Dance With Wings
The book opens in 2006 in Florida with the character of Sarah, a successful career woman who has yet to find the right man. She is asked by her grandmother, Nancy, to find her old wartime love and return his DFC medal to him. In attempting to fulfil Nancy’s wish she stirs up all sorts of family secrets and comes to question her own romantic involvements.
The setting moves between the 21st century and the 1940s and between America and England. The technique of multiple narrators is used to create tension and anticipation but sometimes has the opposite effect of slowing the narrative and distancing the reader from the characters. The structure is almost writing by numbers: set the scene, introduce the characters, set up a question or mystery, then return to the time it happened, show the reader and explain the mystery.
The characters are also somewhat clichéd. There is an interesting exploration of the war and the toll it takes on individuals, but the writing is sometimes hackneyed with an annoying use of exclamation marks to indicate emotions the writing cannot create. There is some sense of the 1940s, but the romance between the protagonists is the important theme and how secrets and misunderstandings can damage family relationships.
This book is presented as a debut novel, but the author has in fact published several others under the name of Janet Tanner. Fans of Judith Lennox and Rosie Thomas would probably enjoy this book, and it would pass a rainy afternoon very nicely curled up with a hot chocolate.