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In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world. London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent n In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world. London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance. Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King's College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.


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In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world. London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent n In post-World War II London, determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II's secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world. London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville's experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London's churches intersect in MI6's pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance. Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King's College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

30 review for The London Restoration

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson-Fiction and Rachel McMillan for my copy of The London Restoration. London 1945, Diana Somerville's has been working during WW II at Bletchley Park as a code breaker, she hasn’t seen her husband Brent four years and he thinks she’s been working as a translator. Brent Somerville left his new bride to be a stretcher bearer during the war it’s a very dangerous job, in fact it’s actually safer to be in the army and he’s wounded towards the end of the war. When he’s s Thanks to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson-Fiction and Rachel McMillan for my copy of The London Restoration. London 1945, Diana Somerville's has been working during WW II at Bletchley Park as a code breaker, she hasn’t seen her husband Brent four years and he thinks she’s been working as a translator. Brent Somerville left his new bride to be a stretcher bearer during the war it’s a very dangerous job, in fact it’s actually safer to be in the army and he’s wounded towards the end of the war. When he’s sent home from hospital he assumed Diana will be at their flat waiting for him and it’s not the case at all. She arrived home five weeks later; she’s been working in Vienna with agent Simon Barre and Brent has no idea why? Diana can’t tell her husband anything about her work during or after the war as she’s signed the Official Secrets Act and after the war ended the biggest threat to England was believed to be communism, the secret service think there is a Russian cell infiltrating the country and they need Diana's help to find the leader. Brent Somerville is a professor of theology at King's College, he’s battling to live and work as a civilian again after the things he experienced during the war, and he lost a finger and has terrible scars. He assumed he and Diana would start doing the things they had planned to do after the war ended, live in domestic bliss and start a family. Instead like many couples separated by WW II they found it hard to live together, no intimacy and their war time experiences have changed them. Brent starts following his wife when she visits churches at night as he’s worried about her safety and he’s trying to find out what she’s up to! I really enjoyed reading The London Restoration; its plot is full of mystery, secrets, spies, double agents and members of British Secret Intelligence Service. What I loved about the book was the main characters; Diana is an intelligent woman, who’s torn between helping her country and being with her wounded husband while he recuperates in hospital. Brent is a Professor; he loves his wife Diana, but he’s scared to sleep in the same bed as her as he has terrible nightmares and he’s also very self conscious about his injuries. Of course, after WW II ended it created a lot of issues with relationships; it was very hard for couples to live together after being apart for so many years and the insecurities and vulnerabilities of people in these situations were highlighted and included in the plot of this book. Also included in the story is information about London’s beautiful old churches, many were severely damaged during the war and they play an important role in the story. Well done Rachel McMillan I gave The London Restoration five stars and I highly recommend this book. I have shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Amazon Australia, Kobo, Twitter and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mimi Matthews

    The London Restoration is an elegant and beautifully researched novel, as rich in history as it is in romance. Set in post-World War II London, Rachel McMillan’s passion for historic cities and churches shine through every page. She brings the architecture to life, ravaged by war, but strong at its foundation—just like the marriage of Brent and Diana Somerville. Brilliantly done to the last word.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    I was so excited when I was approved for my first NetGalley Audiobook. The description of this book sounded amazing and the cover is simply stunning. I THOUGHT I would LOVE this book. London is my all-time favourite city to visit. I love everything about it....but it was not to be. I so dislike rating books low but I have to give my honest opinion. The story was promising. I couldn't wait to hear Brent and Diana's story. They met before the war and married. Brent was sent off to war and Diana was I was so excited when I was approved for my first NetGalley Audiobook. The description of this book sounded amazing and the cover is simply stunning. I THOUGHT I would LOVE this book. London is my all-time favourite city to visit. I love everything about it....but it was not to be. I so dislike rating books low but I have to give my honest opinion. The story was promising. I couldn't wait to hear Brent and Diana's story. They met before the war and married. Brent was sent off to war and Diana was recruited at Bletchley Park. They are reunited after the war and the story goes back and forth plus there is some mysterious espionage happenings. I feel this was more of a character analysis of a marriage/relationship than a mystery. I just quite simply found it dull as not much happened. It was a very slow moving story and very descriptive. I do however feel that for some people this book would be a 4 star rating. The writing is good and very detailed especially around the Christopher Wren churches of London. It is just not my kind of story. I pushed myself to the 50% point but could not go on any longer. I'd like to kindly thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson with granting me access to this Advanced Audiobook.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This is a historical fiction. I DNF this audiobook at 54%. I do not love the narrator of the audiobook, but what really made me DNF it was the writing style of the book and I did not feel the characters where developed. At 50% I should feel something feel the character and I did not. I also did not feel the book was going anywhere. I was very bored with this book. I hate giving bad reviews when I get ARCs, but one thing I always say is I am going to give 100% honest reviews. I receive an e-audio This is a historical fiction. I DNF this audiobook at 54%. I do not love the narrator of the audiobook, but what really made me DNF it was the writing style of the book and I did not feel the characters where developed. At 50% I should feel something feel the character and I did not. I also did not feel the book was going anywhere. I was very bored with this book. I hate giving bad reviews when I get ARCs, but one thing I always say is I am going to give 100% honest reviews. I receive an e-audiobook of this book from Netgalley.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anna Lee Huber

