Cover Image: Beyond This Broken Sky

Beyond This Broken Sky

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Heartbreaking, but yet. what a eye opening read for people not to make judgments. I loved the characters and how the author was able to intertwine the past with the present. At first it was a little confusing when there was no distinction between when it would switch over, but it actually added to the mystique of the storyline. 

I loved how Joseph had no time for Ruby because he thought she was a pretentious snob. Ruby thought he was a puzzle to figure out, but then again he seemed to dislike her and she had no clue why. Then they were put in close proximity by having to be in a vehicle! This should be good. 
The book and its fellow characters are strong and will not bore you at all.

I would definitely recommend this book.

I received a free advanced copy from NetGalley and these are my willingly given thoughts and opinions.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully written tale of resilience, bravery, love and loyalty, Siobhan Curham’s Beyond This Broken Sky is a haunting, hopeful and emotional novel that is hard to put down and impossible to forget.

London 1940 and Hitler’s bombs fall mercilessly upon the streets of the capital leaving nothing but destruction and mayhem in their wake. For Ruby, a volunteer ambulance driver who spends her nights driving along pitch-dark roads during the blackout, every night brings with it its fair share of heartbreak and devastation. Ruby’s job is tough, but having put her duty to king and country before her own safety, she will do whatever it takes to help defeat the enemy in her own way by pulling survivors out of the rubble. When she is assigned to work alongside Joseph, Ruby is immediately impressed by his dedication to his job, however, she is taken aback by the fact that this man seems to be treated with disdain and suspicion by everyone he comes across. Joseph does not wear a uniform, however, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t take his duties seriously as she discovers when she sees him rescue a child from a derelict building at the eleventh hour. Ruby will move mountains to protect this valiant and kind-hearted man – even if it means putting herself in danger…

In 2019, recently divorced Edi has just moved to London to start a new life. Edi, however, feels lonely and lost – until she makes a startling discovery hidden under a loose floorboard in her attic. Edi uncovers a story of courage, danger and love stretching back to the 1940s and inspired by Ruby’s heroism, she vows to discover her entire story. But the more Edi uncovers, the more she realises that her new house holds the key to a starling wartime secret that could have serious repercussions eighty years later…

Siobhan Curham is a wonderful storyteller and in Beyond This Broken Sky, she has written a book that touches the heart and will have readers reaching for the tissues as they will find themselves completely immersed in this story of courage, war and the ties that bind. Her characters are so beautifully drawn that they will feel so real to the reader that it will be very difficult to say goodbye to them when the last page is turned.

Emotional, dramatic and beautifully atmospheric, Siobhan Curham’s Beyond This Broken Sky is a poignant, heart-breaking and absorbing tale readers are going to love.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond This Broken Sky by Siobhan Curham
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
.
Description from NetGalley...
“1940: 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…”
.
Thank you to @netgalley @bookouture for a digital copy in return for my honest review. 
.
Thank you @bookouture @SiobhanCurham for inviting me to their book tour. 
.
My thoughts...
The story is told in dual timelines set in the present day and in 1940. The present day timeline was merely there to bridge the gap between the past and present. It was a mix of themes: conscientious objector, women in the war, romance and mystery. I liked the message of reserving judgment and opening each other’s eyes to injustices.
Was this review helpful?
My Review
I am delighted to have come across author Siobhan Curham and her wonderful books.
Beyond This Broken Sky I found to be the most beautiful yet heartbreaking story....
We meet Ruby and Joseph in this story. 
Two characters who don't like each other too much when they first meet...
Quite different in nature but both eager to help during the war in any way they can.
Ruby is vivacious and outspoken, while Joseph is much more reserved.
We are taken right into the centre of the bombings in London with the storyline of Ruby being an ambulance driver and the absolute horror as it unfolds in front of them.
I loved the friendship that developed between the characters, so different in every way and each dealing with their own loss and trauma.
Siobhan tells this wonderful story through a dual timeline which gives us a great insight into what was the story of Ruby & Joseph, I loved it.
Told with such kindness and compassion too.
I found the story to be quite intense at times which stopped me from putting it down on a number of occasions.
Do pick this one up when you have a minute.
If you love the historical fiction genre most especially the war years like I do, then you will love this one.
So well worth your time 💕
Thank you kindly to Siobhan Curham Author 
And her publishers Bookouture for my copy of this book. Much appreciated.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond This Broken Sky is told in two times lines, the 1940s and 2019. In 1940 we meet Ruby, the owner of a large house in London. She rents out the top two floors to Joseph, a conscientious objector and Kitty and her husband Reg who is in the armed forces. Ruby is a rich single woman, who wants to do something with her life. She begins working with the ambulance service once the blitzkreig begins. Joseph, helps her to realize that there are a lot of people who are treated very poorly due to their station in life and she jumps in to help in her own way. The story in 2019 is that if Edi. Edi has recently moved to London for a job, leaving her marriage behind. She purchased the flat on the top floor of a large home in St. George's Square. She meets her housemates, Pearl a rather eccentric author and a same sex couple who go out of their way to help her adjust when she has an accident. Purchasing one of Pearl's older books, she finds herself immersed in a wartime story that has romance, death, war, social injustices and more.

