Across the Blue
In 1909, daring aviators are racing to be the first to cross the English Channel, and to win the Daily Mail prize of £1000. James Drake and his mentor, Professor Steed, are determined to be the winners. When James crashes in a nearby field during a test flight, he serendipitously meets Charles Grayson, owner of the Daily Mail, and his daughter, Bella. After meeting James, Bella becomes even more interested in flying. She has always loved airplanes, and secretly dreams of being a newspaper journalist. This chance encounter with James helps her make a deal with her father. He’ll let her write a series of profile pieces on the different aviators, to be published anonymously in the Daily Mail, if she’ll agree to see suitors and choose one to marry by the end of the season. As Bella and James each pursue their dreams, their paths keep crossing and a friendship naturally ensues. Of course, coming from different social classes, their love seems doomed. James is an orphan, with an unknown past, and Bella is expected to marry well.
The story begins slowly. I was expecting it to be a traditional Christian romance with little action based on the first half of the book. But, as James gets closer and closer to attempting to cross the Channel, the adventure also picks up pace. Turansky blends historical detail, romance, and adventure into a smooth, delightful story. I particularly liked the challenges and setbacks James and the Professor face as they race to build a machine that will endure the long journey across the Channel. These parts of the book are what keep the story going; I was less interested in Bella’s struggles to be a writer. All in all, this is a delightful book full of love and adventure. Recommended.