    The London Restoration is McMillan’s love letter to the city of London and its churches, and what a love letter it is! An insightful exploration of the broken places within and around us, and the resiliency of the human spirit, even in the face of tragedy and war. Affecting, beautifully written, and soulful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    The London Restoration – one might imagine it entails restoration of London after a devastation of war. Or maybe it’s about restoration of love in London. One young couple gets married at the beginning of the war, then pushed away from each other due to war, and now after the war trying to restore the love bond damaged by war. A beautiful love story. London, 1945. Diana Somerville is a woman of great intuition and ability to read hidden messages. Thus during the war she was recruited as a codebre The London Restoration – one might imagine it entails restoration of London after a devastation of war. Or maybe it’s about restoration of love in London. One young couple gets married at the beginning of the war, then pushed away from each other due to war, and now after the war trying to restore the love bond damaged by war. A beautiful love story. London, 1945. Diana Somerville is a woman of great intuition and ability to read hidden messages. Thus during the war she was recruited as a codebreaker. However, what her husband knows is that she was doing translation work. He on the other hand was a stretcher bearer in the Belgian trenches, and later Italian. Once the war ends, she disappears for five weeks without any word. When he needed her the most, she was gone. “Then there were the weeks of convalescence when his pain and flashbacks were secondary to his worry for her.” The story goes back in time to 1941 and reveals how she was enlisted as a codebreaker agent. And further back in time, how they met in 1938. Now after her five week assignment in Vienna, she is back in London and looks forward to her regular life. But Simon Barre, her colleague agent, insists that there is a new war brewing, “a quieter one of propaganda and intelligence.” Simon believes that there is a spread of Soviet ideology in London and he needs to stop it from spreading. Diana is indebted to Simon and has no choice. At the same time, her husband finds a relic at a church or what is left of it. He wonders how workers missed it. He wants to trace history of the relic and that takes him to a place where he finds out unexpected information about his wife. The story builds up slowly, but it’s a good slow. It’s a delectable slow. You want to enjoy this journey and not rush through it. It takes time to get to know someone. And that’s how it’s reflected in this story. It reveals their story, their love for each other and their love for the subjects they studied and pursued their careers in. It is a very mature love, beautifully revealed. The time period of restoration doesn’t come through in this story. There is no noise of cranes moving the rubble and there is no noise of hammers preparing for new constructions. And there is no hardship of everyday life. Instead, this story offers something fresh, with concentration on churches, it sheds light on Christopher Wren. Among many accomplishments, he was one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. After the Great Fire in 1666, he was rendered responsibility for rebuilding 52 churches in the city of London. Most of them were destroyed during WWII. The character development is masterful, revealing many aspects of their lives, what they think, how they feel. She is heartbroken by the wall she built between them. He pours out his heart and soul in his thoughts, how different it was between them before the war and how it is now. Once very talkative, later saying very little. Before she wasn’t able to keep a secret from him, now she seems to be so secretive. He struggles with her careless decision to disappear for five weeks. It’s so real. I’ve read many wonderful stories with interesting characters, but this is the epitome of well-developed characters. If you are a struggling writer or want to improve on character development, then this is the book to learn from. Very skillfully woven story. I’m also full of admiration for the author for creating such complex story, which flows so effortlessly. Written with evocative and heartfelt prose, infusing characters with so much humanity and love, keeping the plot moving smoothly. P.S. I almost passed this book, because it’s under category of Romance. The unfortunate thing is that the genre of historical fiction got flooded with immature romances. Thus, when I see Romance category, my first reaction is no, thank you. And this is unfortunate for such books as this one, which brings a very mature love story. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    I AM COUNTING MY READING THIS FOR LINE EDITS as reading it again... bc I did. And when it comes back for galleys, I will read it again. Hope you all love meeting Brent and Di and Simon and Sophie soon

