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|Read Pdf × The Long Flight Home ⚛ Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice It is Septembera year into the war and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie All her birds are extraordinary to Susan loyal, intelligent, beautiful but none so than Duchess Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather s desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German occupied France Many will not survive Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near When Ollie s plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be Yet Duchess s devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost Oh lordy what a tear jerker This was such an outstanding, true to life story that it drew me in right from the start This book tells of the beautiful love story between Ollie and Susan its main characters, although they were fictional, their story felt very real I love how the author was able to bring his readers into Susan s beloved pigeons daily life I was invested 100% and in tears rooting for them to return home safe, Duchess in particular Adored her Some parts of the book are recreate Oh lordy what a tear jerker This was such an outstanding, true to life story that it drew me in right from the start This book tells of the beautiful love story between Ollie and Susan its main characters, although they were fictional, their story felt very real I love how the author was able to bring his readers into Susan s beloved pigeons daily life I was invested 100% and in tears rooting for them to return home safe, Duchess in particular Adored her Some parts of the book are recreated with information from the author researching real events 200,000 carrier pigeons were used by the Royal Air Force between 1939 1945 to carry encrypted messages into German occupied France and Holland, and then back to Britain Through Susan s eyes the author meticulously describes the Blitz with the German bombers heading to and fro over London dropping bombs, putting you in the scene as a terrified onlooker This is a very informative, powerful written book that will have you grabbing the Kleenex I highly recommend it The Long Flight Home was an intriguing read I was not sure what to expect from the novel Did it focus on the war effort or romance Alan Hlad was successful in blending both I was concerned at first that it would be overly romantic for my tastes Initially I was afraid my concerns would be met The tale then took twists and turns that I did not expect One of my favorite aspects of the book was learning about a topic that I had little knowledge about Though I have read many historical fictio The Long Flight Home was an intriguing read I was not sure what to expect from the novel Did it focus on the war effort or romance Alan Hlad was successful in blending both I was concerned at first that it would be overly romantic for my tastes Initially I was afraid my concerns would be met The tale then took twists and turns that I did not expect One of my favorite aspects of the book was learning about a topic that I had little knowledge about Though I have read many historical fiction novels centered around World War II, I had never heard of the British National Pigeon Service This was a fascinating addition to the saga of the UK during WWII Another aspect of the novel that Hlad clearly portrayed was the horrors of the Luftwaffe s bombing of London and its surrounds If you are interested in WWII historical fiction, or just a well written story, you will enjoy The Long Flight Home I received an Advance Reader copy of this novel, The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad, which will be published on June 25, 2019 Many thanks to Kensington Publishing for my copy Although my opinion has generally been that the market seems to have reached a kind of saturation point when it comes to the number of World War II novels that have been written, I admit that I was drawn to the premise of this book and I found myself swept up in the story Alan Hlad created This novel begins in the autum I received an Advance Reader copy of this novel, The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad, which will be published on June 25, 2019 Many thanks to Kensington Publishing for my copy Although my opinion has generally been that the market seems to have reached a kind of saturation point when it comes to the number of World War II novels that have been written, I admit that I was drawn to the premise of this book and I found myself swept up in the story Alan Hlad created This novel begins in the autumn of 1940 on a farm in Epping, England Susan Shepherd, along with her grandfather Bertie, keep and train homing pigeons Susan even thinks of one of her birds as a kind of pet a pigeon with beautiful plumage and a fierce intelligence, named Duchess By day, Susan and Bertie care for their pigeons and recently they spend their nights huddled in a shelter below ground, listening to the frightening sounds of bombs being dropped by German aircrafts and these bombs seem to be coming closer and closer as each day goes by As members of the National Pigeon Service, Bertie and Susan are approached by the Royal Air Force who want to commission the use of the group s pigeons for a covert intelligence operation, which is to be called Source Columba Their plan is to air drop the homing pigeons into German occupied France to deliver and receive coded messages regarding German troop movement in the area Along with the other pigeon handlers in the group, Susan and Bertie are committed to doing whatever they can to help the war effort but they also have mixed feelings about what their birds will be required to do They are aware of the mission s danger and they know that not all of their pigeons will make it home safely While the National Pigeon Service is preparing the birds for their mission, thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the little town of Buxton, Maine, Ollie Evans who is a crop duster pilot, has dreams of