Lightning Review

World War I Love Stories by Gill Paul


World War I Love Stories

by Gill Paul

I used to write a column for The Bitches called ‘Real Life Romance.’ Due to time constraints, that column is on indefinite hold, but those who miss it may want to check out the historical love stories books by Gill Paul. World War I Love Stories: Real-Life Romances From the War that Shook the World is a documentation of history made personal, marred by an inexcusable lack of inclusion. The same series contains the books WWII Love Stories, Royal Love Stories, and Civil War Love Stories (all by Gill Paul). The list of books in this series seems to go on and on, but you may have to do some digging to find them. WWI Love Stories is available on Amazon as a Kindle book, and a VERY overpriced hardcover, with some reasonably-priced used copies.

This book uses simple language and short snippets of extra history placed with photos and art. It doesn’t go very in depth into the war or the lives of the people chronicled, but it still manages to give a lot of interesting details about WWI in general, as well as about the lives of the couples portrayed. Each chapter highlights a different couple (sadly, all m/f and all White) for whom the war played a pivotal role in their romance. There are some famous couples, such as J.R.R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt. However, most of the couples are ordinary people. These were my favorite chapters, and many end happily. Of course, some do not, so be prepared for some tragedy.

This is not a deep book, but it’s moving, it’s interesting, and it demonstrates that romance takes place in all times and places, not just in romance novels. I’d have given it a higher grade were it not for the exclusion of any non-White couples and same-gender couples. All through the book I just figured there’d be some inclusion eventually. Then I finished it, went to bed, woke up at 3 AM and went, “WAIT A MINUTE.” I liked that it brought the experiences of ordinary people to light, and enjoyed the photos of people and letters and objects, all of which made history just a bit more alive, but was angry at the lack of inclusion in any of the stories.

Carrie S

1914 saw the beginning of a war that would be fought around the world—the start of four years of relentless fighting, which would lead to the deaths of 17 million men, women, and children. The global conflict would destroy families and change lives forever.

World War I Love Stories tells the unforgettable stories of lovers brought together or torn apart by the Great War. These are tales of romance and sometimes great tragedy, but most of all they are tales of enduring love at a time when the world was full of horror.

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