Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Long Flight Home” as Want to Read:
The Long Flight Home
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Long Flight Home

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  4,026 ratings  ·  852 reviews
Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours—a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.

It is September 1940—a year into the war—and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corp.
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Long Flight Home, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mindythebookyenta No mature content. I finished the book and it has no sexual content and the violence is very mild for a book about nazis. This book is appropriate for…moreNo mature content. I finished the book and it has no sexual content and the violence is very mild for a book about nazis. This book is appropriate for a High School student. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,026 ratings  ·  852 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Long Flight Home
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Long Flight Home was an intriguing read. I was not sure what to expect from the novel. Did it focus on the war effort or romance? Alan Hlad was successful in blending both. I was concerned at first that it would be overly romantic for my tastes. Initially I was afraid my concerns would be met. The tale then took twists and turns that I did not expect.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was learning about a topic that I had little knowledge about. Though I have read many historical fictio
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an Advance Reader copy of this novel, 'The Long Flight Home' by Alan Hlad, which will be published on June 25, 2019. Many thanks to Kensington Publishing for my copy.

Although my opinion has generally been that the market seems to have reached a kind of saturation point when it comes to the number of World War II novels that have been written, I admit that I was drawn to the premise of this book and I found myself swept up in the story Alan Hlad created.

This novel begins in the autum
Connie G
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Although I've read many books about World War II, I had never heard of Source Columba. This was the code name for the program to air-drop thousands of homing pigeons in France during the German occupation. It was hoped that French Resistance fighters would use the pigeons to send strategic information to England about German troop movement and the location of their planes and tanks. The pigeons would carry the messages in tiny canisters attached to their legs.

"The Long Flight Home" is an engagin
Karren  Sandercock
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks so much to NetGalley, Kensington Books and Alan Hlad for giving me the chance to read his book: The Long Flight Home.
Susan Shepherd lives with her grandfather Bertie near Epping Forest in England, Susan was raised by her grandparents and her parents died when she was a little girl. Susan and her grandfather live a quiet life, they breed and race homing pigeons.
Susan was studying zoology, but the war starting halted her studies and she decides to help her aging grandfather care for his pi
You don't have to know a lot about pigeons or aviation to follow the story. But on the same token, you will not learn much.

Most of it centers more around the relationship between one specific pigeon and her owner. I was hoping there would be more information regarding the pigeons war effort; for example, the messages that they delivered that were helpful to the RAF, the training, etc... Yet, the only messages the reader is made known of are the messages that the pigeon delivers between the two
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Susan Shepherd and her grandfather Bertie raise homing pigeons on their small farm in Epping, England. Susan loves and nutures her pigeons, especially Duchess with whom she shares a special bond.The German Luftwaffe fly over regularly on the way to London to drop their payloads. Night after night the skies are lit up by the fires burning London to ashes.
Across the ocean, Ollie Evans, a crop-duster in Maine, decides to join the Royal Air Force after the sudden death of his parents. Chance circums
Louise Wilson
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Its September 1940. War has been going on for a year. Susan raises pigeons. Ollie is a pilot. Susan lives with her grandfather, Bertie on a pigeon farm. They supply the war effort with pigeons, hoping they will bring home messages from occupied France. Ollie lived in Maine. He is a pilot. He decides to go to England to join the war effort. His path crosses with Susan and Bertie. Love blossoms between the young couple.

This story has een well researched and its beautifully written. I know a littl
Deanne Patterson
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must be a sucker for sad books. Historical fiction is my favorite genre to read and it mirrors true historical events that have happened.
There are a lot of tragic events that have happened in past history.
I enjoy reading the description of events leading up to a historic event, even a sad one.
The history is past and I can't change it but I sure would like to take the characters and say don't do that, or run away, so and so is going to happen to you if you don't do a certain thing.
They say hind
Nicole Reeber
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I truly dislike giving books a bad review. I respect people who write historical fiction and devote the time to the research and creative process. However I found this book schmaltzy and predictable and I only kept reading it so I could finish and give an honest review. I tend to read a lot of books about WWII so that time frame is what initially caught my attention and having never read about the use of pigeons in the war peaked my interest. However, the love story falls flat, the flow of the s ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Epping, England, Sept. 1940: Susan Shepherd postpones her zoology study at the University of London in lieu of a more important endeavor – raising war pigeons.