I really liked the characters in this story, especially Ruby. She had a quick wit, a cutting tongue, a heart of gold and a lot of fear of closeness. She has some baggage that she needs to deal with and we will see her grow and change in this story. Kitty and Joseph were also caring, but with their own baggage and issues to deal with. Joseph was a conscientious objector, which I did not know much about. It was interesting to see the rationale behind his decision and what kind of toll that took on him. The present day story did not interest me as much, but I did like Edi and Pearl. We do see how these two stories tie together in the end. It always amazes me when I read about what the people who lived through the war had to endure. I enjoy historical fiction when I learn something and this one did that for me. The contributions that conscientious objectors often made to the war effort although being of the mind that they would never kill another, was not something I had really thought about before. Overall, this was a good story. Themes of caring, class structure, helping others, being true to our values and morals are all part of this story. There is also some domestic abuse and bullying that shed a light on the darker side of life. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially during WWII, and are looking for stories of those who were left behind to keep the home fires burning, then I recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond This Broken Sky is a unique historical fiction novel about the tenants of a flat during World War II and a woman in 2019 that just moves into the same flat. While going through her divorce, Edi buys her own flat in London. While searching the attic, she discovers something that causes her to be curious about the flat and past tenants. One of her neighbors is a published author, so Edi starts to read one of her novels. The novel is a romance during World War II but there is also darkness in the story. Edi finds clues that lead her to believe the story is true and tries to determine the truth from fiction. During World War II, Ruby and Joseph live in the flat and are opposites. Joseph doesn’t like Ruby and they are assigned to work in an ambulance together. Joseph discovers there is more to Ruby than just a shallow rich woman. Joseph opens Ruby’s eyes to injustices to the poor. Can they put their differences aside to fall in love or are they too different? The story switches between past day with Ruby and Joseph and present day with Edi until the connection is revealed at the end. I love Curham’s historical fiction novels and how they switch between the past and present. The past and present stories have an interesting connection. Domestic violence is present in Beyond This Broken Sky. I highly recommend Beyond This Broken Sky to fans of World War II novels.

Thank you Bookouture and NetGalley for Beyond This Broken Sky.
Was this review helpful?
I’d never read anything by Siobhan Curham prior to reading Beyond This Broken Sky but I will be rectifying that as I really enjoyed this book. It was very cleverly written in that it soon became apparent to me in that this was a book within a book and it’s when you come to that realisation you realise this is an astute mystery at its centre that you want to solve just as much as one of the characters, Edi in the present. This book highlights the strength of the human spirit in the face of war but also shows the remarkable women who put themselves in danger on the front line. In this case volunteering as ambulance drivers and first aiders during the Blitz. 

