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In the Company of Women Kindle Edition
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There were some paragraphs that I felt were a bit obviously set up like history lessons but I get why they were included in the book so they didn't detract from the plot. History buffs will love them. Somethings can't be narrated and have to be explained. A little annoying at times but I get it.
But back to what I liked; I also really enjoyed how smart and strong both main characters were. Yes they had their vulnerabilities like we all do but I loved that they weren't wimpy. Reading about strong women helps us all want to be stronger. With only two 5 star ratings upon purchase I was sure I was duped big time but Mrs. Christie pleasantly surprised me...
I'll be checking out some of her older stories now. 5 out of 5 for keeping me thoroughly entertained even with those fade-to-black love scenes.
The author captured the "tone" of the war-time military perfectly. The research is factual and awesome. I loved, loved, loved all the details about military aircraft and women flyers. I loved that the point-of-view character (CJ) was an aviation mechanic. This book could have had two more chapters about the WASPs flying vintage WWII aircraft and I would have been ecstatic. The aviation scenes were the highlights of this book for me (even more than the sex!!!) and I wanted more of them.
The author didn't patronize veterans, either. As a veteran, I appreciated that. So many authors (especially lesbian authors) write authoritatively about PTSD and the morality of military service when they have no freaking clue what they're talking about... and it's annoying as hell.
The details were accurate, especially about being gay in the military. I'm obviously much too young to have served in WWII, and the attitude the author talks about -- how lesbian relationships were tolerated and even subtly encouraged -- blew my mind a little. I served under the watchful eyes of DADT, and I understand the stress of being constantly scared you'll get discovered and discharged.
The author got all these things right, and I very much enjoyed the romance at the heart of the story, between Aviation Mechanic CJ and Admin/Public Affairs Specialist Brady. The tension, the questioning, the fear of discovery... the constant threat of being separated... that was brilliant.
Where this book falls down for me (just a little) is in the narration. I totally understand that the author has to build a scene here that most people don't have a clue about. That's a tough task: the author is making an entire world out of the past. So there's a lot of narrative insertion. The story is told in the 3rd person from the point-of-view of CJ, a WAC aircraft mechanic, but the scene descriptions are so heavy handed, I don't really "feel" CJ. I "feel" the author telling me about CJ and her surroundings. The author's voice was present with me for the entire book, so instead of the words fading and me seeing pictures in my head, I was conscious of reading the entire time.
That's why I've got to deduct a star. It's not the book -- the book is great and deserves TEN stars. It's the storytelling. There are a few scenes where the author relaxes and stops the history lecture and just lets the story tell itself. Those moments flow really well.
I do think this is an amazing book that chronicles an important step in feminist history. The dedication in the beginning and the author's notes and reference list at the end were a treat. I actually enjoyed the author's notes as much as the story, and the reading list was a bonus! I can honestly say that I'm glad I bought this book and I will keep it on my bookshelf.
Having said all that, however, I did find myself skimming through some of the descriptions of the military and their airplanes, as I truly wanted to get to the meat of the story, which was the budding relationship between the 2 protagonists - CJ and Brady. I did enjoy the descriptions of their flying bombers and other aircraft though, as I enjoy flying myself.