BOOK REVIEW: A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean

Title: A Fire Sparkling
Author: Julianne MacLean
Publication: August 1, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 424

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

After a crushing betrayal by the man she loves, Gillian Gibbons flees to her family home for a much-needed escape, but when she finds an old photograph of her grandmother in the arms of a Nazi officer, Gillian’s life gets even more complicated. Rattled by the discovery, Gillian attempts to unravel the truth behind the photos, setting her off on an epic journey through the past…

1939. England is on the brink of war as Vivian Hughes falls in love with a handsome British official, but when bombs begin to fall and Vivian’s happy life is destroyed in the blitz, she will do whatever it takes to protect those she loves…

As Gillian learns more about her grandmother’s past, the old photo begins to make more sense. But for every question answered, a new one takes its place. Faced with a truth that is not at all what she expected, Gillian attempts to shine a light not only on the mysteries of her family’s past but also on her own future.

This gorgeously written multigenerational saga is a heart-wrenching yet hopeful examination of one woman’s struggle to survive, perfect for fans of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky.


I had never heard of this book before it was chosen as my book club book.  While I had never heard of it, it was definitely something that I would have read if I knew about it.  The back blurb was interesting and the front cover was something that would have drawn me in.  The London skyline with bombers and what I am assuming is smoke from the London Blitz. I was rather excited to read it. Once I started it I had to force myself to enjoy it at a respectable speed and not race through it.

Gillian was celebrating her boyfriends 50th birthday when she walked in on him with his pants down and the blonde on his lap bouncing away.  She immediately goes home and packs some of her clothes.  She heads to a hotel for the night.   The next morning she calls her Dad in Connecticut and asks if she can come stay for a few days.  He tells her yes and that he has something he wants to show her anyway.  He found some pictures hidden.  At this point in the book, I had no clue where it was going to go. I did know, however, that I was so mad at Gillian’s “boyfriend” for testing other waters. Later in the evening, they approach her grandma about the photos and she launches into a magnificent story.  Her story still gives me goosebumps.

As her Grandma continues her story, I found myself getting lost in it.  I felt like I was there as the house was getting bombed in the Blitz.  The whole story was amazing.  I didn’t see any of the events coming.  I don’t want to spoil it and tell you all the twists and turns along the way. The author kept me guessing until the very end of the book about what actually happened.  I have already recommended this book to several other people.  I am also putting it in my top 10 book roundup that I will do at the end of the year. 


Pick up your copy of A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add the book to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out other books from author Julianne MacLean on her website here!

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