The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan – Book Review

Posted August 20, 2020 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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The London Restoration

by Rachel McMillan

Published by Thomas Nelson
Publication Date August 18, 2020
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 336


In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.
London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.
Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King's College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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When Brent and Diana reunited after four long years of separation, life didn’t simply return to normal. Too many secrets hold them apart and prevent the return to the intimacy they just started to build as a newly married couple.

The imagery of a London blasted by Hitler’s blitz was vividly depicted in The London Restoration. As Diana revisited the skeletons of the churches of the city seeking the traitor in the beginning of the Cold War, I was given a new sense of the devastation brought about by those raids. Somehow, I’ve pictured the bombing but never considered living in the aftermath and the amount of determination and effort it took to rebuild and restore this city.

Diana was very intelligent in a quirky manner. Her propensity to sing rhymes, off-key, when she was uncertain or afraid was fun! She was fascinated with the churches of London, especially Christopher Wren’s churches, having been introduced to them by her father. They were a link to the past, both of her city and her dad and as they were destroyed, it was like reliving her father’s death.

Brent was my favorite character. Scarred from his years of serving in the war, he suffered from nightmares and struggled to trust Diana. Yet his love for her was strong and allowed him to keep his insecurities at bay. I especially loved the fact that her ineptitude in the kitchen and housework in general, while slightly annoying to him, were worth enduring because he loved her so much.

Brent and Diana’s relationship is the primary focus of The London Restoration, though codebreaking, spies, and the Cold War figured in as well. The third-person narrative jumps back and forth between various time periods – this did get a little confusing at places with the way it was done.

The story started very slowly and dragged for a bit. There was a lot of “telling” the story and not “showing” what was happening. At one point, I stopped reading on one page and began to examine the sentences to see what it was that was bothering me about them. On that page, every sentence started with “she” or “Diana”! Rich descriptions filled the pages and yet it felt a little flat.

Overall the story was good. It was not my favorite style of writing but if you enjoy romantic stories that include intrigue, this is one to consider.

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