I’ve read countless books set during World War Two and this one was just that little bit different which brought a spark to a genre in which at times you can think what else can possibly be written about the war? At its core, there is a love story which deepens and grows as the story progresses. Although said characters stances and viewpoints are the very thing that could separate them. Beyond This Broken Sky is a dual timeline book set in the present day and in 1940. Straight away I will say the more modern day aspect of the story is very short. The chapters told from Edi’s viewpoint as she recuperates in her apartment after damaging her foot whilst searching in her attic are over before you settle into them. They really are mere stop gaps and fillers to bridge the gap between the past and present. It’s only as you near the end the significance of Edi’s discovery in the attic, and the seemingly increased presence of her neighbour Pearl around her as she recuperates, have any real forbearing on the overall story. 

Edi helps bind the two strands of the story together as she reads a book written by Pearl many years ago which only increases the number of questions she has following her discovery. Truthfully Edi’s own personal background had no real overall relevance to the story and I didn’t find it held my attention all that much but she was the catalyst that helped bring a love story and the truth of what happened so many years ago out into the open once again having being kept secret for so long. The sections of the book set in the past were definitely stronger and certainly had me more interested and engrossed.

The initial opening pages inform us of a soldier hiding in the bushes in the darkness observing. He knows how the story will end and at any moment he can choose to bring a life to a halt. The reader’s interest is instant piqued and you want to know what has brought him to this point? Why does he seem hell bent on finishing things? I guessed fairly early on who the actual soldier was and their reasons for appearing the way they do. As for what specifically happens I could never have dreamed of and the author did a brilliant job of telling this particularly story within the book that Edi is reading. 

Ruby Glenville, the main female character, seemed to have many strings to her bow and I felt for the majority of the book that she only gave us glimpses into her past life. The little titbits she drops into conversations every now and then suggest she has travelled widely and done exciting things and that still even though war has halted her gallop there is still an air of excitement and adventure within her. Still there is also a sense of despondency about her as she is still deeply affected by the loss of her father even though she was left with plenty of money and a house. He had been an entertainer and she visits his waxworks in Madame Tussauds, feeling she can still talk to him and remain close to him. I felt Ruby was kind of flighty and that she didn’t stick at one thing for very long but that war would soon put paid to that and she would have to do an awful lot of growing up and come to understand her position of privilege was lucky to be bestowed upon her.

Underneath it all Ruby does have a very kind heart and this is shown in the attention and care she gives to Kitty who rents an apartment from Ruby. Kitty does not have it easy as her husband is a bully and tyrant who inflicts such abuse upon Kitty. Ruby can see what is going on and is desperate for Kitty to break free as there is another source of love which would serve her much better. But Kitty is reluctant in fear of what the repercussions may be. Although Kitty does have a strong presence in the story, this book is really the story of Ruby and Joseph which starts hesitantly and builds into something remarkable and special despite the constant backdrop of war and the carnage the pair see. 

Theirs is not an easy friendship and they really rub each other up the wrong way when they first properly meet despite Joseph being Ruby’s tenant for some time. The sly remarks and barbs flow back and forth and their differing viewpoints in relation to the war only add to the tension simmering between them. There are plenty of misunderstandings and Ruby feels like she is always playing catch up and trying to impress him, yet at the same time she is trying to stop herself doing this. Volunteering as ambulance drivers during the Blitz literally throws them together and the sights they see alter both their viewpoints and force both of them to revaluate their perspectives. In doing so will they pull further apart or draw closer together?

Joseph was different from any male character I had read about before in that he didn’t enlist to go and fight for his country. He was a conscientious objector and was judged for this stance and to be honest I judged him too. He was a pacifist and against all violence and the specific reasons for this do become clear further into the book. I thought he really should have gone and did his bit for his country like millions of other men. It would take some explanation in order for me to alter my opinion, but the author does go on to state and flesh out the reasons why Joseph had chosen to remain at home. I could see their validity but there was a part of me even by the end of the book which thought he should have gone away to fight. But then if he had he would perhaps have never met Ruby and the interesting story I read would never have occurred. 

