The Way to London: A Novel of World War II

The Way to London: A Novel of World War II

by Alix Rickloff


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From the author of Secrets of Nanreath Hall comes this gripping, beautifully written historical fiction novel set during World War II—the unforgettable story of a young woman who must leave Singapore and forge a new life in England.

On the eve of Pearl Harbor, impetuous and overindulged, Lucy Stanhope, the granddaughter of an earl, is living a life of pampered luxury in Singapore until one reckless act will change her life forever. 

Exiled to England to stay with an aunt she barely remembers, Lucy never dreamed that she would be one of the last people to escape Singapore before war engulfs the entire island, and that her parents would disappear in the devastating aftermath. Now grief stricken and all alone, she must cope with the realities of a grim, battle-weary England.

Then she meets Bill, a young evacuee sent to the country to escape the Blitz, and in a moment of weakness, Lucy agrees to help him find his mother in London. The unlikely runaways take off on a seemingly simple journey across the country, but her world becomes even more complicated when she is reunited with an invalided soldier she knew in Singapore.

Now Lucy will be forced to finally confront the choices she has made if she ever hopes to have the future she yearns for.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062433206
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/19/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 217,177
Product dimensions: 7.80(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alix Rickloff is a critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance. Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series, the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy, and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series.

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The Way to London: A Novel of World War II 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
A troublesome and difficult to like character in Lucy, she’s just like her mother: over-indulged, selfish, self-absorbed, sharp-tongued and manipulative, she’s always felt out of place and unwanted by her mother, even as she is following closely in her footsteps. Repeated moves and adjustments as her mother jumps from rich man to richer man, her current stepfather has been funding (read paying off) Lucy’s exploits in Singapore, until a confrontation with one of his potential investors leads to her being sent back to an Aunt in England, one she doesn’t remember. Lucy was incredibly difficult to empathize with: she’s built a shell of waspish responses and self-indulgent behaviors that, when finally explained are understandable, but wear very thin through the early chapters. There is little to no self-awareness of her less attractive traits, and her desire to be loved and accepted and finally acknowledged by her mother leads her into bad choices. Incredibly bad choices. On the way to her “exile’ the ship is torpedoed and her dreams are again thwarted as she awaits rescue from a lifeboat to head to her aunt’s. Enter Bill, a 12 year old child from London, evacuated from the city because of the Blitz, and the two form an unlikely friendship. Much like Lucy, Bill has always felt out of place which leads him to act out and get in trouble, if only for attention. Wanting to go home, as the country isn’t for him, the two head off to London, a journey that is fraught with peril and dangers, even as we see Lucy, for the first time in our knowing her, to look out for someone other than herself. Encountering an American GI that she had first met in Singapore, the attraction is clear, but Lucy is starting to see her behavior as what it was: indulged, self-absorbed and off-putting, although the attraction she finds for the soldier just may be a turning point for her and her aimless life. Expectations for her own life were never completely tied to love, as she doesn’t really believe in it. But, no matter the man, he would be titled and wealthy, and this soldier is neither. But he appreciates the airs she pulls around herself like armor, finds her funny, and she has softened with her relationship with Bill, as the two are trying to find home and hope in a war-torn, weary country. Half adventure and half love story, the sights, sounds and struggles brought on by the war are clearly defined and described, even as the story is solidly character driven. And what a cast of characters! Lucy is troublesome from the start, and does show great growth and maturation throughout the story, even if she backslides into old patterns. Bill becomes the star of the show: a young boy with a world-weary attitude, used to fighting for every morsel of attention he’s given: he’ll steal your heart and make you hope for his life to change. While the romance was more than a bit predictable, the changes in Lucy that allowed for her to contemplate a relationship far different from those she knew with her mother is heartening, and if you can get past your initial dislike of Lucy, this is a story well worth reading. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
MWgal More than 1 year ago