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    If you know Rachel McMillan at all, you know she loves travel, she loves churches, and she loves Mozart (among many other things). So it makes perfect sense that in The London Restoration, we get to spend time in London visiting Christopher Wren churches and chatting about Mozart's music. If you're not sure what a Wren church is, never fear, you will learn all about it in the novel. I found that aspect fascinating. Espionage is the vehicle that moves the plot along, but the main story for me was If you know Rachel McMillan at all, you know she loves travel, she loves churches, and she loves Mozart (among many other things). So it makes perfect sense that in The London Restoration, we get to spend time in London visiting Christopher Wren churches and chatting about Mozart's music. If you're not sure what a Wren church is, never fear, you will learn all about it in the novel. I found that aspect fascinating. Espionage is the vehicle that moves the plot along, but the main story for me was that of Brent and Diana, a husband and wife who had both changed during the war, and had to relearn who they were as individuals and as a couple if their marriage would survive. Following a married couple's story is a refreshing change of pace from the typical romance genre fare. Fans of historical romance with smart heroines and non-alpha heroes will love this story. Finally, can we just sigh over this cover for a moment? Truly one of the most beautiful I've seen.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    This story was centered around post World War II London at the time of "restoration", and the relationship between the main characters, Diana Somerville and her husband Brent. Just as London was recovering from the devastating effects of the war, so were Diana and Brent’s marriage as they spent years apart due to the war. However, their roles during the war must be kept secret from each other. As Diana and Brent rebuild their marriage and relationship, can they move forward when there are secret This story was centered around post World War II London at the time of "restoration", and the relationship between the main characters, Diana Somerville and her husband Brent. Just as London was recovering from the devastating effects of the war, so were Diana and Brent’s marriage as they spent years apart due to the war. However, their roles during the war must be kept secret from each other. As Diana and Brent rebuild their marriage and relationship, can they move forward when there are secrets and doubts while unable to reveal the real truth. McMillan transported me to the time with the beautiful rich detail of her writing and well-researched story. I learned a lot about the architectural history of London, one of my favorite cities to visit in Europe. This was a very exciting read for me because it had everything I wanted in a book. A historical fiction story with a touch of mystery and thrill, secrets and espionage, and the harrowing effects of trying to rekindle and reconstruct Diana and Brent’s relationship as a couple. This was so well written and I really enjoyed it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robin Hatcher

    Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, The London Restoration swept me into the months immediately following WWII (with glimpses into the war itself). Interested in restoring the churches of a war-torn London, Diana also wants to restore her marriage to Brent. I anguished over the missteps the couple made as they tried to find their way back to each other. PTSD, government secrets, and espionage complicate matters, making for some heart-stopping moments along the way. The story is a perf Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, The London Restoration swept me into the months immediately following WWII (with glimpses into the war itself). Interested in restoring the churches of a war-torn London, Diana also wants to restore her marriage to Brent. I anguished over the missteps the couple made as they tried to find their way back to each other. PTSD, government secrets, and espionage complicate matters, making for some heart-stopping moments along the way. The story is a perfect blend of romance and suspense. Note: I listened to the audio version, and the narrator does a wonderful job.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    With painstakingly researched detail, The London Restoration spins a story of romance and reconciliation. A twofold love story is exquisitely told, initially through smartly placed flashback sequences and an ongoing one as Brent and Diana confront the changes a world war has wrought in the architecture of their relationship. This is a romance of two imperfect people whose roles in the war efforts have left scars both mental and physical, whose friendships have flourished and complicated the pres With painstakingly researched detail, The London Restoration spins a story of romance and reconciliation. A twofold love story is exquisitely told, initially through smartly placed flashback sequences and an ongoing one as Brent and Diana confront the changes a world war has wrought in the architecture of their relationship. This is a romance of two imperfect people whose roles in the war efforts have left scars both mental and physical, whose friendships have flourished and complicated the present with new loyalties, and whose amplified insecurities and secrets propel them to work toward restoration with patience and trust. Also, tea. Lots of tea. I love how Brent and Diana both choose to make selfless sacrifices for one another while still not fully understanding the depth of each other’s time during the war. The secrets Diana keeps, under obligation to both friendship and government order, are for the betterment of the nation, yet are driven by her love for Brent and his well being. Brent, too, makes choices out of his motivation to protect Diana, but he steals the heart of the reader when he goes a step further and acknowledges Diana’s own strength and assertiveness. I think I really fell for him as a reader in the flashback scene when he ships off to war and has a delightful conversation with Di, showing how he truly knows her and wants her to feel comfortable in her own skin. Even as they try to restore their relationship in the present, this knowing and connection is threaded through their new maturity and colors their hesitant connection. Author Rachel McMillan’s forte is historical romance! Her signature wit and authentic character development are ever present, as are her penchant for portraying deep friendships and a love for classical music. The romance sparks with both physical and intellectual attraction, and the London setting comes to life with its winding streets, WWII aftermath, and historical architecture. Readers will turn the final page with poignant satisfaction, a new love for London (and its churches), and a special place in their hearts for two wonderfully imperfect new (fictional) friends, the Somervilles. After reading The London Restoration and making a TON of highlights and notes, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook version for a “reread” (Thanks, NetGalley!). I liked the accents and pronunciations the narrator employed, as well as her easy to listen to voice. Sometimes, though, the sentence structure came across as a little hesitant. This is a narration issue, not reflective of the smart dialogue and cadence of the writing. I would recommend reading a print or ebook version first, then listening to the audio for a more immersive “English” experience. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    I love the forward for this novel and that it's set in a unique time period: just after WWII has ended. The history of churches was fascinating. And the cover...stunning. The London Restoration features a married couple for its hero and heroine. Diana and Brent were married just before Brent left for war and then separated for several years. They both changed during the years of separation and it's a challenge for them to settle into a new normal when they are reunited. It's a nice change to have I love the forward for this novel and that it's set in a unique time period: just after WWII has ended. The history of churches was fascinating. And the cover...stunning. The London Restoration features a married couple for its hero and heroine. Diana and Brent were married just before Brent left for war and then separated for several years. They both changed during the years of separation and it's a challenge for them to settle into a new normal when they are reunited. It's a nice change to have the main characters already married. Completely plausible that there would be struggles following years of separation. As they work to rebuild their marriage, there is also a mystery to solve. This part of the novel didn't pull me in. The switching between time periods was also a bit difficult to follow. Favorite lines from novel: "For as long as a populous finds its heart in the center of churches, so our nation will rise. Our churches are our heartbeat." My gratitude to publisher Thomas Nelson for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    Ahhhhh, what a satisfying book! There are only a few authors I will make an exception to my "no historical novels" rule, and McMillan is one of those. Her incorporation of historical details in her books are what make them stand above the rest in the genre. I was utterly fascinated with the architectural history and the information about Wren and the churches. Yet, the strengths of this book also lie with the romance between the husband and wife, separated by secrets, wounds, and other ravages o Ahhhhh, what a satisfying book! There are only a few authors I will make an exception to my "no historical novels" rule, and McMillan is one of those. Her incorporation of historical details in her books are what make them stand above the rest in the genre. I was utterly fascinated with the architectural history and the information about Wren and the churches. Yet, the strengths of this book also lie with the romance between the husband and wife, separated by secrets, wounds, and other ravages of war, yet ultimately finding redemption. Add to all of this intrigue, spies, and more secrets and I was held captive by this lovely novel throughout. I listened to part of this on audio and switched to the print version midway through so I could give opinions on both. The narrator has a lovely voice and although I did speed up the speech her narration was clear and heartfelt. If you like historical fiction with wonderful detail, you will not be disappointed by this novel, but even if you don't, the romantic suspense will pull you in and keep you invested in the outcome. I voluntarily reviewed both the print and audio copies of this book. All opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    During World War II Diana Foyle and Brent Sommerville are hastily married before Brent ships out as a stretcher bearer.  While Brent is away, Diana wants to do anything to help bring him back safely.  With her experience in architectural history and her specific love of Christopher Wren churches, Diana is recruited as a codebreaker for Bletchley Park M16.  All of her work there is classified and when Diana discovers that Brent has returned from the war and is injured, she needs to put off their  During World War II Diana Foyle and Brent Sommerville are hastily married before Brent ships out as a stretcher bearer.  While Brent is away, Diana wants to do anything to help bring him back safely.  With her experience in architectural history and her specific love of Christopher Wren churches, Diana is recruited as a codebreaker for Bletchley Park M16.  All of her work there is classified and when Diana discovers that Brent has returned from the war and is injured, she needs to put off their reunion for another five weeks while she completes a task.  Finally reunited, Diana and Brent are both changed from their experiences during the war and neither of them can talk about it.  Diana still has a special task to complete: to find  an agent named Eternity who is using Diana's favorite churches as rendezvous points.  Diana is determined to finish the job, but her involvement places Brent in danger alongside her.  Set in Post World War II London, The London Restoration explores the devastated churches that were bombed during the war as well as the effects of war on relationships.    Through Diana's eyes and her unique love of architecture I was able to envision, not only what was left of the churches, but the beauty they still held.  Diana's work at Bletchley Park opened my eyes to another important role that women held during World War II intercepting messages and breaking codes that were sent directly to the Allies.  In addition, the women were not allowed to talk about their roles in any capacity.  The writing bounces back and forth between Diana and Brent's experiences during the War and 1945, when they are both battling inner demons as well as Eternity. While understanding what each character went through during their time apart is pivotal to the story, the transitions in time felt a little clunky to me and sometimes I had to backtrack to see if I was reading about the character's past or present.  Brent's experience during the War adds another layer to the secrets being kept as well as an important reminder of the mental health of Veterans.  The hunt for Eternity, the artifacts and codes kept my interest level up and the suspense heightened.  However, at the heart of the story is a marriage; and how secrets can change the marriage, but trust can make it stronger.  This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan is an illustrative historical novel. Diana Somerville spent the war breaking code at Bletchley Park while her husband, Brent was a stretcher bearer in France. Brent has no clue as to the type of work Diana accomplished, nor can she tell him thanks to the Official Secrets Act. Brent saw terrible tragedies while serving in Europe. He is suffering from PTSD as well as a scar on his face and finger damage. Brent has nightmares, but he does not want to share The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan is an illustrative historical novel. Diana Somerville spent the war breaking code at Bletchley Park while her husband, Brent was a stretcher bearer in France. Brent has no clue as to the type of work Diana accomplished, nor can she tell him thanks to the Official Secrets Act. Brent saw terrible tragedies while serving in Europe. He is suffering from PTSD as well as a scar on his face and finger damage. Brent has nightmares, but he does not want to share his traumatic experiences with Diana. They married just before Brent shipped out and have been apart the last four years. This makes for an awkward reunion especially since Diana was gone for five weeks while Brent recovered and only told him she was doing a favor for a friend. Rachel McMillan is a detail-oriented writer. Her word imagery allows readers to visualize the scenes especially the beautiful churches plus I could felt I could hear the music. I did feel, though, that this slowed down the pace of the book. The story progressed at a snail’s pace (it is like walking through quicksand—you get no where fast). There is a slight uptick in the second half. I never did understand Simon Barre’s obsession with Eternity. I thought the characters lacked development. From the beginning, it felt like I was dropped into the middle of an ongoing story. There was more information on churches than the main characters. Diana seems to care more for the churches than her husband and seems oblivious to what he is experiencing. Brent comments often on Diana’s beauty (it got tiring). I can tell the author did her research on churches, music, and Christopher Wren. The history and architecture of the churches is interesting, but it was overwhelming. A little is good, too much has my attention wandering. The book is set in 1945, but it also goes back in time to show us what Brent and Diana did during the war. It could be confusing as to who was speaking and where they were at. They visited many sites and they all started to blend together. I would sit down my book and come back, and I would be completely lost. I ended up skimming through the second half so I could see how The London Restoration ended. I was unable to connect with this book despite my numerous attempts. I did not feel that the author was successful with the meshing of history and mystery. Those readers who like detail oriented historical fiction will enjoy The London Restoration.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Literary Soirée