Joseph doesn’t want to sit back and do nothing while so many innocent people are in danger so he volunteers for the same organisation as Ruby. This job gives both of them a sense of purpose. The descriptions of the raids as bombs fall on the city of London and the destruction, pain and loss left in their wake were brilliant and really helped bring the story to life. This also helped bring Joseph and Ruby closer together as they were having shared experiences, and this allowed them both to overcome their fears and perhaps share love? I thought Ruby went a bit off track in the last quarter at one particular point before finding her equilibrium once again. She made a very foolish decision and I didn’t fully understand her reasoning behind it. I thought it was just inflicting unnecessary pain on herself when this is something she had tried to avoid since the death of her father. I questioned her judgement in regard to this and hoped she would see sense and reason.

The last few chapters of this book were brilliant, packed full of action and tension and you are left open mouthed in shock and disbelief at what is unfolding. I was desperately wishing something not to be true and thinking how could the author do this? It showed how cleverly plotted the entire novel had been, more so in the sections set back during the war but still overall this made for a very good read. Admittedly, it’s a quick read but I suppose that’s a good thing as it shows how engrossed I became with it. I’m looking forward to discovering more of Siobhan Curham’s work in the future but I do suggest you check out this book in the meantime.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed the author’s novel; An American in Paris so was looking forward to reading this book. Like a lot of historical fiction I’ve read the story is split between now and the past, in this case WWII. The author uses a story-within-a-story device I haven’t come across before when Edi finds a book written by her elderly neighbour set during WWII. The story is gripping, the characters seem to be made of flesh and blood and some of the locations seem to be based on real places in London. Is the novel based on a true story? I got pulled into the book within a few pages and it refused to let go until I reached the end.
Was this review helpful?
Having really enjoyed An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham, I couldn’t resist Beyond This Broken Sky, even though it’s set in London, during the Blitz, rather than in France. It was a wise move on my part. 
 
This is another gripping historical novel from an author who I can’t wait to read more from. 
 
We join Ruby, Kitty and Joseph, three very different personalities, from different backgrounds, all living in converted flats in the same house in Pimlico. As Hitler launches his daily bombing campaign on London in 1940, to begin with there is fear and fatigue at the nightly disruptions, but it doesn’t take long for their fighting spirit to come into play, and thrown together by the Blitz and their volunteer work, they soon start to bring out the best in each other. 
 
These three are great fun characters, especially the almost-irritating quirkiness of Ruby, who gave me many smiles as I was reading, even in the darkest of situations where my heart was in my mouth. We all need a bit of Ruby in our lives and her way with words and outlook on life will, I am sure, stay with me. My heart went out to Kitty, who just needed friendship and love to free her from her fears, something Ruby is determined to achieve, and Joseph was in some ways an unlikely hero, but just right in others. Ruby and Joseph were so different, yet so similar, and her journey as she discovers what really matters in life, thanks in no small part to his influence, really warmed me. 
 
There were many white-knuckle moments as I gripped my kindle, almost afraid to carry on, and my stomach dropped into my boots at one point, as I really couldn’t believe what I’d read. I got so engrossed in the events happening in 1940 that I totally forgot there was also the 2019 storyline to follow too. Here, the more Edi discovers about her new neighbours, the more convinced she is that there is a mystery to solve. 
 
This book gave me so much in terms of emotions, suspense and humour, as well as clever twists and turns before the plot revealed itself, it left me with a big smile on my face and a contented, happy feeling.
 
If you enjoy emotional, historical novels, with that magic touch of something different, I am sure you will love Beyond This Broken Sky.
Was this review helpful?
Beyond This Broken Sky alternates between two timelines – London in 1940 and 2019 – and is narrated from three points of view.

Set at the height of the Blitz on London in September 1940, the wartime storyline is shared between Ruby Glenville, owner of a large house converted into flats, and one of her tenants, Joseph O’Toole.

Ruby and Joseph’s initial reaction is one of mutual dislike, emulating the formula used so successfully by Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice. While acknowledging her beauty, Joseph disapproves of what he sees as Ruby’s privileged life and the séances she holds, believing her guilty of deceiving those who take part. Meanwhile, Ruby, whilst noting his resemblance to Clark Gable, finds it difficult to overcome her distaste for Joseph’s pacifism, especially because of the impact on her deceased father of his experiences in the First World War.

