Losing Julia

Written by Jonathan Hull
Review by Tess Allegra

For a first novel, Losing Julia is an amazingly well crafted story. The tale opens as World War I veteran Patrick Delaney, in a seniors’ home, looks back on his life. His idealistic youth was spent fighting the horrors of war and living with the biggest sacrifice he ever made: losing Julia, the love of his life and his best friend Daniel’s widow. Daniel died on the field of battle just before Julia gave birth to their child. Patrick meets her ten years after the war, honoring the WWI dead in Paris, where they discover their passion for one another.

This is a story of love and loss, yet the story does not lose itself in sentimentality. Rather, the passion and love are tempered by the realities of war and death. Three narratives are deftly interwoven, and they carry the reader from present to past with a sense that we are there.

Despite being a novel of loneliness and loss, there is also levity and not a little lust as Patrick, exiled to the seniors’ home, finds he still has urges and feelings though he cannot do anything about them. His observations on the later years of life add humor to what could have been a morose setting. One word that comes to mind to describe this novel is “haunting.” It is worth more than one reading.