Beyond This Broken Sky by Siobhan Curham
Book Review

Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Format: ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II


1940, London: An unforgettable novel about the strength of the human spirit in the face of war and the remarkable women who put themselves in danger on the front lines during the Battle of Britain.

As a volunteer for the ambulance service, Ruby has the dangerous task of driving along pitch-dark roads during the blackout. With each survivor she pulls from the rubble, she is helping to fight back against the enemy bombers, who leave nothing but destruction in their wake.

Assigned to her crew is Joseph, who is unable to fight but will stop at nothing to save innocent lives. Because he is not in uniform, people treat him with suspicion and Ruby becomes determined to protect this brave, compassionate man who has rescued so many, and captured her heart. Even if it means making an unthinkable choice between saving her own life and risking everything for his…

2019: Recently divorced Edi feels lost and alone when she moves to London to start a new life. Until she makes a discovery, hidden beneath a loose floorboard in her attic, that reveals a secret about the people who lived there in the 1940s. As she gradually uncovers a wartime love story full of danger and betrayal, Edi becomes inspired by the heroism of one incredible woman and the legacy that can be left behind by a single act of courage…

A sweeping tale of bravery and self-sacrifice that shows that even in the midst of war, hope and love can bloom. Perfect for fans of The Alice Network, The Secret Messenger and The Lost Girls of Paris.

My Thoughts

Ruby is the live-in landlady at 22, St. George's Square, an elegant Georgian townhouse in Pimlico which has been divided into flats. Kitty, a shy and timid young woman, and her violent husband rent the second floor flat and on the top floor lives Joseph, a conscientious objector.

Joseph thinks his landlady is vain, pampered, privileged and annoying. He also finds her incessant chatter irritating and often misconstrues the remarks she makes, finding them frivolous and often inappropriate. He feels she isn't taking the war seriously at all and avoids her company whenever possible.

Ruby thinks Joseph is far too serious and reticent. Her overtures of friendship are often ignored and she believes he holds her in contempt, finding fault with everything she does or says.

When Ruby and Joseph volunteer for war work and are assigned to the same ambulance crew, the shared experience of the dangerous job they do in the blackout gradually alters their views of one another. Ruby begins to see the injustices in the world through his eyes, while he sees a more courageous, unselfish and caring side to Ruby, although he still struggles with her need to chatter and to follow the thread of her conversations.

In 2019, following a marriage break-up, Edi arrives in London to take up a new job and the tenancy of the top floor flat. One of her co-tenants is Pearl, a formidable elderly woman, who is a published author. To learn more about her neighbour, Edi buys a copy of one of her early novels, which is set during the Blitz and in a house very similar to 22 St. George's Square. When Edi makes a startling discovery in the loft above her flat and notes Pearl's reaction, she becomes suspicious and believes Pearl is harbouring a sinister secret. The more she reads of Pearl's novel, the more Edi believes it is more than just a work of fiction.

Beyond This Broken Sky follows the path that dual time frame novels usually do: alternating between the past and the present. When the past becomes Pearl's book read by Edi in 2019, that very subtle but clever plot device results in a very emotional and devastating moment towards the end. But there is a twist.

I loved the two main characters. Ruby has such a bubbly personality that she is the perfect foil to Joseph's more serious outlook. They are truly opposites, but they share a common desire to help people and both have known loss and heartache caused by the previous war.

Beyond This Broken Sky is an engaging story that will delight romance and World War II fiction fans alike. I found it a very satisfying and uplifting read.

Meet the Author

Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum,, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.

Connect with Siobhan: WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

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