Bird’s Eye View Book Review – A Well-Crafted, Touching Tale

Bird's_Eye_View_Cover_small_featureThis story about one prairie daughter’s journey to adulthood through the crucible of World War 2 wrapped me up for three days of a delightfully deep read. It has just about everything I look for in a book – excellent writing, engaging characters, a storyline that pulls you along, and something interesting to learn. I gave it 5 stars on Amazon.

Rose Jolliffe is a prairie girl bent on experiencing the world, and when the War comes along she sees her chance. Little does she know what she is getting into by travelling to England, but she sees the world all right – up close and personal with the eyes of an aerial photograph interpreter. We get to follow Rose as she battles through love and loss, injury and redemption, and the dismal and gorgeous British landscapes. By the novel’s end I was right alongside her on the long trainride back home.

Photo interpretation is a fascinating new lens through which to view the same old war. Elinor Florence’s penchant for research comes to the fore here. She brings the Western Front to life in a way we’ve never seen before, and with a remarkably feminine touchElinor – full of long hours scanning the smallest detail to help the flying boys, and determined to do the job despite the devastation before her eyes. This, and the intimate portrayal of life in England during wartime, brought the War to me like nothing else ever has.

Elinor Florence is an accomplished writer with a fine mastery of the craft. Her seamless storytelling reeled me into my comfy chair and kept me there, with only occasional breaks for a nice cup of tea. Rose Jolliffe is still with me, days after putting the book down. I highly recommend Bird’s Eye View for a cosy winter read that will keep you engaged and leave you with a new friend, one with a solid sense of the world and a keen eye for detail.

You can find Bird’s Eye View by Elinor Florence here.

Published in: on February 9, 2015 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Deryn Collier Book Review – Louise Penny Of The West

open secretI had the great good fortune to receive an advance reader’s copy of Open Secret by Nelson, BC writer Deryn Collier. This is Deryn’s second book, and it has confirmed what I already suspected – this lady is the Louise Penny of the West.

Open Secret was a delightful read. Deryn’s stories take place in a sleepy, smoky mountain town peopled with a whole collection of characters who wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Bern Fortin, a Rwanda-damaged soldier turned town coroner, has a hunter’s eye and some serious baggage. He is dedicated to speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves, and in this story he’s kept busy.

Deryn brings to life an isolated village just left of anywhere, where evil comes as a shock and nothing gets in the way of the morning coffee. The story takes you in deep, and a week after finishing the novel I’m still wondering what happened next in the characters’ lives. Just like Louise Penny, who has done wonders for backwoods Quebec in world literature, and is sweeping every writing award in the English world with her work. With these two novels under her belt, Deryn is on her way.

I am a convicted thriller fan, and Open Secret doesn’t have the blood-curdling, run for your life pace of that genre. One or two minor subplots don’t quite get explained. But this isn’t a thriller, it’s a mystery, and it’s also part of a series. I am sure there will be answers, and more questions. I’m definitely waiting.

Open Secret hits the shelves in April, so I am told. If you like a deep dive into a compelling mystery and some uniquely BC characters, pick it up. Then come back here and tell me what you think!

Published in: on February 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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