Blue Skies and Gunfire

Written by K.M. Peyton
Review by Val Loh


Set in World War II, the story begins with Josie’s final term of school being interrupted when she is evacuated from her Wimbledon home to the supposed safety of her aunt’s in the country. Separated from her parents and a difficult relationship with her mother, and parting from her first boyfriend, Sidney, she starts an emotional and life-changing journey that explains and expresses the effect of war upon individuals. The biggest threat is that of invasion and the shadow of death, which falls across those who risk their lives fighting in a battle not of their making. The daily existence of people trying to carry on as ‘normal’ in anything but usual circumstances, is shown with great skill as the war disrupts every aspect of their routines and relationships.

This is a very tender love story. Love in its many facets is exposed and weighed against the inevitable hurt caused between two brothers who both want the same innocent girl, perhaps for very different motives. The crippled, good-natured Jumbo and his ace fighter-pilot, Chris, both love each other dearly, yet the pain caused between them is almost palpable.

Josie is only a growing girl in a world which is changing all too fast, in uncertainty, like her own love for the brothers. The story has a dramatic plot as the Battle of Britain unfolds, and a very poignant ending. I think this book is a very good read and a lesson in life and the complicated relationships that people can unwittingly find themselves in. Young Adult.