attending college to study aeronautical engineering But before he has the chance to realize his dream, a series of tragedies leave him alone in the world A chance encounter with a man named Billy Bishop, a Canadian World War I flying ace, convinces Ollie that despite the United States government s decision to remain neutral in the war, that he should make his way to England and put all of his acquired flying hours to good use by joining the Royal Air Force Perhaps it was chance perhaps it was fate but Ollie s path crosses with Susan s when he reaches London and through a big misunderstanding and a physical altercation with an officer in the RAF named Flight Lieutenant Clyde Boar who happens to take an instant dislike to Ollie , Ollie ends up being rescued by Bertie and Susan and stays with them on their farm in Epping Although still determined to return to London to join the RAF, Ollie can t help but feel inspired by the work Susan and Bertie are doing to prepare the pigeons for their mission and he decides to do all he can to help them Ollie and Susan spend long days together caring for the pigeons and getting to know each other and taking comfort in each other s hopes and dreams for the future and the possibility that they might have a future together after the war is finally over.Finally, the day arrives for the pigeons to be delivered to the airfield to begin their assignment Ollie decides to accompany them to help load them onto the transport plane but once again, fate seems to step in and a series of mishaps occur and the consequences of these events will change the rest of Ollie and Susan s lives What happens to Ollie What happens to Susan s beloved pigeons Will Susan and Ollie be able to find their way back to each other And will they have the chance to finally build the life they dreamed of The Long Flight Home will answer all of these questions.In many ways, The Long Flight Home is much like the other World War II novels I ve read over the years Alan Hlad tells a powerful story which provides a sense of what war FEELS like to the people experiencing its horrors the fear, anger, starvation and deprivation but always alongside the fear is extraordinary courage, resilience and perhaps most importantly hope, even during the darkest of days And what made this novel so unique to me, of course, was the birds I could imagine thousands of these creatures being dropped into the middle of the war zone, carrying vital information attached to their tiny legs, relying on their inherent instincts and intelligence to carry them hopefully safely back to their homes Always in the back of my mind was their enormous sacrifice a sacrifice they couldn t CHOOSE to make themselves and I found myself on the edge of my seat, hoping to discover that these birds would beat the enormous odds stacked against them and that they would return home.Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this novel was discovering that this story was, in fact, based on actual circumstances 200,000 homing pigeons were indeed used by the Royal Air Force between 1939 1945 to carry encrypted messages as a way for the local populations to communicate intelligence in German occupied areas And these pigeons WERE provided by a civilian group called the National Pigeon Service There is a fascinating author s note included at the end of this novel in which Alan Had explains the amazing details and real life inspiration for his story The Long Flight Home was onereminder of the horrible cruelty human beings can and do inflict on each other but it was also a reminder of the incredible capacity for strength and hopefulness people also possess And of course, given the subject of this book, I couldn t stop stop thinking about a poem by Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the time without the words, And never stops at all Although I ve read many books about World War II, I had never heard of Source Columba This was the code name for the program to air drop thousands of homing pigeons in France during the German occupation It was hoped that French Resistance fighters would use the pigeons to send strategic information to England about German troop movement and the location of their planes and tanks The pigeons would carry the messages in tiny canisters attached to their legs The Long Flight Home is an engagin Although I ve read many books about World War II, I had never heard of Source Columba This was the code name for the program to air drop thousands of homing pigeons in France during the German occupation It was hoped that French Resistance fighters would use the pigeons to send strategic information to England about German troop movement and the location of their planes and tanks The pigeons would carry the messages in tiny canisters attached to their legs The Long Flight Home is an engaging story about two people involved in Source Columba Susan Shepherd and her grandfather live on a farm that trains pigeons in Epping, twenty miles outside London American crop duster, Ollie Evans, wants to honor his family s British roots by volunteering to be a pilot for the RAF After Ollie gets involved in a fight with a British pilot, his hopes of joining the RAF are gone He gets assigned to work on parole with the pigeons on the Shepherd s farm Ollie and Susan have many experiences in common, and become very close Ollie is unexpectedly on a plane transporting pigeons when it gets shot down over France Many brave people worked together to hide the airmen in France Susan s farm is in the flight path of the Luftwaffe bombers during the London Blitz The British people rallied to treat the injured from the bombings in England.I enjoyed the depictions of the pigeons, and was impressed with their intelligence and endurance A French pig that dug truffles was also endearing The book tended to be repetitious in the beginning, but picked up the pace when Ollie reached France It would be appropriate for high school students as well as adults This was an interesting World War II novel with a different focus 3.5 stars