An imperfect flight of war-era fancy that still manages to stick the landing.




From the Sisters Of Adventure series , Vol. 1

A young pilot finds a way to serve her country and secure her own freedom in McLaren (Song of Time, 1996, etc.) and debut author Garcia’s historical novel.

As the Allies in World War II begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the war in the sky takes center stage. Both German and Allied troops are racing to build a faster fighter jet that’s capable of clearing the way for their invading armies. In America, this results in Operation Archangel, a top-secret plan to corner the market on chromium—a metal needed to build supersonic jets—by any means necessary. Wallace Doyle, the son of the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, gets recruited by the Nazis to spy on the American operation. Meanwhile, Sprite Shannon, a young woman from rural Georgia, also gets caught up in the international game of espionage after her father’s death forces her to find a way to support herself with her piloting skills. She joins the Women’s Army Service Pilots, or W.A.S.P., and begins her training to become one of the first female military pilots in U.S. history. Along the way, she makes a mortal enemy of Doyle and unwittingly becomes involved in Operation Archangel—all while competing for status in her organization and falling in love with a shellshocked Air Force pilot. Although this book takes substantial liberties with World War II history, it weaves an exciting story around its central characters, whose lives constantly overlap in unexpected ways. Sprite is a likable protagonist who constantly beats the odds through determination and charm, and several other players are also well-drawn. The dialogue tends to be unfortunately on the nose, though, as in Sprite’s speech: “Seems like I’m different from the person I was even two weeks ago. I’ve always had responsibilities with keeping our house and helping Daddy in the business, and school, of course—but this feels so different. This is…what my father called my ‘destiny.’ ” However, it doesn’t usually slow the story down.

An imperfect flight of war-era fancy that still manages to stick the landing. 

Pub Date: June 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9975689-0-5

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Saphirion Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2016

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.


High-stakes weepmeister Sparks (A Walk to Remember, 1999, etc.) opts for a happy ending his fourth time out. His writing has improved—though it's still the equivalent of paint-by-numbers—and he makes use this time of at least a vestige of credible psychology.

That vestige involves the deep dark secret—it has something to do with his father's death when son Taylor was nine—that haunts kind, good 36-year-old local contractor Taylor McAden and makes him withdraw from relationships whenever they start getting serious enough to maybe get permanent. He's done this twice before, and now he does it again with pretty and sweet single mother Denise Holton, age 29, who's moved from Atlanta to Taylor's town of Edenton, North Carolina, in order to devote her time more fully to training her four-year-old son Kyle to overcome the peculiar impediment he has that keeps him from achieving normal language acquisition. Okay? When Denise has a car accident in a bad storm, she's rescued by volunteer fireman Taylor—who also rescues little Kyle after he wanders away from his injured mom in the storm. Love blooms in the weeks that follow—until Taylor suddenly begins putting on the brakes. What is it that holds him back, when there just isn't any question but that he loves Denise and vice versa-not to mention that he's "great" with Kyle, just like a father? It will require a couple of near-death experiences (as fireman Taylor bravely risks his life to save others); emotional steadiness from the intelligent, good, true Denise; and the terrible death of a dear and devoted friend before Taylor will come to the point at last of confiding to Denise the terrible memory of how his father died—and the guilt that's been its legacy to Taylor. The psychological dam broken, love will at last be able to flow.

More Hallmarkiana, from a shameless expert in the genre.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2000

ISBN: 0-446-52550-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2000

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