    Rebuilding is key to this intriguing story of a failing marriage, a war-torn city, and the hunt for a Russian spy in London 1945. Diana Somerville, a Bletchley code-breaker during the conflict, is an expert on London churches. She is enlisted by MI6 to help catch the Ruskie agent named Eternity, as her knowledge of Wren-built structures is critical to finding him. But her husband, a stretcher bearer during the war, knows nothing of Diana’s work. When he was sent home badly injured, she was inexpl Rebuilding is key to this intriguing story of a failing marriage, a war-torn city, and the hunt for a Russian spy in London 1945. Diana Somerville, a Bletchley code-breaker during the conflict, is an expert on London churches. She is enlisted by MI6 to help catch the Ruskie agent named Eternity, as her knowledge of Wren-built structures is critical to finding him. But her husband, a stretcher bearer during the war, knows nothing of Diana’s work. When he was sent home badly injured, she was inexplicably away. When she returns, she can’t tell him why she was absent because of the Official Secrets Act she signed. The effect is a marriage as damaged as London. Can they repair their relationship? Will British intelligence catch the spy in time? Is hope, both for the couple and the city, possible? THE LONDON RESTORATION is a compelling read set during a momentous time, sure to please lovers of romance and historical fiction alike. 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 18 Aug 2020 I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #TheLondonRestoration #NetGalley

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I am writing this before I dash off to work so I will be brief... READ THIS BOOK. That's it that's the review.... Okay... Here are the highlights for you: 1. The Somervilles are precious cinnamon rolls who have to be protected at all costs and if something happens to them in subsequent books I shall be extremely upset. 2. Simon Barre is bae and Mr. Darcy can go jump in his lake. 3. This book is perhaps one of the most realistic pieces of historical fiction I have ever read. A few years ago I chan I am writing this before I dash off to work so I will be brief... READ THIS BOOK. That's it that's the review.... Okay... Here are the highlights for you: 1. The Somervilles are precious cinnamon rolls who have to be protected at all costs and if something happens to them in subsequent books I shall be extremely upset. 2. Simon Barre is bae and Mr. Darcy can go jump in his lake. 3. This book is perhaps one of the most realistic pieces of historical fiction I have ever read. A few years ago I chanced to meet a lady who had an experience very similar to this book. She was in her late 90s, and told me about marrying her husband just before he shipped off to the European theatre. She was a nurse and was sent to the Pacific. They didn't see each other for the duration of the war. She said that they had to get to know each other all over again. So yes, this book rings so very true. 4. More authors should write about architechture. The plot and characters in this story are amazing, but it was the way Rachel wrote about the architechture of London and the effects of the Blitz that made this book so very personal to me. Especially as I am from Christchurch, where the decision has been made not to save our Cathedrals after the devestation of 2 earthquakes. A fact I mourn everyday as I drive by the desterted wreckage of these once proud buildings on the way to work. Reading about the struggle to save the great churches of London struck so very close to home. If you love Bletchley Circle, Agent Carter, or just historical mystery and/or historical romance, go forth and read this book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kate Breslin