I have to say I had some sympathy with Joseph’s view to begin with. From the evidence, Ruby’s séances are theatrical enterprises utilising the ventriloquism skills learned from her grandfather and the performance techniques passed on to her by her actor father. Her attempts to convince herself that her motivation is merely a desire to bring comfort to others doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny. Add to that her willingness to endure dinner with a man she describes as ‘an insufferable bore’ simply because it involves a trip to the Savoy Grill, and treating the news of the bombing of Burlington Arcade as a ‘personal affront’ because of the many afternoons she had spent there  purchasing a new silk scarf or perfume.

I began to warm a little more to Ruby as her protective instincts towards her friend and tenant, the ‘timid as a mouse’ Kitty, became evident and I shared Ruby’s view of Kitty’s husband as a particularly horrid specimen of manhood. Her efforts to inject a little happiness into Kitty’s life were laudable if, as it transpires, misguided. And I had to acknowledge Ruby’s bravery when she volunteers to become a member of an ambulance crew, a particularly dangerous occupation driving through the dark, bomb-damaged, streets of London. Eventually, both Ruby and Joseph are forced to question their previous beliefs.

In the modern day storyline, Edi recently divorced from husband Marty, is now living in the top floor apartment of a house in an exclusive square. Narrated in the first person, this storyline was enlivened for me by Edi’s friendship with Pearl, her downstairs neighbour. The formidable and rather eccentric Pearl is the owner of an extensive library and also an author, most recently of mysteries but previously of a book set in wartime London. When Edi acquires a copy of the  latter the two storylines begin to merge. So much so that it becomes a touch metafictional as Edi reads in Pearl’s book the thoughts of its female protagonist that she had ‘lived her entire adult life as if she were the heroine in a story of her own creation.’

I confess the wartime storyline held the most interest for me, with the modern day story feeling as if it was merely a framing device. Like Edi as she reaches the final chapters of Pearl’s book, I found myself keen to get back to the wartime story and find out how it ends.  I thought the author did a great job of conveying the atmosphere of London during the Blitz, such as this dramatic description of what Ruby and Joseph experience one night whilst out on call in the ambulance. ‘The sky up ahead of them was now ablaze with searchlights, tracer bullets and parachute flares and, every so often, the blinding flash of white light as a bomb exploded.  It was like a surreal storm in a surreal nightmare that just wouldn’t end.’

The romance element of the book was touching and no doubt representative of many a snatched wartime relationship. I also liked the way the author took the opportunity to point out the differences between the experiences of the privileged and those less fortunate during the Blitz, such as the lack of provision of proper underground shelters in the poorer parts of London.  And I certainly wasn’t aware The Savoy had its own rather sumptuously fitted out shelter for the use of hotel guests or that, initially, people were forbidden from taking shelter in Underground stations during air raids.

Beyond This Broken Sky will appeal to fans of dual time stories that combine a wealth of period detail, an element of mystery, a touch of melodrama and a generous helping of romance.
Was this review helpful?
This amazing story is a wonderful must read.  I love time slip novels especially ones that revolve around World War II, and this one written by Siobhan Curham swept me away.

The stunning cover was the first thing that captured my attention to this book.  But once I started the story I couldn’t put it down. It is definitely a book you can’t help but to devour it in one sitting.  I absolutely loved the story of Ruby and her connection to Joseph.  She would do anything to defend him, his character and his namesake.  Joseph is seen by people as someone to be suspicious of, but Ruby works with Joseph and sees his bravery and compassion to help  others.  As the story continues it transports you from 1940 WWII to 2019 in London.  Eli purchases a house and finds a mystery beneath a loose floorboard in the attic.  Eli discovers the past of a woman that lived in the house in the 1940’s who’s name was Ruby.  Eli realizes the secrets from the war lingering in her house and why her decision on what to do next is one of the biggest decisions she will ever make.

