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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Review: Into the Darkest Day

Into the Darkest Day
Author: Kate Hewitt

Publisher: 14th May 2020 by Bookouture

Pages: 350 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, WWII 

My Rating: 4.5 crowns


She had to step outside and hold the paper up to the moonlight to read it, but when she was able to make out the words, her heart felt as if it would drop right out of her chest. Because the message was in German.

1944, London: When Lily meets enigmatic GI Matthew in war-torn London, she doesn’t expect to fall in love. While her sister starts a reckless affair with another GI, Lily tries to hide her growing feelings for Matthew.

But Matthew has a devastating secret. One that could change their lives forever.

Present day, USA: Abby lives a quiet life on an apple farm in Wisconsin. Tormented by survivor’s guilt after the tragic deaths of her mother and brother, Abby leaves the orchards as little as possible, keeping her life small, peaceful and safe… Until she is contacted by Englishman Simon Elliot, who arrives nursing a heartbreak of his own, and bearing a World War Two medal that he claims belonged to Abby’s grandfather.

Together they begin to piece together the heartbreaking story of their relatives’ war. But as the story brings Abby and Simon closer—tentatively beginning to lean on one another to heal—they uncover a dark secret from the past.

And like Lily and Matthew nearly eighty years before them, it will make Abby and Simon question whether you can ever truly trust someone, even when they have your heart…

My Thoughts

“I feel sad, and somehow ashamed by it, too. I’m not sure why. It’s just so hard to believe people are capable of such evil.”

I was excited to read Kate Hewitt’s book, Into the Darkest Day - her first venture into historical fiction - and what an interesting and intriguing story she has given her readers. The book had a title change even though I thought the previous title had suited it perfectly. It has everything I look for in a historical read - dual timeline, mystery to be solved and a heartfelt love story.

‘How strange, he thought, not for the first time, that so much has changed, and all because of people who will never know how they’ve affected me. Helped me. Helped us.’

I found that the switches between timelines to be smooth, however, the historical tale was definitely the stronger of the two. I did not fully appreciate the contemporary tale with the exception of it providing good solid links to the historical one - that was an added bonus. The connection between the two tales surrounding ‘survivors guilt’ was a good one though and Kate drew strong parallels in both timelines. 

‘He wanted this man—this paltry, pathetic little tool of the Fuhrer, a tiny cog in the vast machinery of the Nazi party—to know who he was. What he was.’

Into the Darkest Day is an emotional read with rich descriptions of London bombings and concentration camp liberations that are shocking in the telling. To balance this is an uplifting romance that gives a happy ending for some. Kate, a prolific writer, has done a fabulous job with her first foray into historical fiction - a story filled with strength and courage as the past must be laid to rest when the opportunity for new beginnings comes along. 

‘She didn’t want any more secrets. She didn’t want to keep them; she didn’t want to stay silent about yet another thing in her life, or someone’s else life. And she didn’t want to throw away the promise of something—someone—good...’

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This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.