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BOOK REVIEW: THE LADY IN THE SPITFIRE
BY HELENA SCHRADER
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If you have never read any of Helena Schraderís books, you have missed some well-scripted military stories containing love and lots of action. ďThe Lady in the SpitfireĒ has a terrific storyline, some of the best military flying action, lots of romance, and locale descriptions far above ordinary. The story takes place mostly in England with air attacks over other areas of Europe. The only job the English military would allow women to perform above the ground was with the ATA, the Air Transport Auxiliary. These women, and some men, ferried various planes according to their ability and training to where they were needed throughout England. Emily Priestman was one such a pilot who had a great amount of experience of flying almost any military airplane regardless of size.
Emily was married to Robin Priestman, a pilot with the RAF. Robin and Emily had not been married very long when Emily received word that Robinís airplane had been seen shot down, hitting the ground spinning over in flames. There was no word as to whether Robin was alive, dead, a prisoner of war, or was picked up be a resistance group. ďThe Lady in the SpitfireĒ tells the story of Emily as she ferries airplanes to many areas of the English countryside. Some of these planes were not in very good shape but this didnít scare Emily. She loved flying. She lived to hear word of Robinís fate one way or the other but that did not stop her from doing daring flying and landings in some precarious conditions and areas.
The Americans did not enter WWII for several years after England was attacked by Germany. When the first American pilots appeared they were welcomed in some ways but frowned on because of their late arrival to help. With the Americanís came the B-17 bombers, a dreadnaught that carried many bombs to drop on targets in Europe when they could get through the flak from anti-aircraft guns and German fighter planes determined not to let them hit their targets. Many of these B-17ís were either shot down or damaged badly. One of the American pilotís was Lieutenant Jay Baronowski. J B, as he was called, was in command of one of the B-17ís and on his first mission his brand new airplane got shot up pretty bad but J B got it back to base safely. Even Emily, without any weapons, got into action with a German fighter close to the English coast.
After some time, Emily and J B met. They didnít immediately connect with each other since J B had a fiancť in the United States and Emily still had no knowledge of Robinís fate. Eventually they did become friends. The Americans were not accepted by the English thinking they were only coming to become glorious heroes and out maneuver the English in their assignments and with their women.
This story flows so well. Helena Schrader writes in a style that gives both sides of what was occurring in England between all the pilots, their crews, their various assignments, their love life, and their off duty and weather caused down time. Do yourself a big favor and purchase this book. You will not be disappointed. You will enjoy the surprise ending! I have always enjoyed military books, fact or fiction. This book blends both in a way that held my interest non-stop. There is so much written to keep the reader interested from page to page, unlike some books that will ďbogĒ down occasionally. Many thanks Helena Schrader.
REVIEWED BY CY HILTERMAN
DO NOT REPRINT
WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CY HILTERMAN
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