Review: The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner


Title: The Daughter of Victory Lights

Author: Kerri Turner

Published: January 20th 2020, HQ Fiction

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read January 2020 courtesy HQ Fiction


My Thoughts:

The Daughter of Victory Lights is a captivating historical fiction novel from Kerri Turner.

When World War II ends, Evelyn Bell is reluctant to return to civilian life having served in the country’s only all- female searchlight regiment protecting London from German bombers. A chance encounter at a fair introduces her to Victory, a unique floating cabaret show, and she accepts the owner’s invitation to join them to work with the performance lights, despite the vehement protests of her family.

Evie delights in her new role, and the friendships she forms, but working and living in such close quarters leads to unexpected complications, and devastating consequences.

Evelyn proved to be an appealing protagonist, I’d not heard of the all-female searchlight regiment before, and was intrigued by the part she and the other women played in the war effort. Evie’s disappointment in losing her autonomy and returning to live under her sister’s repressive roof was understandable, as was her yearning to put what she had learnt to use.

I was completely charmed by the author’s vivid depiction of the Victory and their risqué performances. I thought it was particularly impressive of the author to create Victory based on an imaginative amalgamation of burlesque shows, tramp steamers, and floating theatres. It seemed entirely plausible to me that such a ship would exist post war.

Turner keeps the focus on four main characters that come to mean the most to Evie aboard the boat, Victory’s owner, Humphrey Walsh, his lead performer, Bee, Alvin, who performs as a fire breather, and his best friend and fellow vet, Flynn. Evie surprises herself by falling in love with Flynn, but tormented by his experience of war as a Graves Registration officer, their relationship is a tempestuous affair.

When the narrative leaps ahead ten years, Turner introduces a young girl named Lucy who is living with her aunt. The subject of scorn and ridicule from both her family and her peers, Lucy isn’t happy, but when an unfamiliar man appears and whisks Lucy away to the Isle of Wight claiming he is taking her to live with her father she is, and remains, apprehensive about this new life. This poignant half of the novel reveals the fate of the Victory, and young Lucy’s struggle to understand the parents she never knew.

Beautifully crafted, with vivid descriptions, engaging characterisation, and attention to historical detail, The Daughter of Victory Lights is a delight.


Available from HQ Fiction

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Barrett
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 09:17:53

    What a lovely review! Thanks Shelleyrae. I have this one on my review too.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Helen Murdoch
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 10:46:50

    I have never heard of the searchlight regiment either. What an intriguing story.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Garrulous Gwendoline
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 15:01:29

    I love books which introduce me to something new, and I had definitely not heard of a female Searchlight Regiment. I heard Turner speak at the Heroine’s Festival at Thirroul last year, and that prompted me to read her debut, The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, which I can also recommend.



  4. Marg
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 20:51:05

    This sounds interesting!



  5. Veronica @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 22:19:28

    I loved this too, for all the same reasons. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Lisa
    Jan 22, 2020 @ 04:18:48

    Sounds terrific! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person


  7. waytoofantasy
    Jan 22, 2020 @ 11:56:09

    This looks good! It’s been a while since I read a historical fiction, I should add this one to my list.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Davida Chazan
    Jan 24, 2020 @ 20:47:13

    Ah… this sounds good. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person


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