Buxton, Maine, Sept. 1940: Ollie Evans postpones his study in aeronautical engineering due to his father’s accident on the potato farm. Ollie has been fascinated with planes since early childhood. His father taught him how to operate a crop-duster biplane, at the age of 14, to spread fertilizer over potatoes. But now, another accident lead
Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
“The British government’s secret mission is pigeons?”
“Source Columba,” Bertie said.
“These pigeons are going to help us win the war.”

This is a must read for historical fiction lovers! Hlad did a fantastic job putting a new perspective on the thoroughly covered WWII genre. “A Long Flight Home” was well researched with an engaging storyline, sympathetic characters and some unlikely heroes. I enjoyed the action scenes and the love story woven throughout but was particularly pleased by the lack of p
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it

+++thanks to Goodreads and Kensington Books for the giveaway in exchange for an honest review+++

More and more stories about the activities of the Allies of WWII keep coming to the surface. Whether it was a hidden fact or just one that wasn't spoken of much in these current times, learning about the vast corps of homing pigeons that were in service out of England was quite interesting. These birds were dropped into occupied territory with hopes of finding their way into the ha
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: release-2019
Oh lordy what a tear-jerker. This was such an outstanding, true to life story that it drew me in right from the start.

This book tells of the beautiful love story between Ollie and Susan its main characters, although they were fictional, their story felt very real. I love how the author was able to bring his readers into Susan’s beloved pigeons daily-life. I was invested 100% and in-tears rooting for them to return home safe, Duchess in particular. Adored her.

Some parts of the book are recreate
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad in a Goodreads give away in exchange for an honest review. Before reading The Long Flight Home, I must admit that I did not know a lot about how pigeons were used in World War II. I found it fascinating how pigeons could be trained to carry messages during the war back and forth from England to France. It was also surprising to find out how this story came to be. The author, Alan Hlad, mentioned in his Author's Note that he had read abo ...more
I won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway; this did not influence my review.

The first chapter of Hlad's WWII novel captured my attention - I immediately liked Susan and was fascinated to learn more about her family's racing pigeons and how they would be utilized for war efforts. The second chapter shifted to Ollie's point of view in Buxton, Maine, and this is where the book lost me. In full disclosure, I live in Maine and grew up in New England so I may be pickier than the average reader, but I quick
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW, OH WOW!!! No way can I do justice with a review that could come close to depicting how wonderful, beautiful, even informational and golly darn, just plain how AWESOME this book is. By far the best book I have read in 2019 and it will be going into my all-time favorite books ever list. I expect this to be a best seller. It is one of the most astonishing WWII books, bringing to the spotlight a subject that has not even been mentioned before in the hundreds of WWII books I’ve read.
I fell in lo
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are so many novels being written about WW2, some are just okay, ( "read something like it before"), but then there are the others. The Long Flight Home is one of the others, it's a debut novel. The author, Alan Hlad, takes the reader on a journey with a little known fact. There was a "covert assignment Codenamed Source Columba" during WW2 which deployed pigeons across enemy lines. "A homing pigeon can travel distances of up to six hundred miles per day, fly at speeds of seventy miles per ...more
Christi M
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Long Flight Home is primarily set in Eppings, England 1940 at the beginning of what has come to be known as The Blitz, where the Luftwaffe bombed London for almost 60 straight days. Eppings, England holds the farm home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather Bertie who are both volunteers in the National Pigeon Service where they raise homing pigeons, or in this case – war pigeons. Shortly after the story starts ‘Ollie from Maine’, through a set of circumstances, begins helping them on the far ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Goodreads First Reads Review - Free Book from Kensington Publishing

WWII Historical Fiction is a favorite genre and The Long Flight Home interested me because of its’ basis around the British using pigeons for intelligence work during the war. Fascinating creatures, pigeons. They look like a simple bird and are far from it. Kudos to the author for taking on this little talked about war intelligence project in his first novel.

Really, at the core, this is a sweet, romantic, novel about Ollie, an A
Kim Galla
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a charming romance novel set during the London Blitz, if one can fathom it. I enjoy different perspectives in historical fiction and glad I decided to read a romance.
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-wins
I feel so fortunate to have won this book in a Goordreads giveaway. It’s a wonderful, but heart wrenching novel set in England & German occupied France during the early days of the war, in the midst of the Blitz. I liked this book so much because while there have been so many WWII historical fiction novels written recently, I’ve yet to read another one focused on the National Pigeon Service & how pigeons were used to help the war effort.

