Blackout and All Clear

This book duo from Connie Willis blew my mind. A must-read. | A book review from Newbery and Beyond

Dear Connie Willis, I am so sorry I waited so long to read another of your books after reading To Say Nothing of the Dog. I loved that book, but I couldn’t bring myself to pick up your 500+ page tomes until recently. And oh my gosh, they blew my mind.

Blackout and All Clear were apparently originally slated to be one book. Clocking in at over 1,000 pages total, I can definitely see why the author chose to divide her story into two books rather than one. But as I said in my top books of 2015, I only wish they could have been longer. These books take place in the same universe as To Say Nothing of the Dog, a world of time travel centered in 2060 Oxford, and they are sweet, funny, sad, and totally engaging.

In Blackout, we meet the main characters, all of whom are working as time traveling historians to WWII: Eileen, who is working with evacuated children; Michael, on a mission to find the everyday heroes of WWII; and Polly, who is posing as a shopgirl in the midst of the London Blitz. But when things start going wrong with their drops, the three must band together to survive the most dangerous part of the war and hopefully make it back to their own time. All Clear continues that story, watching as the friends band together, along with the courageous people of London, to survive without affecting the outcome of the war.

The story is fascinating, the characters are relatable, and the setting is fantastic. I’m a huge fan of any fiction related to World War II, and this book duo has taken its rightful spot near the top of my list. I laughed, I cried, I read with a hot cup of tea and drank in the utter Britishness of the book. There is nothing not to love about these books. They are a must read. I can’t wait to see what else Connie Willis has in store (Doomsday Book, I’m coming for you)!

Rating: Re-read Worthy

About Monica

I am obsessed with all things books. I'm a music teacher by day and a freelance editor by night.

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