    I found this newest novel by author Rachel McMillan to be a delicious exploration of the heart in the wake of war's separation, sacrifices, and secrets. And the struggle to reclaim what was lost between Diana and Brent Somerville pairs brilliantly with the attempts to restore to beauty Christopher Wren's architectural marvels in post-WWII London. Fraught with intrigue and mystery, this story is also an immersion of the senses; the sights, smells, and sounds of an ancient city come alive, making I found this newest novel by author Rachel McMillan to be a delicious exploration of the heart in the wake of war's separation, sacrifices, and secrets. And the struggle to reclaim what was lost between Diana and Brent Somerville pairs brilliantly with the attempts to restore to beauty Christopher Wren's architectural marvels in post-WWII London. Fraught with intrigue and mystery, this story is also an immersion of the senses; the sights, smells, and sounds of an ancient city come alive, making McMillan's detail to London and its history unsurpassed. I didn't want it to end!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Oh boy. Where do I begin with this lovely, amazing, stupendous book? It absolutely checks off every single one of my boxes. The London Restoration has architecture, history, suspense, and above all a divine romance. Most people know that marriage of convenience stories are my jam, but there’s just something special about this devoted married couple working together to solve a mystery while fighting for the love that has evolved throughout the course of World War II. The backdrop of a city in tur Oh boy. Where do I begin with this lovely, amazing, stupendous book? It absolutely checks off every single one of my boxes. The London Restoration has architecture, history, suspense, and above all a divine romance. Most people know that marriage of convenience stories are my jam, but there’s just something special about this devoted married couple working together to solve a mystery while fighting for the love that has evolved throughout the course of World War II. The backdrop of a city in turmoil is a perfect metaphor for Brent and Diana— damaged but with a sturdy foundation not beyond repair. Rachel McMillan is a star at penning flawed and multi-faceted humans. Anxiety, PTSD, jealousy, fear, as well as unflagging devotion, loyalty, and wisdom are some things that many of her characters bring to the table. This gives them an authenticity that is unprecedented in the genre. I applaud McMillan for not shying away from the tough stuff. It doesn’t hurt that there’s still a little bit of that romance fluff thrown in the mix too. Her heroes always end up being book boyfriends of mine and Brent Somerville is no exception. I could use a handsome, red haired man with broad shoulders and a beautiful voice! That dry sense of humor gives me life! The London Restoration is, to use a literary cliche, compulsively readable. I intended to pace myself and ended up reading the entire book in a night. My laundry languished in the dryer, but I say, “What’s a few wrinkled shirts when there’s suspense and romance to be had?” Go preorder this book! * I received a complimentary advanced copy of the book. I was not obligated to provide a review. All opinions expressed are my own. *

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bruno

    I've been wanting to read a Rachel McMillan book for a while so I was super excited to pick up The London Restoration! That cover has been slaying me for months! Isn't it gorgeous!? Another reviewer said that The London Restoration is McMillan's "love letter to London and it's churches", and I can't think of a better way to describe it than that! Set in 1945 the book starts with Diana Somerville being in Vienna after the war. Destruction has ravaged the once beautiful city. Diana is there doing wo I've been wanting to read a Rachel McMillan book for a while so I was super excited to pick up The London Restoration! That cover has been slaying me for months! Isn't it gorgeous!? Another reviewer said that The London Restoration is McMillan's "love letter to London and it's churches", and I can't think of a better way to describe it than that! Set in 1945 the book starts with Diana Somerville being in Vienna after the war. Destruction has ravaged the once beautiful city. Diana is there doing work as a code-breaker and decoding ciphers for MI6 with fellow agent Simon Barre. The war is over but they are on the hunt for a Soviet agent named "Eternity" who is rumored to have a file that could start a new war. Diana returns to London and to her husband Brent, who she hasn't seen since they married right before the start of the war. All of that time apart has made for an awkward reunion. She keeps her war-time job a secret from him and he doesn't share what he went through during the war. They do have a shared love of Architecture, particularly of churches. I looooved the parts where they spoke about the architecture - it was fascinating! Now that Diana is back in London she is tasked with monitoring the churches in the city to try and find the Soviet agent "Eternity" who may be meeting with someone at one of the locations. Tired of lying to her husband she decides to bring him into the mission. The book goes back in time to when Diana and Brent meet and what they both experienced during the war. The scenes at Bletchley Park with Simon and Sophie Villers were my favorite! Rachel also includes some fabulous historical notes at the beginning of the novel that I greatly enjoyed. The London Restoration is stellar historical fiction that I practically inhaled! I loved Diana and Brent and hated when I got to the end! Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    Switching back and forth from Brent and Diana’s wartime stories to their postwar experience, The London Restoration tells of the restoration of churches, lives, and a marriage, all broken by war. Rachel McMillan lovingly describes London’s architecture in ways that will delight any Anglophile. And we receive the gift of two love stories, both featuring Brent and Diana – when they first meet, and later as these people, forever altered by war, find each other again. Romantic, beautiful, and suspen Switching back and forth from Brent and Diana’s wartime stories to their postwar experience, The London Restoration tells of the restoration of churches, lives, and a marriage, all broken by war. Rachel McMillan lovingly describes London’s architecture in ways that will delight any Anglophile. And we receive the gift of two love stories, both featuring Brent and Diana – when they first meet, and later as these people, forever altered by war, find each other again. Romantic, beautiful, and suspenseful. Pour a cup of tea and prepare for a treat.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    The London Restoration – Rachel McMillan This is an intelligent, thought-provoking, and heart-wrenching novel by Rachel McMillan. London Restoration opens up with Diana and Brent Sommerville being reunited after the war is finished, but in many respects, another one has already started up and it forces Diana to keep secrets from Brent. As a married couple, they should feel comfortable in each other’s company, but they are strangers with four years of war that separates them. Brent has been hurt p The London Restoration – Rachel McMillan This is an intelligent, thought-provoking, and heart-wrenching novel by Rachel McMillan. London Restoration opens up with Diana and Brent Sommerville being reunited after the war is finished, but in many respects, another one has already started up and it forces Diana to keep secrets from Brent. As a married couple, they should feel comfortable in each other’s company, but they are strangers with four years of war that separates them. Brent has been hurt physically and emotionally (his nightmares) affected by his time on the front, and he doesn’t know how to share this with this wife, that he’s not sure of anymore. We learn how they met, fell in love, and how they are around each other after the war has ended. Each chapter goes back and forth to before the war, during the war and post-war. Despite their struggles, their love is stronger than all the arrows that are being flung at them. They are remembering what they had and what they will have if they believe that they can work through what they want to have. I like that it wasn’t just Brent who struggled but Diana who was not sure if she wanted to go down the path that she had started before the war. They are realizing that they are not the same people when they married, and how do they reconcile that now? I am not a fan of everything WW ll, but what I am a fan of is, a novel that shows this kind of love is worth fighting for, a married love, and showing that it is hard work if it is what you truly desire in the end. My gratitude to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lou Allen

