High as the Heavens

Written by Kate Breslin
Review by Jeanne Greene

England, 1914. A short marriage and a long separation can ruin a relationship, even in peacetime. But it’s wartime when Eve and Paul elope, seizing a few precious days together before Paul, a flier, reports for duty and Eve returns to nurses’ training. Then, in a tragic case of misidentification, Eve receives notice of Paul’s death and, grief-stricken, joins Red Cross nurses in Belgium awaiting an overseas assignment. When Germany invades Belgium, Eve is caught up in the ensuing violence and risks her life to help the wounded. One is a German officer who, out of gratitude, gives Eve a job in a hospital commandeered by the German Army. By working tirelessly and ingratiating herself with German officers, Eve remains above suspicion—while she spies for the Allies.

Brussels, 1917. Eve finds a downed Allied flier, wounded but alive—and recognizes Paul. Neither friends nor strangers, wary and hardened by war, Eve and Paul have reason to distrust each other. Why does Paul suspect that Eve is a German spy? Where has Paul been? Why can’t or won’t Eve tell Paul the truth about her past? Eve uses an elaborate ruse to smuggle her husband out of Brussels. If the couple is to reach England safely, however, and perhaps make another life together, they must first forgive themselves and then each other.

Breslin’s use of flashbacks, subplots, and unfortunate vernacular can be distracting and, occasionally, tiresome. This might have been a better book if it were shorter. But readers looking for epic romance will enjoy all 386 pages and find the ending highly satisfactory. High as the Heavens is the author’s second novel set in the WWI era (after Not by Sight).