Monday, August 15, 2011

Beautiful Journey by Kenna White

Publisher:               Bella Books

If you like historical period stories, Kenna White's Beautiful Journey is the book for you. If you like a good story, you still have the right book.

In the early years of World War II, before the United States entered the war, many Americans volunteered to serve in countries that were under attack. American Kit Anderson is a volunteer in the British Women's Air Transport Authority (ATA) where her job is to shuttle planes to the bases where fighter pilots are stationed and take damaged planes to repair facilities. Kit is very good at what she does and the work takes her mind off of the broken heart she left back in the States. What she doesn't count on is coming into contact with Emily Mills, a literature teacher and the only grandchild of Lady Lillian Marble. These two are meant to clash from the time Emily finds out her grandmother has rented a cottage to Kit through the experience of having Emily come to work on Kit's base. The British government has decreed that every woman had to work in the war effort and that includes Emily.

As a favor to Lady Marble, Kit signs Emily's work request as her reference, only to find she is held responsible for every mistake Emily makes and there are many mistakes. Emily just seems to be a walking disaster. Kit's good nature is often tested by Emily's unpleasant attitude and then her bumbling. As they are drawn together by the war however, Kit and Emily discover love and courage. It will take tremendous courage not only to survive the war, but to battle the prejudice and bigotry they will encounter as their relationship comes to light because homophobia is strong in Britain at the time. Kit is forced to face the fact that the quality of your work does not equate with acceptance of your lifestyle and the women will face a choice when Kit is threatened with losing her wings. 

The atmosphere of this book is perfect. The reader feels immersed in the lifestyle of the English countryside and gets a real grasp of what the people were forced to endure as bombs rained from the sky. It is clear that Kit is an American imbedded in a different culture as she adapts to the English; they don't adapt to her. The story is full of appealing characters, some suspense, some humor, a tragedy and an interesting romance. The plot flows from page to page easily and pulls the reader's interest along with it.

This is definitely one of the books that you can't wait to read and don't want to end. The only question it raises is whether lesbians in the 1940's actually found it this easy to locate each other, but it is an environment that might seem to draw them together, similar to sports. The only readers who might not find this book appealing are those who like the highly charged adventure stories, but there is a little of that, too. There are some typos that should have been picked by an editor or proofreader, but they don't detract from the story as a whole.

Beautiful Journey is a well-written, enjoyable story. This is a book that is a pleasure to recommend.

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