    I enjoyed this romantic suspense novel. It takes place just after World War II has ended. Diana and Brent Somerville married quickly, and both longed for the time when they could return to each other after the war. However, things don’t go as planned. Both of them are carrying secrets that they cannot or will not share. As they begin life again, they are drawn together by a common love of London’s churches, and by the threat of a mysterious agent called Eternity. Diana and Brent must strive to sa I enjoyed this romantic suspense novel. It takes place just after World War II has ended. Diana and Brent Somerville married quickly, and both longed for the time when they could return to each other after the war. However, things don’t go as planned. Both of them are carrying secrets that they cannot or will not share. As they begin life again, they are drawn together by a common love of London’s churches, and by the threat of a mysterious agent called Eternity. Diana and Brent must strive to save their marriage, the country, and the city of London that they love. I requested this book through NetGalley and Thomas Nelson were kind enough to give me a copy of the audiobook to review. I listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was happy to hear a British accent, and I felt that Hannah Curtis’ voice was a good fit for the character of Diana. I often listen to audiobooks at a higher speed. In this case, I set it to 1.75 speed and was still able to understand all of the words and most of her performance. The main characters were complex. The author shows the difficulty that many people faced when they returned from the war. The book details how their experiences changed them and how they could learn to love again. Even the side characters were nuanced and interesting. I particularly enjoyed seeing the damaged churches of London through Diana’s eyes. The book has a strong emphasis on relationship and I enjoyed reading a romantic suspense novel in which the main characters were already married. It gave a different dynamic to the story that I haven’t seen in other books. The mystery plot is secondary to the characters and their relationships, but it was also intriguing and fun to follow. Christian faith plays a part in this book. Firstly because the main characters are studying London’s churches, secondly because Brent is a Theology professor, but also in the background there is an undercurrent of faith as each wrestles with their beliefs and what they experienced during the war.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Barratt

    The London Restoration is a vividly rendered exploration of the intricacies of love and the resiliency of a city. From the first page, I was transported to post-war London, in all its rubbled streets and indefatigable spirit, and into the world of a couple struggling to reconcile the newfound texture of their love with the life-shaping changes wrought by war. Atmospheric and rich, with characters both nuanced and captivating, the story seamlessly weaves the wonder of falling in love with a journ The London Restoration is a vividly rendered exploration of the intricacies of love and the resiliency of a city. From the first page, I was transported to post-war London, in all its rubbled streets and indefatigable spirit, and into the world of a couple struggling to reconcile the newfound texture of their love with the life-shaping changes wrought by war. Atmospheric and rich, with characters both nuanced and captivating, the story seamlessly weaves the wonder of falling in love with a journey of rediscovery. Steeped in meticulous research and written in a voice as soaring as the churches depicted and as intimate as the romance between Diana and Brent, this is immersive historical fiction at its finest.

  25. 4 out of 5

    linda hole

    Book was ok. I guess i expected something else from it. I liked the synopsis. I liked the Main characters and the glimpses we got of architectural London. But for me, personally, it became too difused to what the book wanted be. Is it a historical fiction is it a mystery book. As Said too confusing. But thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc

