Delighted to be here today as part of the BOOKOLLECTIVE Blog Tour to share my thoughts on this absorbing new book! My thanks to the author, publisher and Bookollective team for my copy of the book and letting me share my thoughts on the tour!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Occasionally panoramic, more often intimate, in Clouds of Love and War author Rachel Billington balances a detailed and highly researched picture of the life of a Second World War Spitfire pilot with the travails and ambitions of a young woman too often on her own. The result is both a gripping story of war and a sensitive story of love, a love that struggles to survive.
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 war time England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.
PUBLISHED BY UNIVERSE
This is a book full of hope, heartbreak and heroes. And I adored every single page! I didn't really know what to expect when I started it, as I was just seduced by the beautiful cover! But once I started reading, I fell for the simplicity and compassion of the characters as their stories are played out amidst the back drop of the Second World War.
It really focuses well on the family dynamics - the differing of opinions and outlooks on life across the generations as War breaks out. Young Eddie is desperate to be a pilot, his Dad is set against the idea and I'm sure these clashes were mirrored across many households at the time.
And in Eva, is a character who is desperate to paint and to find herself whilst her father still wants to decide what is best for her. She is such a spirited young woman that I loved seeing her attitude towards grabbing opportunites when they arose, despite the difficult circumstances they all found themselves living in.
The pace of the story allows you to understand the characters more - their motivations, their despair and their dreams. And the love story in extraordinary times was pitched perfectly - so touching and emotional but not gushy or too over the top!
An enthralling and engrossing read that I highly recommend!