First sentence: I have four and a half hours to live. I am leaning against the wing of the yellow-bellied Airspeed Oxford, smoking contentedly while the ground crew chaps run their final checks. The freezing rain hisses as it hits the glowing coal of my cigarette, drums softly on the tin roof of the hangar. Call me Johnnie, by the way. Everyone does.
Premise/plot: The Beauty Chorus tells the story of Evie Chase, Stella Grainger, and Megan Jones three (fictional) pilots who ferried planes for the ATA. (Air Transport Auxiliary) The three join up at the same time and live together in a small cottage.
The book focuses more on their personal lives and off hours--recreational hours--than their time in the skies. Though much of their dialogue is talking about how much they love, love, love flying and how happy they are to serve Britain. For those that love historical ROMANCE with highlights of war drama, this is a satisfying read cover to cover. For those that are looking for WAR DRAMA with little tolerance for romance, may find it disappointing.
My thoughts: I really LOVED this one. I love books with a World War II setting. I enjoy books set in Britain. I enjoy romance novels. There were so many reasons that this would be a perfect perfect fit for me. And it was. It isn't a squeaky clean read. But the characterization so strong and the actual graphic bits so small a percentage--that I didn't mind it at all. I could feel giddy without guilt. I am speaking of my own personal preferences. I know that every single reader is different and has different likes, dislikes, expectations, and standards. My tastes are my tastes.
She raised her cup of tea. ‘Well, here’s to the ATA and here’s to us.’ ‘The Always Terrified Airwomen?’ Evie said drolly. ‘I think I prefer “the beauty chorus”.’ ‘Rather that than “Ancient and Tattered”.’ Stella held Evie’s gaze as Megan enthusiastically tucked into her roast beef. ‘Do you think we’ll cope?’
Shackleton talked of his fourth man. TS Eliot wrote of the other who walks beside you. We who have gone before are with you when you need us most. We are there holding our dying sons on the battlefields and beaches as they drown in their own blood. These women are my daughters, my sisters, and I shall be ‘the other’ flying with them, until this is over and we have won our peace.
© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews