Lucia’s War by Susan Lanigan #bookreview


London, 1949. Soprano Lucia Percival has overcome racism and many obstacles to become a renowned opera singer. She is now due to perform her last concert. But she has no intention of going onstage. A terrible secret from her service during the First World War has finally caught up with her.

London, 1917. Lucia, a young Jamaican exile, hopes to make it as a musician. But she is haunted by a tragic separation that is still fresh in her memory – and when she meets Lilian, an old woman damaged by a similar wartime loss, she agrees to a pact that could destroy everything she has fought so hard to achieve.

From the Western Front and the mean streets of Glasgow, to black society in London, Lucia’s story tells a tale of music, motherhood, loss and redemption.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Susan Lanigan for a digital review copy of this book – my thoughts are my own.

I’ve read a large number of historical fiction books over the past couple of years and was interested by the synopsis of this book. When I studied History at school, the early part of the twentieth century was one of my favourite periods of time – so many social changes happened in a relatively short period of time.

This is the first book I’ve read about the era featuring a family from Jamaica. I had no idea that soldiers from Jamaica were involved in the war, I had only heard of the involvement of the Australian and New Zealand troops.

The book jumps backwards and forwards in time. I did struggle a little to start with to understand who was who in the different time periods, but this did become much clearer as the story progressed. The story covers many difficult topics, some of which sadly continue in modern times – racism, child abuse, forced adoption, illegal abortion and forced marriage.

Lucia’s love of singing is the bright light in this book and I found myself willing her to succeed despite all the obstacles she faced. The book is well written and full of historical detail. I did find it depressing in places due to the topics covered. Lucia had to make new friends and acquaintances after arriving in the UK, some of which were supportive and some not.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction set in the twentieth century, then I recommend you read this book which is published on 1st June 2020. Available at

View all my reviews


By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum. Adopter of dogs.

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