A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear #BookReview #BriFri #histficreadingchallenge
Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the TV series Annika. Anne shared the story of another of her British ancestors in the Champion de Crespigny line — this one a woman named Cerise whose fashionable wedding was covered (complete with dress illustrations) by The Queen magazine. Tina reviewed The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy, as part of an effort to clear her bookshelves.
Book: A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs #17)
Publication date: 2022
Source: e-book borrowed from library
Summary: Britain has been at war for three years. Women were trained as pilots for the Air Transport Auxiliary, a civilian organization that ferried planes from factories to RAF airfields.
Jo Hardy, like many women, flies with the grief of a lost fiancé from the RAF and a lost friend, a colleague in the ATA. Flying over English countryside, she never expected to be shot at. When she returns with a friend to investigate who was shooting at planes from a barn, they discover an African-American soldier trussed up in the barn. They learn from him that another American soldier, a white man, is missing.
Jo Hardy and her friend rescue the soldier and return him to the American armed forces, but things don’t sit right with Jo. Among other things, she’s concerned that the soldier will be blamed for things he didn’t do, just because he’s black.
Enter Maisie Dobbs to see if she can piece together what happened, find the missing soldier, and learn why someone on English soil is shooting at British planes. It turns out the story gets much more complicated from there and involves the upcoming visit by the American First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Thoughts: This series began in the late 1920s, so I’m thrilled that it reached one of my favorite eras, World War II. I’m also particularly partial to the activities of women during the war. Too many war books focus completely on men as if women disappear from the world during war. Where do they think we go? Some of us flew planes.
Another reason that I loved reading this book was due to the appearance of Eleanor Roosevelt. I recently finished The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn where the First Lady had a big role, so it was fun to revisit her again so soon. I should definitely review that book, but it doesn’t qualify for British Isles Friday and I’m always slower to get those reviews written.
Appeal: For the most part, I recommend reading this series in order. But if the idea of reading 17 books is daunting and you have a particular interest in female pilots, I think you would enjoy this book. It summarizes the past, as needed. It will spoil the overarching stories of Maisie and her friends in the previous books, but the mystery stands alone.
Challenges: This is my fifth review for The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. That meets the goal that I signed up for — five books at the Victorian Reader level. That’s a good thing because I seem to be better at reading historical fiction than keeping track of the number. For the rest of the year, I’ll just read and share. Check out the list of books that participants read in May.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Joy, I hope I didn’t double link but I noticed my name appeared as Tina at Novel Meals (my old blog) instead of Turn the Page.
This book looks intriguing and I love the sound of the plot.
I am still in the throes of exploring my family history which keep me as entertained as fiction 😉 This week I have shared a link to a post of a cousin Valerie who was frequently photographed. One of her sons was in World war 2 in the British special forces and served as an intelligence officer. It is thought that perhaps Le Carre named his Smiley character inspired by David. He has a Wikipeda article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Smiley . I have just ordered a biography of his life “The Clandestine Lives of Colonel David Smiley: Code Name ‘Grin'” Looking forward to reading it.
Well done on meeting your Hist Fic Reading Challenge goal! Thanks for participating in the challenge this year!