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 September 1940—a 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 more 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.

My Review

Wow, this book is a true treasure. One that will have readers talking for years. In fact, I would actually put The Long Flight Home in the same category up there with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is really that spectacular. I absolutely loved this book. Mr. Hlad is a prolific storyteller. The Long Flight Home is a five star recommended read!

Bertie and Ollie were great characters. The book is told from their points of view. So their voices really stood out. Yet, they were so engaging and very likeable that it was easy to become very in tune to their stories. 

I have read some informati0n about birds being used during the war to help relay coded messages. So I was familiar with this concept but I had not read the story that inspired this book. The one where a man renovating a house finds the remains of a bird with a tiny container and a coded message inside the container. That bird was like Duchess, who was the featured bird in this story. She learned to fly back and forth bring messages from Bertie to Ollie and visa versa.

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Mystica said…
Sounds like an intense and wonderful read. Thanks for the review.
Joseph Sciuto said…

Quite an exciting review, Cheryl. I am going to have to pick it up. Thanks, Joe
Cheryl said…
Mystica and Joseph - Thank you for the kin words. I do hope you both pick up the book and enjoy it as much as I did.

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