The twists and turns of this novel will have you up all night flying through the pages.  I was so enthralled that it has surely become one of my favorites.  This needs to be a must read at the top of your to be read list. Thank you Siobhan Curham for this phenomenal story, I absolutely loved it.
Was this review helpful?
Every time I read a new book by Siobhan Curham I fall a little bit more in love with this authors wonderful writing style.

Following the story of Ruby, a young woman who has taken on a rather dangerous volunteering roll driving the ambulances down dark roads throughout the blackouts, she certainly seems to have a very strong mindset to take on such a job, something I am sure most of us would avoid.

Whilst helping save lives, a man called Joseph joins her team. As most of the men have gone off to fight in the war, Joseph certainly attracts the attention from the locals, but all Ruby cares about is his willingness to save lives alongside her – and when she learns of his reasons to stay behind, she takes it upon herself to stand up for this man.

Fast forward to 2019 where we meet Edi, a recently divorced woman who has moved to London in search of a new life for herself. Whilst aquainting herself with her new home, Edi discovers something hidden beneath the floorboards in the loft, something which allows her to connect with the people who occupied this house throughout the war.

This is the perfect distraction for Edi, as she loses herself within this war time love story and follows the tales of sorrow and deceit through the letters left behind.

I fell in love with this book instantly. The story is told in such a poignant way, it really pulls you in to the lives of the characters you encounter throughout it, and gives you a real sense of how troubling their lives must have been living through these years. The characters are wonderfully developed and have detailed personalities, each of them having their own unique story to share with hs along the way.

I adored the dual timeline in which this story was told. It really allows the reader to connect with both the past and present occupants of the house, and you can truly feel the emotions in which these characters experience throughout.

An emotional, utterly captivating story that I lost myself in. I loved everything about this book.
Was this review helpful?
I love world war books and this one is no exception.

It has two timeline 1940s and 1999.

It kept the pace going all throughout the book and had some heartbreaking moments in the book.

This kept me interested from the first page all the way to the end.
Was this review helpful?
Set in two time lines from 1940 and 2019 onwards this tells the story of two women. Ruby is in 1940 and has had a privileged upbringing never having had to work. With war upon the country there is a need for help and she and Joseph- someone who lives in the same house which is divided up into flats) volunteer as ambulance drivers. Joseph is a conscientious objector but feels helping the injured is a step forward. Ruby has been able to drive for many years but come the ambulance test she is given a massive lorry to drive. 2019 and Edi has moved into the top floor flat of her new home having left her husband at long last. She bumps into Pearl who lives downstairs and Pearl tells her that she is an author. Curiosity gets the better of Edi and orders one of Pearls books which is about 3 friends who share a house but there is murderous intent along the way. When Edi accidentally finds a hidden army shirt in her loft with possible blood stains and a bullet hole- could fiction really have been true? I really enjoyed this. A different read with interesting characters and I learnt a little more about the war years. Who knew that the Savoy had its own shelter complete with a dance floor ,that in the early war years the Eastend had fewer shelters and that vagrants were not allowed in. A wonderful, very enjoyable informative read.

(amazon done- misfits farm)
Was this review helpful?
Told in two time lines, the 1940s and 1999, this story evolves as Edi, a soon to be divorced woman, rents an apartment in London and encounters Pearl, an author. Curious to learn about the gregarious Pearl, and her books, Edi purchases one of her books whose setting is in that very same building Edi currently lives in. Curious about what just might be in the attic, Edi finds some things that piques her attention, and starts Edi on a journey into the past inside the pages of Pearl's book.

There is a rich history in many families coming across generations who had relatives who fought in World War 2. If their stories are shared, we begin to understand the sacrifices, the bravery, and the true grit and stamina, so many displayed.

In this story, we meet Ruby, an upper class British young woman who had lots of opportunities to see the world, she possesses a quick witty tongue and is not afraid to speak her mind. She owns a building where tenants live and being a bit on the bossy and friendly side, she is drawn to the people living there.

