Kelley Moulton, Regional History Librarian, recommends Nineteen Steps by Millie Bobby Brown.
Best known for her role as Eleven in the Netflix original Stranger Things, Millie Bobby Brown is stepping into a new role, this time as an author. Her debut novel, Nineteen Steps, brings pieces of history from both the world stage as well as from her family’s history into a story about a small group of individuals living in London during World War II.
Brown takes us through time, starting in 1993 and then back to 1943 as we follow the lead character Nellie Morris in her daily life living under the threat of the Germans and air raid sirens.
But what is a life of fear and threat without a little romance to break up the day?
A potential bus accident lands Nellie into the arms of an American airman, Ray. Yet World War II, even in a book, leads to more than its share of heartbreak and trauma.
Now for the warning: Tears were spilled reading this book. I will also confess that I am one of those people who must read the last chapter when I am a quarter to halfway through to determine if I will keep reading, thus I was slightly prepared for what happened but that made very little difference in the end.
Overall, I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, and I recommend it (as long as you are properly warned to have the tissue if you cry over books like me). It focused much more on the life of an individual just trying to do her part and survive the harrowing time that was London between 1943 and 1945 than the actual fighting and the pure romance that other novels of this variety focus on.
I also learned more than I anticipated. Brown brings in an event that happened in the Bethnal Green tube station that I personally had never heard about, and I take that as the sign of a good historical fiction book.