Top critical review
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Romance versus authenticity
on 6 April 2012
I found this a bit of a book of two halves. It started in an interesting way but part way through it became more of a conventional love story. Lots of research went into this novel and it does honour the women and men of the ATA. I liked the unusual voice of a "ghost" character in the early chapters. The book might have been more interesting if this theme had continued throughout. For me, most of the characters did not behave in a believable way and were there just to serve the plot. When challenged about their flying ability or the honour of their ladies, men tend to say through clenched teeth "Why, you...." before landing a punch. For people engaged in war work demanding great personal discipline, this did not ring true to me. Rationing is mentioned here and there but no one seems at all affected by it; cakes appear, private swimming pools are kept heated at all times, drink flows. One of the less pleasant characters makes a fuss about a restaurant bill but meals were restricted to five shillings in the war so this did not ring true either. I found it quite irritating and the ending was rushed and melodramatic.
Ultimately, this is a wet weekend/beach read love story and if you like slightly improbable romances with a nod at authentic period background you will like this book. If you want to find out more about the ATA Girls, read Debs at War by Anne de Courcy or Spreading my Wings by Diana Barnato Walker.