Coming of age in Prague in the 1930s, Lena Kulkova is inspired by the left-wing activists who resist the rise of fascism. She meets Otto, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany, and follows him to Paris to work for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. As the war in Spain ends and a far greater war engulfs the continent, Lena gets stuck in Paris with no news from her Jewish family, including her beloved baby sister, left behind in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Otto, meanwhile, has fled to a village in England, and urges Lena to join him, but she can’t obtain a visa.
When Lena and Otto are finally reunited, the safe haven Lena has hoped for doesn’t last long. Their relationship becomes strained, and Lena is torn between her loyalty to Otto and her growing attraction to Milton, the son of the eccentric Lady of the Manor. As the war continues, she yearns to be reunited with her sister, while Milton is preoccupied with the political turmoil that leads to the landslide defeat of Churchill in the 1945 election.
Based on a true story, When It’s Over is a moving, resonant, and timely read about the lives of war refugees, dramatic political changes, and the importance of family, love, and hope.
|Publisher:||She Writes Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Ridley was raised in England but has lived in California for more than thirty years. After a successful career as a nurse practitioner, which included publication in numerous professional journals, she is now focused on creative writing. Her work has appeared in literary journals, such as The Writers Workshop Review , Still Crazy , Ars Medica , The Copperfield Review , and BLYNKT. This is her first novel. Ridley lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and her dog, and has one adult daughter, of whom she is immensely proud. Find her online at www.barbararidley.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite Lena Kulkova is a Czech with known socialist connections, a Jewish woman uprooted from her country because of political tensions. When she meets Otto, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany, she follows him to Paris. They have come to Paris to give their support to the Republicans in the Spanish War, but something deadlier awaits humanity. Compelled by the war to remain in Paris, Lena has no news of her family, now living in a Nazi-occupied country. Otto and Lena won’t be together for long as Otto flees to England where he expects Lena to rejoin him later. But Lena can’t get a visa. The reader follows their gritty story until the two finally reunite, but they are met with a lot of hostilities and discrimination from those not ready to welcome refugees. Follow her as she embraces a new romance and plunges into a political path that will transform her life and allow her to play a role in the overthrow of Churchill. When It's Over: A Novel by Barbara Ridley is inspired by real life events, a story that explores the dangerous climate of WWII, a woman’s quest for love, and the joys and perils of refugees. Barbara Ridley is a great storyteller with a unique gift for character and setting. I enjoyed her characters very much and it was interesting to see how they fitted into the political setting of the novel. The themes of family, war, love, solitude, and hope are beautifully woven into the fabric of this spellbinding story. When It's Over: A Novel features strong historical references, and follows great public figures, without losing sight of the characters involved in the story. Well-written with awesome dialogues and arresting prose, this story will both entertain and inform readers about what it feels like to be a refugee.
The book is a good one and well-written . It's based on the author's parents story. Give us a picture of life during WWII. The characters Lena and Otto came to life on the pages and their struggles of leaving Lenas country and the loved ones behind to survive the Nazi occupation in Czech . Describes every day challenges when she went to France and then to England and how they deal with the issues . I liked Lena....but Otto -not so much. It held my interest well enough till the end. It is a story of friendship ,love and loss ,definitely worth reading.
I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Barbara Ridley, and She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I LOVE that this novel had as an opening salvo a calendar of actual historical events covering the duration of this historical novel. It is a help my poor old brain needs. The big events hold their place in line but when the story travels from now until then it makes it difficult to stay focused. Thank you! This is a look at WWII from a completely different aspect. We follow a group of political refugees as they move through Europe working against fascism, some just a step or two ahead of capture by the Germans. This is a novel I can heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys history. Barbara Ridley has a way with words and knows just how to touch your heart strings. Our protagonist Lena is a strong, courageous woman with a firm respect for herself and her place in the flow of those times. A Czechoslovakian Jew, Lena is proficient in several languages and works as a secretary and translator for the Economic Information Bureau in Prague, a cover business for anti-fascists. She moves to Paris in May of 1938 with her employer and lover Otto, a German man with a price on his head who is working to aid the Republican cause in Spain. She quickly fits into a small community of fellow Czechs, and is still in Paris in the fall of '38 when Czechoslovakia falls to the Nazi's. Lena is heartbroken as she is unable to further encourage her families' often postponed efforts to flee Prague, or to return and collect her little sister Sasha. Her friend Otto is already in England and attempting to get Lena a visa to join him, but what was simple in the summer of 1939 becomes a boondoggle as England and France declare war on Germany in September of 1939. Although her English is not as strong as her French, Lena again finds a place of community and helpful work upon her delayed arrival in England in March of 1940. I love that the title is 'When it's Over" but you rarely hear people say it. Everyone is yearning for an end to this massive conflict, but they keep busy with the problems of 'now'. Lena is very upbeat and people oriented, and quickly makes herself a place in a community of strangers and in your heart.