She had to step outside and hold the paper up to the moonlight to read it, but when she was able to make out the words, her heart felt as if it would drop right out of her chest. Because the message was in German.
When Lily meets enigmatic GI Matthew in war-torn London, she doesn’t expect to fall in love. While her sister starts a reckless affair with another GI, Lily tries to hide her growing feelings for Matthew.
But Matthew has a devastating secret. One that could change their lives forever.
Present day, USA:
Abby lives a quiet life on an apple farm in Wisconsin. Tormented by survivor’s guilt after the tragic deaths of her mother and brother, Abby leaves the orchards as little as possible, keeping her life small, peaceful and safe… Until she is contacted by Englishman Simon Elliot, who arrives nursing a heartbreak of his own, and bearing a World War Two medal that he claims belonged to Abby’s grandfather.
Together they begin to piece together the heartbreaking story of their relatives’ war. But as the story brings Abby and Simon closer—tentatively beginning to lean on one another to heal—they uncover a dark secret from the past.
And like Lily and Matthew nearly eighty years before them, it will make Abby and Simon question whether you can ever truly trust someone, even when they have your heart…
A heartbreakingly powerful, epic love story about courage, friendship and broken trusts, Into the Darkest Day is an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Nora Roberts, Kristin Hannah and The Notebook.
This gripping novel takes us back in time to World War Two and was a perfect read as we have been celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE day this month. It tells the tale of two sisters, Lily and Sophie Mather who fall in love with two handsome American soldiers, Matthew Lawson and Tom Reese. The situations that they each encounter have enormous ramifications and you cannot fail to be pulled into their stories as you read on and uncover what befalls them across the sweep of this novel’s historical arc.
The novel is written in two individual sections, which I really enjoyed – The first section is written during the war and describes their courtships from Lily’s perspective as she feels like the ‘plain Jane’ sister compared with confident and glamorous Sophie and finds it much harder to get through the war – her job writing letters to bereaved families takes its toll on her and this gave a loving insight to the toll of the war from an unusual perspective. Everything changes for the two sisters when they meet the two GI soldiers and enigmatic Matthew steps into her life
The second section gives us an insight into Abby’s life who is living on her remote farm living with her grief and remaining detached from the world. This is broken with the arrival of Simon who claims to hold secrets from her past and brings her medals from her grandfather, sparking an exploration of the war that changed everything and how that connects their stories together.
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I really love a novel where you explore events from more than one perspective. I think that Kate Hewitt is equally skilled at portraying the characters from both the past and the present and these characters come to life for the reader as you get tangled up in the intriguing events of the novel. She paints a vivid portrait of their struggles during a turbulent time in history. I hate including spoilers so all I’ll say is that their characters definitely put them in situations in this historical period that will draw you in and keep you turning the pages to see what connects the past and the present and how our histories can take turns we might never have expected.
The way that this novel brings the war and its effects on human lives so vividly to life on the page made me totally lose myself last week and I loved the fact that there was so much on TV and the radio about VE day as I was reading it. I just couldn’t tear myself away from their stories. The fact that my school is a military one where we have just celebrated our centenary lent Into The Darkest Day an added poignancy for me and made me reflect on the idea that even though this is a novel, the stories it tells were very much a reality for thousands of people between the wars – who found themselves in a world where everything certain had altered forever leaving them in an unfamiliar world where their sense of navigation was no longer quite as useful as it had been.
If you love a historical read that brings this fascinating and often overlooked period vividly to life and enjoy being totally immersed in a powerful and vivid narrative then you’ll love Into The Darkest Day It’s a powerful story and I found myself quite bereft as it drew to a close, knowing as I did that even though Abby and Lily were fictional characters, they’d really lived for me whilst I was lost in the book. I will definitely look out for more from Kate Hewitt as the balance of historical detail and wonderful characterisation was a winning combination for me.
I would like to thank Sarah Hardy for inviting me to participate in the blog tour – I’ll definitely be looking through the other blog posts to see what my fellow bloggers thought of this immersive and memorable tale.
Writer On The Shelf
Kate Hewitt is the author of many romance and women’s fiction novels. A former New Yorker and now an American ex-pat, she lives in a small town on the Welsh border with her husband, five children, and their overly affectionate Golden Retriever. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling stories that tackle real issues and touch people’s lives.