Lucia’s War

She dared present herself to a world not ready for her


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London, 1950. Soprano Lucia Percival has overcome racism and many obstacles to become a renowned opera singer. She is now due to perform her last concert. But she has no intention of going onstage. A terrible secret from her service during the First World War has finally caught up with her.

London, 1917. Lucia, a young Jamaican exile, hopes to make it as a musician. But she is haunted by a tragic separation that is still fresh in her memory – and when she meets Lilian, an old woman damaged by a similar wartime loss, she agrees to a pact that could destroy everything she has fought so hard to achieve.

From the Western Front and the mean streets of Glasgow, to black society in London, Lucia’s story tells a tale of music, motherhood, loss and redemption.


Read it and love it as I have…an absolute triumph of research seamlessly worked into storytelling. Black history in the war years: love, loss and redemption. A book for our times. I loved it!

Cauvery Madhavan, author of The Tainted

...full of twists & turns. A fascinating story of a Jamaican exile who becomes a successful opera singer, trying to make her way in the early to mid 1900s . But her past haunts her until the very last page of this novel.

Sinead Moriarty, bestselling author of Seven Letters, The Good Mother and many more

a truly stunning piece of storytelling…explores war, grief, motherhood and the pain of forced adoption, as well as the institutional racism in society and the casual racism that Lucia faces daily. I loved seeing Britain during the Great War through Lucia’s eyes…An absolute five star choice for readers of historical fiction which will appeal to fans of  Bella Ellis’s Bronte Mysteries, Hazel Gaynor or Sebastian Barry. 

Lisa Redmond at Lisa Reads Books

This rags-to-riches story of a Black singer might seem similar to the experiences of some present-day artists, but its setting in the difficult post-WWI period makes it unique. Lanigan, writing in Lucia’s first-person voice, has admirably captured the racial prejudices and the hardships faced by Black youths, particularly in the UK.

Waheed Rabbani at the Historical Novel Society

Lucia’s War is one of those books that deserves a lot of recognition… I would definitely recommend people out there to check it out. You would not be disappointed! The book is one of my top reads this year, and I am happy to end the year on a good, bookish note.

Esha at Felix Felicitated

[A] very profound, intense and engrossing read, one that will appeal to all with an interest in history, in particular the social and cultural history of those fraught years of the early twentieth century.

Mairead at Swirl and Thread

Lucia is a woman who knows herself, what she wants and delivers a punch with her choices. As the story is set in times of war and a pandemic partially similar to today’s times you will find some solace in simpler times and the strength from its characters to deal with life or just lose yourself in a story which will make you feel good and maybe even hopeful towards life.

Bharti at 27 Book Street

Oh this book, where do I even begin? Lanigan has done the impossible and somehow weaved the language of music into this evocative story in such a way that it was almost as if I was listening to a poignant symphony that was as beautiful as it was violent.

Mary Anne Yarde, at The Coffee Pot Book Club (Highly Recommended Read)

[T]he depth of Lanigan’s historical research is evident. A who’s-who of Black and mixed-race musicians, writers and culturati of the time make appearances: Edmund Thornton Jenkins, Gwen Coleridge-Taylor, Evelyn Dove, Dr John Alcindor, Giovanni Barbirolli, the Southern Syncopated Orchestra and others. Lanigan’s writing evokes the sensation of the soundtracks.

Tamra at Great War 100 Reads

This was such a gorgeous account of wartime and its aftermath, of racist Britain, of a woman’s unfeasible fight to get what she wants. I’d wholeheartedly recommend it, with a warning that it will break your heart. 

Book Odyssey

A secret has caught up to the main character, Lucia, and an interview of her ‘true story’ kept me quickly swiping pages…An all around good read that reminded me how much I love Historical Fiction.

Jennie Rosenblum at Jennie Reads

Lucia’s love of singing is the bright light in this book and I found myself willing her to succeed despite all the obstacles she faced. The book is well written and full of historical detail.

Karen at Karen K is Reading

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