Mildred from Germany and Theda from England. The women are introduced in the first five chapters of the book with each following chapter continuing each woman’s story, one at a time. At first I found it difficult keeping who was who and, what was happening to them, straight. That said, once I “knew” the women their stories were very easy to follow and I was hooked. Although I grew up hearing about D-Day and we continue honor the remaining veterans of the war every November, I knew very little about the landing at Normandy until I read this book. I thought I knew a lot about the Holocaust but M.B. Henry introduced me to Mildred, known as Axis Sally and a part of history I had not heard of before. I knew about the destruction of French and English towns but not about how the people who lived in those towns reacted to what happened on D-Day. Henry’s detailed writing also added to my knowledge of the French Resistance Movement. I appreciated the book's focus on the women of France, England and Germany. Henry’s descriptions of how women were treated, dismissed, discouraged from taking on responsibility still rings true today. Men were in charge but it was often a woman who took on the challenge, took on the risk, saved the day, so to speak. Women were looked at as different if they wanted more than marriage and children. They were expected to follow in their mother’s footsteps, to marry the right man and raise a family. Henry’s chapters defining Theda’s struggle to be her own woman were superb. Flora’s story, as a member of the French Resistance, frustrating and inspiring. Although I didn’t care for Emilia, Henry made it easy to understand how she got where she was, as Henry did with Adelaide. As for Mildred…well, you decide for yourself. All I can say is M.B. Henry got it right. All the Lights Above Us is beautifully written. Words flow, descriptions are vivid and characters are rich. Some of the landing and hospitals scenes are so realistic I found them hard to read, but I read on. Don’t miss the authors notes at the end to learn more about the fictional characters and the real life drama and people of D-Day June 6, 1944.

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