Disappointing. I found this book to be simplistic and lacking depth of any sort. Reads more like a romance novel under the guise of historical fiction. It does, however, make a good case of explaining backgrounds of what makes it understandable as to why some people act unloveable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the character development. Ending was sweet, without being too cheesy or too sad. I like when books surprise me a bit and this one did
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a very serious book. More of a romance for the ladies . It is probably a well written romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down!
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
So what I was expecting from this book is a typical journey of a young woman and a boy she finds along the way. I was expecting a serious journey, perhaps with a few tear jerker scenes along and a bit of romance to lighten the mood. I was happy to be wrong about it when I finally finished the book. Besides the obvious journey to London, it’s also more of Lucy’s road to developing her true self and coming to terms with it. She comes across characters that have had a hand in impacting her life and assisting Lucy in finding self finding journey. The plot here was steady and flowing, there were some lulls here and there but it’s pretty much cut and clear. I did like reading Lucy’s character development throughout the novel. She went from spoiled entitled brat to someone who really did have a soft caring heart. It was great to see her develop into a more caring loving person of not others but also of herself. No matter how much she tries to go back to her selfish ways something always gets her back on track to show her true caring nature and that it is more rewarding helping and caring for others. Lucy’s chemistry with Bill and Michael make the book more enjoyable to read. Bill because he brought out the caring aspect in Lucy, Michael because he challenged her and made her see things in a different light (plus, well he managed to wriggle under Lucy’s skin which was nice and fun to read as he had caught her speechless in some moments) What I didn’t expect from the book was the funny light hearted moments. I found myself laughing here and there with Bill’s behavior and his uncanny ability to involve himself and Lucy into potentially hairy situations, or the times where Lucy fights with Michael, and it seems Michael is the only one that can render Lucy speechless and flabbergasted. Those were great moments in the book and it kept the reading at a light hearted mood despite what was happening around them. I enjoyed this book a lot and I do recommend it if you’re in the mood for something light despite the dark setting of WWII London.
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: She shared a tiny cabin with an older widowed woman of a melancholy disposition and a penchant for weeping unexpectedly who, when awake, spent her time recounting stories of her dearly departed husband, Edgar, and when asleep, rattled the paint from the walls with her seismic snores. I’d scratch your eyes out if I didn’t think it would be a marked improvement. Mam says a true gentleman treats ladies with respect. Course she likewise says true gentlemen are rare as hen’s teeth, but she has hope. I know you think I’m an opportunist at best and a tart at worst and I wish it weren’t that way. But when you only have yourself to count on, you learn to count yourself first. My Review: I seldom read historical fiction but found myself captivated by this richly detailed and lushly appointed narrative. I was quickly drawn in and intrigued by the plot and enigmatic characters. Although I was initially unsure if I was going to be able to enjoy the character of Lucy. Silly me, of course I did! Lucy’s tale began as the pampered yet ignored, idle rich, adult daughter of an often-married socialite, as she was living the easy party-girl life in Singapore a few days prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. Lucy was not immediately likable as she was brimming with snobbishness and snark, and popped off scathing replies with little or no provocation. She was a take-no-prisoners and self-centered diva and tended to be vicious and venomous when lashing out. My initial impression of Lucy was that of a vapid narcissist as she found talk of the war tiresome and tedious and didn’t want to be bothered. When her dalliance with a local became an embarrassment to her wealthy stepfather, Lucy was packed off to England on a cruise ship that was unfortunately torpedoed, which was only the first mishap of Lucy’s traveling travails. London was not the original destination of her arduous journey when she departed Singapore, but after an uncomfortable stay with her aunt in the country, London became a tunnel vision life-or-death destination. Lucy picked up a fellow run-away and misfit in a mischievous twelve-year-old street urchin name Bill, who provided endless comic relief with his colorful vocabulary and unique turn of phrase, as well as his penchant for finding trouble. Lucy and the ragamuffin Bill bonded during their escape from the English countryside for London and spent long dusty days en route and uncomfortable nights spent hiding in a rat-infested shed and cramped bomb shelters. Their trek took a circuitous route with many delays, distractions, and life-altering adventures and profound epiphanies along the way.
