Historical fiction lovers, it’s been a while since I treated you to a review. Well, here is something just for you.
Clouds of Love and War by Rachel Billington
Eddie and Eva meet on the eve of the Second World War. Eddie only wants to be a flyer, to find escape in the clouds from his own complicated family. However, the Battle of Britain makes a pilot’s life a dangerous way to flee reality. Eva has her own passionate longing: to become a painter. When Eva’s Jewish mother disappears to Germany, she is left alone with her elderly father. Both Eddie and Eva come of age at a time that teaches them that happiness is always fleeting, but there are things worth living – or dying – for. Through the connecting stories of these young people and their wider families, and against a background of southern county airfields, London, Oxford, Dorset, and France, Rachel Billington brings the world of wartime England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.
My favorite era for reading historical fiction is the time around WWII. However, as you can imagine, after reading many of these types of books, things can become repetitive. So, I was happy to be provided with a different angle in Clouds of Love and War.
Let’s discuss some of the things that were different for me. For one, I usually just hear from the woman. It was interesting to have the story alternate between Eddie and Eva, especially considering Eddie was still stationed in the UK and was fighting the war from there. Usually you only really learn about the male love interest from the woman and he only appears at the end of the book or for a short time while on leave.
I’ve also never really read much about the British fighter pilots. Eddie’s chapters are well-written in terms of what it’s like to be in the sky and fighting, as well as the struggle of losing friends and that smack of realism when the realisation of being at war finally sinks in.
However, one thing that fell flat for me was the romance between Eddie and Eva. They just didn’t seem suited to one another. Perhaps the fact that I couldn’t really take to Eddie skewed my vision of their love story but, nevertheless, they didn’t warm my heart.
Clouds of Love and War is available to buy now.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.