Monday, February 3, 2020

Review: A Sister's Courage by Molly Green

Like the old Virginia Slims ads used to say, "You've come a long way, baby" so it can be hard to imagine all of the obstacles that women once faced in following their passions. In some ways, past wars advanced women's opportunities as they were allowed to step into roles that were once the sole purview of men. As men went off to war, women had to do the jobs that were vital to the functioning of their country, jobs that pre-war would never have been available to them. And this opened up fields where they not only excelled but that spoke to their souls. The main character in Molly Field's new novel, A Sister's Courage, always dreamed of flying and WWII made her dream some true.

Lorraine Linfoot, called Raine by everyone but her mother, fell in love with flying when she was 14 after her father allowed her to take a ride in a plane at a flying circus. It was then that she found her passion and there would no longer be any chance that she would join her father's accounting firm although when her family faces a financial reversal, it seems there will be no money for Raine to take flying lessons either. But Raine is determined to learn and she gets a job as a secretary at the local air field, where she can take occasional lessons from a pilot she's met. She and Doug quickly become good friends and she reveres him as an older brother as he introduces her to the joys of flight. When war breaks out and Doug is called up, it looks like Raine's piloting days will be over until she is accepted into the Air Transport Auxiliary, shuttling planes to various bases, freeing up the male pilots to fight in the war. Despite her French mother's strong opposition to her unseemly job, Raine thrives in her new position, the only cloud in her life the knowledge that Doug has been shot down, is missing in action, and presumed dead.

Green does a good job capturing the spirit of the time, drawing on actual ATA experiences for her heroine and even incorporating real historical figure Pauline Gower into Raine's story. It is fascinating to consider the service these pioneering female pilots rendered to the war effort, their amazing skills, and the "normal" lives they lived as they did their jobs. Green does not shy away from the rampant prejudice the women faced or the appalling sexual harassment they were subjected to but she also shows the close relationships these special women developed to each other and with some of the men. Raine is very young during the story but her character is often rude and prickly without reason, which makes the reader not terribly keen on her. She has a terribly contentious relationship with her mother and the reason is only hinted at as stemming from Simone's own experiences in France during the previous war, perhaps being kept secret for a reveal in a later book in this planned trilogy. Raine's feelings about fellow characters undergo some pretty abrupt about faces without much development, from disliking and judging the fellow pilot she's billeted with to inviting her home for Christmas, from her rancorous relationship with fighter pilot Alec Marshall to being deep in love with him. And as fascinating as the historical details are, this is more a love story (a love triangle really) set during WWII rather than a WWII story with a romantic plot line as the focus is more on Raine's building relationship.  This makes the book quite light aside from one devastating scene. Future books will presumably center on Raine's two younger sisters and their passions. The plot of this one is straightforward and simple and this is an easy, quick read and will likely appeal to those who enjoy fiction centered on the personal while still grounded in a specific historical moment.

For more information about Molly Green and the book, check our her author site at the publisher, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher Avon for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you mention the spirit of the time period because for me that's really important when I read a story with this kind of setting. Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours


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