Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Manifold Press
Genre: LGBTQ+ Fiction
Tags: Historical – WWII Short Stories
Length: 272 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
I’m thrilled to post the fab review for my story From Air to There:
From Air to There – Michelle Peart
It’s spring 1944 when this story starts. Puppet, nicknamed for his ability to use his parachute like a puppeteer, is on board a Dakota that’s in the middle of heavy trace and artillery fire over France.
The constant flickers from the tracer bullets lighting the glass next to me were giving me an eye-headache and the urge to move away was strong, but we were lined up in jumping order and I’d never have dared disobey my sergeant, Wide-Fred.
The men have no choice but to parachute into the crossfire, and Puppet, aka Colin, lands on a barn – after some initial tree hits and some mud.
Where were Slug and Nip? And Fred? Did they make it? Was Fred’s wife now a widow? And his children without a father? I shook the thoughts from my head and replaced them with instinct. I needed to get out of the cold mud and find protection from the enemy.
As luck would have it, he ends up at a French resistance fighter’s farm. Nineteen year old Henri tends pigs and lives on his own – his parents both succumbed to tuberculosis and his older brother was taken by the Germans.
Puppet has a damaged knee and Henri poultices and stitches it up as best he can. After a few days to recover they have to make a journey to Switzerland, including train trips, lots of papers, the Alps, and a great deal of nerve shown by both men. The plan is that Puppet will be handed over to a trusted Swiss contact and sent back to England. This isn’t Henri’s first time at the rodeo but it is Puppet’s. It’s always dangerous. Puppet faces an arduous questioning and POW internment if caught. Henri faces worse.
This books starts with a bang, you get to know the men on the Dakota just prior to trouble and as it’s about to go down. You get to know that Puppet, real name Colin, had a lover named Bert whose picture he keeps in his pocket, along with the letter from his mother telling him his ‘friend’ the milkman died in battle… and not even twenty-one.
A lot of depth was injected into this short story. I believe it’s the longest story in the anthology and it still went by too quickly. From Air to There is writing with heart. There’s suspense, strong emotion and character depth. The ending was nice. Gripping writing.
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