IrregularReader More than 1 year ago
Lucy Stanhope is a spoiled debutante living the good life in Singapore in the early years of WWII. Her mother is a selfish narcissist, and her step-father is a lecherous creep, and Lucy has no problems defying them or society to live the way she wants. However, when the weight of scandal becomes too much, Lucy finds herself packed up and shipped off to Nanreath Hall in England. Going from the tropical luxury of Singapore to the dreariness of war-time Britain is a kick in the teeth for Lucy. When she befriends a young war orphan, the two make plans to escape the drudgery of the country for London. The perilous journey across a war zone will force Lucy to face her priorities in life, and to confront her mistakes. This is a beautiful, vividly written book. Rickoff has put an enormous amount of effort into packing every page with an incredible amount of historical detail. You can almost smell the tropical flowers on the breezes of Singapore, and feel the clammy touch of the fog in England. The story is slowly paced, allowing plenty of time to take in the story and get to know the characters. That being said, this book wasn’t really up my alley. I’m not really one for romances (though if I were going to pick a romance genre it would likely be historical romance). It also kind of irked me that as rich in detail as most of the book was, the author is still relying on the “spoiled brat of a woman is made pure and whole by the love of a noble man” trope, which is nearly as bad as “the pure and virtuous woman finds the strength to tame the wild, uncouth man” trope. For all the detail and time spent on the setting and getting to know our main characters, the interaction between Lucy and her foil/savior, Michael, is uncomplicated and a bit flat. You know through all the sniping that they’re going to wind up together in the end, though I have to admit there were other contenders I was rooting for, and one (from her time in Singapore) whose story would (in my opinion) have been a bit more interesting. So in all, this is a well written book in a genre I don’t have a lot of patience for. If you’re generally a fan of romance novels, or are into the WWII setting, this might be a good title for you to try. An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you pick up a novel expecting one thing and get so much more. The Way to London By Alix Rickloff is one such novel. Set among the war that is just on the verge of breaking out, over indulged socialite Lucy Stanhope has followed in the ways of her promiscuous mother Amelia. It seems after her mother had given birth to Lucy, all she can do is find ways to hand her daughter off to a nanny or boarding school in order to fulfill her maternal expectations. But Lucy can see through all of that. As her mother bounces from one relationship to another, finding wealthy men who can serve her needs and fund her lifestyle choices, Lucy feels the consequences of those choices. As the family heads to Singapore just before the attack on Pearl Harbor, her new stepfather expects something for funding all of Lucy's wild expenditures. After all he has no blood relation to her so he isn't about to be breaking any rules except infidelity to Amelia, but as long as the money keeps flowing, she isn't about to rock the financial boat. When Lucy is asked to distract a wealthy client of her stepfathers, things escalate to the point where they have asked that Lucy be removed back to London or risk the financial backing of the client to her stepfather. She doesn't realize what a blessing it might be in the long run. So while heading back to London aboard a steamship they are torpedoed in the middle of the night on the eve of war, and she finds herself on a lifeboat waiting to be picked up and delivered back to London to live with her wealthy aunt. Unfortunately it will be a set of circumstances that will forever test her resolved that in the past has suited her needs but will she be able to temper her rash tongue that has always felt free to speak her mind regardless of the outcome. When she find solace in an American soldier she first met in Singapore, it seems like fate may have a role to play in where her future is heading even as war breaks out all around them. I received The Way to London by Alix Rickloff compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. While this is such a riveting story, there are parts of the novel that readers should be cautioned about. There is a handful of profanity used as well as the promiscuous lifestyle of Lucy's that causes her to use men as she fits if they can benefit her. But the real story is the way she comes to resolve all the pain she has built up around her to protect herself from being hurt any further. I love her fiery grit and determination that keeps her from being a victim but also keeps her from also letting in anyone to love her as well. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars based on my own review guidelines and really enjoyed this one so much I read it in one evening.