Challenged by one of her tenants, a conscientious objector, named Joseph, she enlists herself into the ambulance corps rescuing people fallen by the Blitz bombing, side by side with Joseph. They develop a relationship of sorts, each one learning important lessons from one another. Amid the gruesomeness of war, they find a common bond, each endeavoring to help their fellow man.

Also living in the building is another couple, where the husband is off to war, but when he comes home for leave, he brutalizes his wife, Kitty.  Along the way, Ruby encourages Kitty to embrace the care and devotion of another man, the local butcher, and forget about her abusive husband. As Kitty does, and as feelings develop between Ruby and Joseph, we find both tension and danger lurking and learn not all enemies are those we are fighting against, but there often exists others that are home grown.

This was an interesting story that made me ponder and realize the contributions that conscientious objectors often made to the war effort, being of the mind that they would never kill another. What people endured during this time is both amazing and affirms the strength particularly that of the British populace during the Blitzkrieg of their homeland.

I recommend this story to those who enjoy the drama of the war mixed in with bits of history and family tales. It was definitely a different take on the war and the mingling of the past and present.
Was this review helpful?
Just absolutely beautiful. Loved loved loved this amazing book. Poignant, heart breaking and yet joyful. Celebrating beauty and love in the midst of war
 A wonderful book, one to savour and reread. Please do read this one. It is an ansolute triumph.
Was this review helpful?
It was London in 1940 and Ruby had just volunteered for the ambulance service, working through the night with the bombers flying overhead, dropping their bombs, hoping all the while that she would live to see another day. Her driver, Joseph, also lived in one of the apartments in her building and although they hadn’t started off on the right foot, she was warming to him, as he’d proven over and over what a kind, compassionate man he was. As the days blended into weeks, the horror of war didn’t leave them. The survivors were overcome; those who didn’t survive cut Ruby to her core. They did all they could and sometimes it wasn’t enough. The Blitz was ongoing and never-ending.

When Edi moved to the centre of London in 2019, she hoped she would have a new start away from Marty, her husband of ten years and soon to be divorced ex-husband. The apartment was lovely, the other inhabitants made her feel welcome. But when she ventured into the attic one afternoon, she found something which would send her on a heartbreaking journey to find out more about previous tenants…

Beyond This Broken Sky by Siobhan Curham is a gripping, intense story of heartbreak and love, of courage and strength, of terror and intimidation – it’s my first by this author and I’d like to read more. Set in the two time periods, I enjoyed the 1940 days best, seeing Ruby grow from her ditzy self to a caring friend, also seeing how much Kitty changed. A thoroughly enjoyable read which I highly recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I always really enjoy reading a book of Siobhan Curham’s - the details of the historical elements are so vividly described and her characters brilliantly engaging. The dual timeline works really well with Ruby’s wartime story linking nicely with Edi and Pearl in the present. The mystery element in Edi’s timeline adds a nice touch of intrigue and creates just enough tension to move the story along at pace.
Was this review helpful?
In 1940 London, Ruby, Kitty and Joseph face the Blitz together but in unique ways. Ruby uses her sunny disposition to cope with tragedy. Kitty relies on friendship. Joseph becomes a conscientious objector and ambulance driver. Will these three friends survive the war with their lives and dreams intact?
In 2019 London, Edi eagerly reads the story of Ruby, Kitty and Joseph as she recovers from a broken ankle and a broken marriage. Based on an old shirt she found in her loft, she wonders if the story is in fact based on real events. Only her landlord Pearl can tell her for sure. Will Edi discover the truth in time?
"Beyond This Broken Sky" shares a story of the strength of the human spirit. It's also a romance novel, which isn't clear until the second half, most of which I skimmed. Based on the beginning, I thought it was a mystery. While romance isn't my preferred genre, I enjoyed the story, and the writing makes the story easy to read. There are also plenty of funny parts that made me laugh out loud. I connected emotionally with the characters,too, and appreciated their interactions. I wouldn't search out additional books by this author, but I did enjoy this book.
Note: trigger warnings include war violence, death, profanity, and some sexual content.
Was this review helpful?