Daisy Petrie works in her parents’ grocery store as the war begins to invade her sleepy little English town of Dartford. With her brothers off fighting, she becomes more important to the family business. One of her jobs includes driving the delivery van and keeping it running, expertly servicing the engine as her father and brothers trained her to do. To be a skilled female mechanic is indeed an unusual talent in 1939, and during one of her grocery deliveries out in the country, she meets a RAF pilot named Adair Maxwell. He stores his broken-down Aeronca aircraft in his relatives’ barn near the air force base, and later takes up Daisy on her boast that she can “take an engine apart, clean it, and put it together again.”
Daisy’s hard work is rewarded with flying lessons from both Adair and a famous Czech pilot, Tomas Sapenak, who both suggest that she join the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force as a mechanic. Joining the WAAF is bittersweet, as she faces her peers’ and superiors’ doubts about her flying and mechanical skills. She finds she has to work very hard to achieve her dreams.
This book not only follows Daisy and Adair but has a great cast of brothers, friends and customers who interact to give us a complete picture. The author brings to life the rationing, the fears of loved ones off fighting the war, and how Daisy’s friends are choosing to serve their country. Ruby Jackson shows readers the harsh realities of life during wartime. I like the authenticity of her writing and look forward to her fleshing out Daisy’s schoolfriends’ lives as they move on to their own war jobs and life changes in the following books in the series.