Oct 31 2007
Dear Ms Bostwick,
I’m so glad that your publisher offered us a chance to review your latest novel. “On Wings of the Morning” took me back to a simpler time in American history but one in which people loved as much, still made mistakes but had a common purpose. So much of it reflected what those interviewed for Ken Burns’ latest film, “The War” said about the era. It had to be done, it might not be what people wanted to do but they were in it until it was finished and willing to make any sacrifice to see it through.
The book has a great period feel and I can see you’ve done your homework. From Morgan’s childhood on a farm in rural Oklahoma to Georgia’s uprooted existence moving from backwater Florida to big city Chicago, I could see them and the people around them. I could feel living through a summer with only an oscillating fan, driving to see Charles Lindbergh — to actually see the Lone Eagle, the man who changed aviation history! — wanting to learn to fly so badly and sensing that it was your destiny that you’d do anything and work any hours to pay for flight lessons. Georgia’s adult girlfriend’s bafflement that Georgia didn’t want to join her in getting married at age eighteen felt totally realistic though I would probably have sided with Georgia and wanted to work and be independent.
I love the parts with Morgan in combat as a marine pilot in the Pacific and Georgia training to join the WASP program. This must have been such a thrill for these women to do what they loved and be helping the war effort at the same time. After all as one of them said, before that they could be a teacher, a librarian or a nurse and that was it. And for so many to have stuck with it, endured the scorn of the male pilots and the public as well, says a lot about them. I liked that Georgia’s first husband is a sweet guy and that their marriage felt realistic for a woman who admitted to not being “in love” with him when she married him. I also liked that Morgan got so mad at Lindbergh for leaving Eva alone and for shadowing him during his growing up. I know you said you made all this up but it fit seamlessly with the rest of the story.
The dialogue was a bit stiff at times but it also kind of had the feeling of a 40s movie. More formal in tone. The historical information on the WASP program was sometimes awkwardly inserted into story as Georgia and her friends told each other information in order to convey it to us the readers. I ended up not minding the long separations between Morgan and Georgia. I didn’t know how I’d feel about that but each character gets on with his or her life. They do wonder about each other but no one dwells on it to the exclusion of all else. I really like that though they felt an instant attraction for each other, no one felt it was love at first sight. Their conflicts felt true to the story and the situations in which they found themselves and not just manufactured to keep them apart for plot reasons.
As my fellow bloggers know, I’m always on the lookout for a good historical novel, especially when it utilizes an era other than the usual Regency England. Your story was an interesting and fast read despite the fact that it’s almost 400 pages long. B for “On Wings of the Morning.”
This book may be purchased in trade paperback format.