Fallen Skies

A Novel

Fallen Skies

Can a family's mannered traditions and cool emotions erase the horrors of war from a young couple's past?

Now back in print from New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory, Fallen Skies takes readers to post-World War I England in a suspenseful story about the marriage of a wealthy war hero and an aspiring singer he barely knows.

Lily Valance is determined to forget the horrors of the war by throwing herself into the decadent pleasures of the 1920s and pursuing her career as a music hall singer. When she meets Captain Stephen Winters, a decorated veteran, she's immediately drawn to his wealth and status. And Stephen, burdened by his guilt over surviving the Flanders battlefields where so many soldiers perished, sees the possibility of forgetting his anguish in Lily, but his family does not approve.

Lily marries Stephen, only to discover that his family's façade of respectability conceals a terrifying combination of repression, jealousy and violence. When Stephen's terrors merge dangerously close with reality, the truth of what took place in the mud and darkness brings him and all who love him to a terrible reckoning.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 528 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416593140 | 
  • December 2008
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide includes suggested questions that are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 

Questions for Discussion

1.      Discuss the D. H. Lawrence quote from Lady Chatterley’s Lover that opens Fallen Skies. How does this epigraph relate to the novel’s title? How have the skies fallen for Stephen and Lily?

2.  Stephen is first attracted to Lily because she reminds him of the time before the war. “She looks like there had never been a war” (page 4). He thinks she will help him forget the atrocities he witnessed and committed. Why do you think his marriage to Lily fails to clear his conscience and erase his nightmares? Were his expectations of her unrealistic?

3. “A solitary rebel, [Lily] pretended that the war, which overshadowed her childhood and drained it of joy, did not exist” (page 34). Do you think Lily’s efforts to ignore the war and its aftermath helped her to survive difficult times or failed to prepare her for reality?

4. Coventry and Rory are literally silenced as a result of their wartime experiences. Discuss each man’s muteness and eventual recovery.  What do you think helped each man to reclaim his ability to speak?
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Behind the Book

More Books from this Author

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Order of Darkness Volumes I-III
The White Princess

About the Author

Philippa Gregory
Photo credit Santi U

Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her work has been adapted for the screen in The Other Boleyn Girl movie and the critically acclaimed STARZ miniseries The White Queen and The White Princess. Her most recent novel is The Last Tudor. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds two honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and was awarded the 2016 Harrogate Festival Award for Contribution to Historical Fiction. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.


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