  26. 5 out of 5

    J'nell Ciesielski

    A captivating story of a singular love forged in the peeling of church bells, The London Restoration drifts through the post war streets of London to wrap around readers' hearts. McMillan's evocative yet delicate prose is a testament not only to the power of love, but to the unfaltering resilience of the city itself which she captures so beautifully.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    This is the first book that I have read or listened to by this author and I enjoyed it. The narrator did a good job and I could hear slight variations between certain characters’ voices as she read, which helped me follow along. The narrator also had a very pretty British accent, which set the stage nicely for this novel. The story is a slow build and jumps back and forth through time. Sometimes the story is post war, which is definitely the main story line. In this time line, the reader follows This is the first book that I have read or listened to by this author and I enjoyed it. The narrator did a good job and I could hear slight variations between certain characters’ voices as she read, which helped me follow along. The narrator also had a very pretty British accent, which set the stage nicely for this novel. The story is a slow build and jumps back and forth through time. Sometimes the story is post war, which is definitely the main story line. In this time line, the reader follows along as Brent and Diana attempt to rebuild their lives as a married couple again after the war. To complicate matters, Diana is involved in some pretty dangerous activities and there are many secrets, which leads to frustration for Brent. And Brent brings his own complications to the marriage, as he is dealing with the aftermath of wartime trauma and injuries. Both Brent and Diana work throughout the novel to find a new normal. I really liked Brent and Diana and hoped for the best for them. It was clear that they truly loved each other, even though both had changed because of their experiences. In the pre-war scenes, the reader gets to see the original courtship between Diana and Brent, which was sweet. And there were a few scenes that took place during the war years, where the reader learns what life was like for both Brent and Diana when they were apart for so many years. I really enjoyed each scenario and the pace of this novel felt very much like watching the television series, Foyle’s War. Not that the plots are the same, they aren’t, but I am referring to the tone of mystery and uncertainty in the midst of war and rebuilding. I received a complimentary copy of this audio book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    This book is set during post World War II in London. Diana and Brent have been separated by the war for four years and both are suffering from physical and/or emotional problems. They find themselves, due to Diana's previous work as a codebreaker, trying to help her old boss solve a new problem that may affect the world again while also trying to piece their marriage back together. I loved finding out about the city and especially the churches of London particularly those designed by Christopher This book is set during post World War II in London. Diana and Brent have been separated by the war for four years and both are suffering from physical and/or emotional problems. They find themselves, due to Diana's previous work as a codebreaker, trying to help her old boss solve a new problem that may affect the world again while also trying to piece their marriage back together. I loved finding out about the city and especially the churches of London particularly those designed by Christopher Wren. The war left the majority nearly totally demolished. The role they played in the suspense, along with the classical music, was quite interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, but found it hard to follow the shift in time back and forth on occasion. But, overall, this new-to-me author did a very good job. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Many WWII stories follow the typical route of surviving the war, then soldier comes home to love of their life and they live happily ever after. Rachel McMillan took a different route that I much appreciated. The story actually begins at the end of the war and when Brent and Diana reunite life isn’t perfect. They have been estranged for years and the war has, in many ways, changed them both. This is a story of two people learning to know and love each other once again. There is a great deal of r Many WWII stories follow the typical route of surviving the war, then soldier comes home to love of their life and they live happily ever after. Rachel McMillan took a different route that I much appreciated. The story actually begins at the end of the war and when Brent and Diana reunite life isn’t perfect. They have been estranged for years and the war has, in many ways, changed them both. This is a story of two people learning to know and love each other once again. There is a great deal of realism in that. Don’t expect a book full of MI6 action/suspense here. There was some of that of course, but the author’s focus is on the characters themselves. This novel was very well researched and you can tell the author is passionate about what she wrote. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    This is one of those books that when I saw the cover, I simply said yes without even pausing to read the summary. As many of you know I am a huge sucker for historical fiction and this cover hit all the historical fiction eye catchers it possibly could! I love the colors and the red hat just drew me right in and I couldn’t wait to check it out and see if the story lived up to the hype of the cover. Basically I went into this one blind since I said yes without even reading the summary and sometimes This is one of those books that when I saw the cover, I simply said yes without even pausing to read the summary. As many of you know I am a huge sucker for historical fiction and this cover hit all the historical fiction eye catchers it possibly could! I love the colors and the red hat just drew me right in and I couldn’t wait to check it out and see if the story lived up to the hype of the cover. Basically I went into this one blind since I said yes without even reading the summary and sometimes that works out for me. I didn’t know what to expect and I loved discovering this story without the inhibitions of knowing what it was going to be about. Right away I loved the time period. Set in post WWII London, it was a time of healing and reconstruction in England and that setting mirrors the relationship between the two main characters, Diana and Brent. So many historical fiction novels are set in WWII but having this one set in the post war era plus adding the strained relationship between husband and wife added a lot of drama to the story for me. Diana and Brent each had baggage in the story and it left the reader wondering how in the world they were going to make things work between them but somehow the author makes it happen and it left me feeling satisfied and happy about where they were at by the end. But the only thing that I struggled with a bit was Diana and Brent brought complexity together but independently I wanted to see a little more development on an individual basis if that makes sense. It’s a relatively minor thing and it didn’t really bother me in the overall story but there were times when I felt like they needed a little more development on their own but when they were together it wasn’t noticeable. The secrets, lies, and espionage of the story was interesting to read about and well researched without being ‘too much’ and I thought the author did a great job balancing historical elements in the story while keeping it character driven. I loved reading about the architectural history of some of the buildings. I am normally not that into architecture but this author did a great job presenting it and explaining things that it didn’t feel boring and did not read like a textbook. This book hit a lot of high notes for me. I loved the reconciliation process between the characters and the setting added drama and atmosphere. Overall I thought this was a good read and I am looking forward to more by this author! See my full review here

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