Russo writes an engaging, high adventure story featuring a well-intentioned, likable young heroine. Briley is courageous and loyal, and her open-mindedness allows her to identify and confront injustice. This story is a great mix of action and teamwork, although the author missed the opportunity to fully flesh out the group dynamics of the pilots. This doesn’t detract from the overall novel, however. Briley is a true role model through and through.
In the Spring of 1940, teenaged Briley Bannatyne escapes her provincial life in rural England to pursue her dream of flying for her country. Against her mother’s wishes, she takes her brother’s place in Britain’s Royal Air Militia after he suffers a crippling accident. She battles her way through training by sheer determination and her ability to befriend allies. She graduates just as her country is thrown into war. Briley’s flying skills keep her alive in battle, but it is her ability to connect with a downed enemy pilot that helps England win a crucial battle. (DIVERTIR PUBLISHING, LTD., Mar., 230 pp., $9.95)