Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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Waters (Fingersmith) applies her talent for literary suspense to WWII-era London in her latest historical. She populates the novel with ordinary people overlooked by history books and sets their individual passions against the chaotic background of extraordinary times. There are Kay, a "night watch" ambulance driver; her lover, Helen; two imprisoned conscientious objectors, upper-class Fraser and working-class Duncan; Duncan's sister, Viv; Viv's married soldier-lover, Reggie; and Julia, a building inspector-cum-mystery novelist. The novel works backward in time, beginning in 1947, as London emerges from the rubble of war, then to 1944, a time of nightly air raids, and finally to 1941, when the war's end was not in sight. Through all the turmoil on the world stage, the characters steal moments of love, fragments of calm and put their lives on the line for great sex and small kindnesses. Waters's sharply drawn page-turner doesn't quite equal the work of literary greats who've already mapped out WWII-era London. But she matches any of them with her scene of two women on the verge of an affair during a nighttime bombing raid, lost in blackout London with only the light of their passion as a guide. (Mar. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Waters trots from Victorian England, the setting of her previous award-winning and -nominated novels (e.g., Tipping the Velvet), to 1940s London. Even as the Blitz rages, three women and one man cross paths repeatedly as friends and lovers. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Waters' new novel is a departure from her previous yarn, the gripping Victorian thriller ingersmith (2002). This one visits a group of characters in World War II-era London at three different points in their lives: in the aftermath of the war, during its height, and the early days of the war. Waters' narrative moves backward, beginning in 1947 before turning to 1944 and then 1941. The format introduces the characters while gradually revealing the intricacies of how they are all connected. Vivian is a vibrant young woman in love with a married solider. Her brother, Duncan, is drifting through life after spending the years during the war in jail. Helen is worried her relationship with Julia is crumbling. Kay wanders aimlessly, searching for purpose in a broken city. All are affected and irrevocably changed by the war. Readers will be tempted to return to the beginning of Waters' elegant novel after turning the final page to fully appreciate the depth of the characters and their connections to each other. --Kristine Huntley Copyright 2006 Booklist


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In this moody, atmospheric novel, Man Booker Prize nominee Waters (Fingersmith) moves past the demimonde of Victorian England to World War II and its aftermath. The lives of four Londoners-Viv, Kay, Helen, and Duncan-intersect as they cope with the war and their personal lives over the course of six years. Each character is trapped by past events having trouble adjusting to peace after so much physical and personal destruction. Viv can't move past a troubled relationship; Kay seeks a purpose in life after the heroism of driving an ambulance; Helen is consumed with jealousy for her lover (and Kay's ex), Julia; and Duncan, having spent much of the war incarcerated, remains in a prison of his own making. Waters's depiction of daily life during the shelling-the random deaths, privations, and breakdowns in social roles between class and gender-is vivid and compelling. Night Watch is structurally more complex than her previous works, but the astonishing period detail and focus on the forgotten corners of society remain. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/05.]-Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.