Ollie is a young American man who flies planes as a crop
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book is a true treasure. One that will have readers talking for years. In fact, I would actually put The Long Flight Home in the same category up there with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is really that spectacular. I absolutely loved this book. Mr. Hlad is a prolific storyteller. The Long Flight Home is a five star recommended read!

Bertie and Ollie were great characters. The book is told from their points of view. So their voices really stood out. Yet, they were so engaging
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Honestly this book was a 2.5 and the reason for this is because it was so dramatic and non realistic. The things they said and did made the whole thing so dramatic and seemed very unlikely to really happen. I was very disappointed in this book.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read quite a few novels set in 1940 during the war but, The Long fight home by Alan Hlad is different to other books that I have read.
It’s September 1940 and it’s a year into the war. Sam Shepherd lives with her Grandfather Bertie in Epping Forest. She was studying Zoology until the war came and halted her studies and she came involved in helping her Grandfather raise homing pigeons, due to her Grandfather suffering with Arthritis. They are part of the National Pigeon service. When Bertie
Mary Lins
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: complete
There is a reason that thousands of books and films have been based on WWII stories. The Second World War affected so many civilians in Europe over its course, and each story is individual and unique.

“The Long Flight Home”, by Alan Hlad, takes place during the London Blitz and concerns the real-life use of pigeons to gather intelligence. You can look up the “National Pigeon Service” and there find the code that was found in 2012 in a pigeon canister that was the spark for this novel. (As of thi
Lee Husemann
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Epping, England in September 1940, Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie are raising pigeons for The National Pigeon Service to be used in the war. A chance meeting on a train between Susan and Oliver Evans, a potato farmer from Maine, add a romantic element to the book. I really enjoyed the history in this book concerning the use of pigeons during the war. I had heard mention of it but never heard the details so this was very interesting to me. This is a very exciting book and I highly ...more
Leanna Mattea
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A wonderful debut novel by Alan Hlad. It is a blend of historical fiction, based on the heroism, courage and will of the British and French Resistance during WWII. Add the unknown legacy of homing pigeons that were used to deliver intelligence messages and the devoted trainers that sacrificed everything to send them into service, and the result was a inspiring tale.
You will come to love and admire these heroes, as Alan Hlad skillfully develops a wonderful cast of characters. His talent for stor
Dawn Fitzpatrick
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book takes place in 1940, during World War II. The main character Susan, lives near London with her grandfather Bertie. They are members of the National Pigeon Service who served during the war dropping pigeons into occupied regions to gain information regarding the movements of the Nazis.

Oliver, an American who had family roots from Britain, chose to join the fight even though the United States, at this time, was not involved. Susan and Oliver unintentionally cross paths.

The hardships of
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ollie, a crop duster from Maine, decides to join the Royal Air Force. His plans change when traded by an officer to a nearby Epping farm. Susan helps her grandfather raise pigeons used by the Royal Air Force. The two develop a friendship. When Susan's pet pigeon mistakenly gets loaded onto an RAF flight, Ollie attempts to rescue it but ends up a stowaway aboard a plane shot down in France. He uses the pigeon to send a coded message to Susan, beginning a series of messages between the two as he a ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I found all the characters lovely except one. The story line was interesting and fascinating. I was a little sad in the end but all can’t be fairy tale endings. This was an example of real life moments. It also made me research the time era in the book. I gave it 4 stars and will tell others to read it. The author did a great job on this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: missing cover art 2 12 Jan 27, 2021 07:44PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Doamna Nobel
  • Today We Go Home
  • Clover Blue
  • Aroma timpului
  • Wild Times
  • Housewitch
  • Wildland
  • A Thousand Roads Home
  • Liberation
  • El destino de los héroes
  • The Tenth Muse
  • The Last Letter from Juliet
  • Cry of the Heart: A World War II Novel
  • The German House
  • Stay
  • The Secret Letter
  • The First Mistake
  • The Long Flight Home: a heart-breaking and uplifting World War 2 love story
See similar books…
Alan Hlad is the international and USA Today bestselling author of The Long Flight Home. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Literary Cleveland, and the Akron Writers' Group. Alan is a corporate executive turned writer who lives in Ohio with his wife and children. You can find him online at, and on Instagram @AlanHlad. ...more

News & Interviews

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose bestselling debut novel, Black Buck, was published in January. It's been a Read with Jenna...
70 likes · 11 comments
“Of wartime London:

It looked as if London was being cremated, one piece at a time.”
“Ollie watched the cemetery disappear in the distance and wondered if there would be enough trees in all of Britain to build the coffins.” 1 likes
More quotes…