When Juliet Porter’s mother dies, she leaves Juliet some old letters and a photograph which shatter all her previously-held beliefs. They show that her real father was an American bomber pilot in the Second World War, some 40 years before, and that he had met her mother while serving in England. Armed only with this photo, Juliet sets out to trace her real father, and eventually finds the airfield where he served. In 1943, Juliet’s mother Daisy is in the WAAF and stationed at the airfield which is taken over by the American airmen at a moment’s notice. She falls in love with a bomber pilot who is then posted missing, presumed dead; pregnant and grieving; she marries a long-term admirer only to discover, at the end of the war, that her pilot had survived…
©2011 Margaret Mayhew (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
Well this wasn't exactly the Romance novel that I was expecting when I bought this book, but it was a nice, well written sentimental WWII novel about a woman's search for the American airman who fathered her.
There were just a couple of nit picky little things that jolted me out of the story for a minute but they really are minor. I just couldn't figure out how Mrs. Leighton managed to serve all the food she did when food was rationed so strictly. Maybe she had an agreement with the quartermaster on the base. *shrug* The other little thing that bumped me was how unmannerly both Juliet and Jose were on the phone. Other than that, it was great.
... and could go to sleep. The book starts in present tense, moves to a WWII setting and back to the present. First we know that Juliet's mother has died. Juliet is in her early 50s and her mother has left her a letter explaining that she was the offspring of a war-time romance. We're discovering what we know about Juliet's mother's life during WWII as Juliet is discovering it, then we're back to Daisy's point of view as all of this is taking place, then return to the present to see how things come out. And I cared a great deal about how things would come out. This works reallly well in this book.
So, I ask myself, why not 5 stars? The central characters are very vivid but the back up people are not well enough drawn. They float in and out of the story, telling Juliet what they think she should do but we don't know them well enough to understand why they make those suggestions. There's her brother, Drew. He's a mathematical genius like the father she grew up with (dead a couple of years as the story opens). Juliet has sometimes wondered why she's such a dud in math. Her mother's letter tells her that she got her artistic talent from her biological father. Drew says burn the photo and the letter and forget about it. Her best friends supports her search but points out a lot of misgivings and self-delusion Juliet is dealing with. Her daughter hasn't been told. Her daughter's boyfriend pops up as someone who annoys Juliet and as an opportunity for some monologues on parenting but wouldn't leave a gap if he were deleted. Her friend who moved to America is probablly a well-drawn picture of someone who has embraced her new country but misses some of the old. So, a lot of supporting characters of varying importance, but none of them is given enough of a part or enough dimension to make them important. You would never meet them here and think, spinoff a story about that person, because they aren't that solid.
And of course, I wanted more of Juliet when the story ended.
This isn't a bad book... it's just not the book I kept hoping it would become. Interesting start; a woman who discovers the secret life of her late mother. It could have been centered around that. Secrets between mothers and daughters. Secrets Juliette's mother kept from her, and those she keeps from her own daughter as she endeavours to follow the trails to past events. Instead, we get a formulaic flashback structure which leads to lots and lots of repetitions of facts we've already seen. Guess, in this case, an abridged version would be better...
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