Addicted to the soaring skies, brash high-flier Arthur Edward “Jack” Ratigan returns to Britain to fly bombers when his birth country goes to war against Germany in World War II. It also means a return to his ancestral home of Pren Redyn House in Wales—and risking his career and freedom if it comes to light that he is homosexual.
The drama and peril of combat will create profound changes in Jack both during and after the war, as will the influence of Ifan Griffith, the young butler at Pren Redyn and the one person who seems immune to the Ratigan charm. The sky has always been Jack’s true love, but when he faces a future of never flying again, he’ll discover he’s already found a surprising new home for his heart—with Ifan.
When I saw the title of Jessie Blackwood’s book I was immediately drawn to it. It promised not only difficulties to overcome but also a perfect ending. What else could you possibly ask for? The fact that is is set during and after the end of WWII made it even more interesting for me. And I was not disappointed.
The story jumps back and forth between now and Ifan’s and Jack’s pasts. Basically we follow the two men from a very early age on, Ifan is a young boy and Jack a teenager. One thing I would have liked to read a little more about is the reason why Ifan felt that strong dislike towards Jack. It was explained, but I never got a concrete example of what Jack actually said or did to deserve it. That made it hard for me to picture him as the boy respectively the man he was supposed to be.
The relationship between the two men goes through more or less all stages, master and servant, companions, friends and eventually lovers. That was nicely done, even though I never got rid of the nagging feeling that their being lovers – or rather their falling in love with each other – was the result of the situation. Not that this is a bad thing, very often a certain situation decides the birth of a relationship, but in this case I am wondering whether Ifan and Jack would have come together if Jack hadn’t been in the situation he was. Or whether he would have fallen in love with another caretaker as well. I don’t know.
Those doubts, however, didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the story as it was. There were a lot of good side characters like Gordon or Bronwen to add to the overall good feel of the book and the title kept its promise. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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