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.
I love this period in history and I have a passion for fictional books that bring the stories to life for me and take me back in time, and this book certainly did that!
I thought that the story was very well developed, I loved the descriptions and the scene setting, there was plenty of content and I loved the author’s attention to detail. The writing style and flow was excellent and it was a great read for me.
The characters suited the book really well and I loved getting to know them and more about their families and friendships as the book developed and progressed.
It is 4.5 stars from me for this one, rounded up to 5 stars for Goodreads and Amazon – I thought it was a wonderful story, well developed and loved the characters – highly recommended!