Just the cover alone would have me excited to read this book with its promise of adventure and danger in the skies over WWII Europe. I was eager to read a historical romance with its perspective and setting being in Germany during the last days of the war from the perspective of a fighter plane mechanic.
His job was to keep the planes flying and Felix did this even in the midst of the shortages of parts and fuel. But what kept Felix focused and going was the promise of being able to see his hero get into a plane he has prepared for the next mission and return safely.
Felix always wanted to be a fighter pilot, but he failed the tests so now he works on fighter planes. He has a secret crush and a large amount of hero worship for one particular ace pilot, Baldur Vogt. Up until now, Felix didn’t think Baldur was even aware of his existence, but then they share a short moment together when Baldur does indeed indicate he’s aware of Felix.
Felix didn’t feel that he came off well during that moment, but that doesn’t put him off from caring for Baldur and continuing to take extra care of his plane. Felix then has an opportunity to pull Baldur out of his smoke-filled plane that Baldur barely brought back in one piece. This leads Felix to visit him in the hospital and Baldur issues an invite to come with him on his recovery leave.
It is during this brief leave of absence that things become clear and Felix no longer has to look from a distance. Baldur allows them to draw close.
Returning to war and duty after such a brief interlude is difficult. Things have grown desperate and Felix has more reason than ever to worry for Baldur’s safety every time he goes up.
This is a shorter novella which offers a tight plot and has little room to maneuver with its abbreviated page count, but the author does a really nice job of keeping the tension there from the inherent danger of war, introducing a good strong main character in Felix and bringing the story to a close with a steady pace to a strong ending.
It’s all told from Felix’s perspective. His voice is observant and cautious as he navigates through the changes that Baldur flings his way. I found Felix’s outlook almost amusing which added a light note to the dread he is constantly experiencing. Baldur is more of a secondary character though he is Felix’s focus. He is a contemplative soul and unlike the other pilots in his squadron. The relationship between the two men showed some promising dynamics that I wish there had been more time to develop. I don’t mean that something was left unfinished just that aspects of character were unrevealed.
Growing up around American military aircraft, left me with a true appreciation for the descriptions involving the Messerschmidts. The authenticity of the airfield and its happenings as a backdrop to the characters was wonderful and I appreciate the research that must have gone into it.
I can recommend this to those who enjoy a historical military romance that’s light on the romance and offers strong characterization.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley for review purposes.
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