Lydia’s Story: The London Blitz Files by Kathleen Heady

Lydia’s Story: The London Blitz Files by Kathleen Heady.

A simple box of mementos, hidden in a farmhouse in Wales for nearly seventy years, is enough to set Nara Blake on a search for the truth about her great-grandparents, and to put her own life in danger. Even as she begins to read her great-grandmother’s diaries, a French brother and sister whose family lost everything in World War II, blame Nara’s family for their lost wealth, which includes a priceless Cézanne painting. As both families learn the truth of their ancestors’ activities during the war, they are put on a collision course that can only end in the destruction of long-held beliefs, and ultimately one must pay the price for the losses of the past.

Review by Desalto: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Good Read. Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2020. Verified Purchase. I really enjoyed this book. The writing style is vivid, the characters are well developed and the story kept me interested all the way through.

Review by James Tucker: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Lydia’s Story a great read. Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2013. Verified Purchase. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was entertaining as well as educational. I learned some things about England during that time period.

Review by M. Lignor: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Completely Unforgettable! Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2013. This novel begins in an unforgettable, heart-wrenching way, becoming a truly `memorable read.’ Here, a little girl is about to have her life thrown into upheaval as WWII comes knocking on her door. Many Jewish children were sent from France to Spain over the Pyrenees Mountains to hide from the Nazis, and people like Lydia who worked to save these children from a fate worse than death, were heroes.

Jumping to present day, Jack Blake and his daughter, Nara, are on their way to see Lydia’s daughter, Rebecca, who wants to give them a few of her mother’s possessions. These `memories’ have been hidden in Wales for about seventy years and are about to set Nara’s life on a new path. The story she was told was that her great-grandparents had been killed in the London Blitz, but when Nara discovers Lydia’s diaries, a new story comes to light.

On a parallel front, a French brother and sister whose family lost their prestige during the war blames Nara’s family, especially for their lost wealth, which includes a painting worth millions. As each family comes together to learn the truth about their ancestors, a life is almost lost and one family ends up paying a high price.

This is truly an outstanding story that jumps between Nara’s present-day issues and Lydia’s diaries that talk about the war and her work with the French Resistance. Add to that the true pictures and emotional turmoil of life in London and Wales during the `40s when the war was at its worst, and the reader gets a true picture of what people gave up in order to help their fellow men.

This will be an `eye opener’ for many, and cause most readers to feel privileged that they’ve had the opportunity to read a book that shows the real atrocities that happened to unsuspecting families who were just trying to get along. Unlike other WWII stories, this new `angle’ is truly unforgettable and deserves only the highest recommendation.

Review by Robin L: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Well-researched, captivating book. Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2012. Lydia’s Story is a captivating novel that paints a living, breathing picture of life in London during the blitz of 1941. At its center is Lydia Roberts, an unsung heroic figure who is balancing the roles of wife, mother, and woman striving for a sense of independence through her contribution to the war effort. She has kept ongoing diaries that her daughter has stowed away for two generations without ever knowing what is in them. And it is Lydia’s great-granddaughter Nara Blake who uncovers the diaries and tries to unravel the mystery surrounding Lydia’s death. She is pitted against an angry, disturbed young man who is trying to find treasures that he believes were wrongfully taken during the war and now belong to him. Whereas Nara seeks something far more important – the truth about her great-grandmother. The novel is well-researched, drawing a vivid landscape of the behind-the-scenes action during WWII from London to the French Resistance. And in Kathleen Heady’s good hands, the transitions from the past to present are smooth, allowing the narrative to unfold naturally and pulling the reader deeper and deeper into the story. Well worth the read!

Review by Sandra Cody: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. A Complex Story, Elegantly Told. Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2013. This book is a fascinating look at one family’s involvement in World War II – the wartime activities and sacrifices of the family and the impact their actions have on future generations. Kathleen Heady tells her story with a combination of diary entries, scenes taking place in 1941 and present-day scenes. These disparate elements are woven together with such skill that I was never lost. The characters are well drawn. Settings (London, Wales, France) are sharp and very real; I felt I was present in each locale. But what stands out is Heady’s attention to detail. We know about the shortages of food and clothing, but the inability to buy a toy for a child, unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but so important on a personal level, gives the story heart. I highly recommend this book.

Review by Mary Thompson: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Keeps you on your toes! Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2022. This third book in the Nara series is even better than the first two. I can’t wait to read “Paradise!”

Product Details:
Paperback: 298 Pages
Publisher: Sage Words Publishing (September 17, 2012)
Language: English
Adult Readers: Fiction (Historical)

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About The Author: Kathleen Heady grew up telling stories – to pass the time, or just to exercise her imagination. She spent her childhood on a farm in southern Illinois, where she was fortunate to have parents who encouraged her to study, read, and learn about the world. Besides rural Illinois, she has lived in Chicago, Costa Rica, Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and now North Carolina. Her current new “challenge” is learning to play the ukulele.

Kathleen has spent most of her professional life as a high school teacher, teaching English, Spanish and social studies. She shares her “almost a tree house” home with her husband and two cats, Tang and Sirius Black. She has a daughter, two sons, two daughters-in-law, a grandson and a granddaughter who are all really cool people.

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