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Under An English Heaven
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Under An English Heaven

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  297 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
It is 1943 and sleepy Suffolk village, Bedenham, is jerked into the 20th century and the harsh reality of war by the arrival of an American bomber base and its 3000 inhabitants. For 14-year-old evacuee Billy, the US invasion is heaven sent, but a concealed past threatens this new happiness.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 1st 2003 by Time Warner Books UK (first published November 1st 2002)
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Luis Enrique Nice, he represents a brave and intrepid youngster, with love and beautiful idealistic goals.

Community Reviews

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Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful novel about an American air force unit in Sussex during the Second World War.
Nail biting and descriptive narratives about the air fights which can be graphic.
The relationships and characterizations are amazing.
John Hooper a commander who struggles with the guilt of losing his squadron and the English school teacher Heather Garrett who is his love and soulmate and helps him through his pain. The streetwise young London evacuee Bill Street, the mascot of the base and his sad history an
David Manns
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'd had this book lying around for some time and finally decided I'd better read it! I'm glad I did. This is a wonderfully written, moving book about the American crew of a B17 bomber based in Norfolk during World War 2. It starts with carnage as one pilot loses his whole crew while another crew loses their pilot. You can guess that they are teamed up. The damage and post-traumatic stress they all suffer is movingly captured by Radcliffe, as is their growing sense of camaraderie as they rack up ...more
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think it would be true to say that halfway through this book I still didn't fully understand what was going on. I think it probably helps to know a bit about aviation, and a bit about the battle for air supremacy in World War II. Maybe. I'm not too well up on either. I stuck with it, though, and the book seemed to miraculously come together, I got my head round the myriad characters (and promptly re-read chapter 1). The story picked up, I really started to care about the characters, and I adde ...more
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this marvellous, touching, real novel set in Suffolk during WWII. It was enthralling, romantic, with wonderful descriptions of flying a B17 Flying Fortress. Couldn't put this down.

Back Cover Blurb:
The Second World War has England struggling for its survival, but in Suffolk, in the summer of 1943, beautiful weather and bumper harvests almost distract the locals from the build-up to one of the most crucial battles of the war. At dawn, the hosts of bomber bases constructed among East Anglia
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historic-fiction
A brand new author for me and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It's not an action packed, thrill a minute war story, nor is it a war-torn, hopeless romance. But what is is fall neatly between the two - a very clever move by the author and a brilliant way to tell the story.

The novel is set around an American air base during World War II and the village nearby. One of the flight crews suffers a horrific mission the first time out and a new
Gilda Felt
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book begins rather slowly, which may have been because of all the characters that needed to be introduced, but it doesn’t take long before you find yourself completely enthralled. The book was a joy to read. I came to love all the characters, American and British, whose lives were so changed by the War: Billy, the street-wise evacuee who is befriended by one of the bomber crews; Heather, the wife of a soldier missing in Burma; Hooper, the pilot who is still living down the loss of his first ...more
Peter Lewis
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was loaned this book by a very dear elderly friend of mine,so elderly that he had the envious job of servicing Spitfire aeroplanes during the war.

He was also one of the founding members of the magnificent RAF Musem at Cosford.

Under An English Heaven was one of those magnificently written and accurate novels of Wartime England.

When a story is told this well, it's hard to put the book down, it never becomes repetitive or boring,and the story even though its fictitious has a great sense of realis
Huw Rhys
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, it was easy enough to read. It was a sort of "Memphis Belle" meets George Elliott meets Thomas Hardy somewhere between the fens and Wessex, mainly in the Second World War but a bit either side of it as well.

If that makes any sense at all.

It's a pretty detailed account of an American Bombing crew during WW2, juxtaposed with the obligatory forlorn love story.

But it has a twist - and I'm not saying any more than that! But I've read a lot worse - though don't really expect this
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was such a touching,exciting, poignant story, with so much delicious detail- in the english countryside and way of life during WW2 and the american air force and B27's. I learnt so much that I never knew before. There were lots of amiable characters and great twists and a really satisfying ending. One might argue that there was some rather cheesy very american moments that take you back to the movie pearl harbour, but it can be forgiven for that because the writing is excellent... and i hap ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As well as having a good storyline running through it, this book gives the best description I've yet to read of what the war in the skies was actually like for those fighting it: at times I really felt that I was there with them & the tension was almost unbearable - I really don't know how they withstood the stresses & forced themselves into those flying coffins day after day.
I always had an admiration for the achievements of all three branches of the armed forces during WWII, but, hats
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As war novels go, this marvelous WW2 novel hit ALL the right notes: Romance, heart-stopping action, evocative detail, where-are-they-now epilogue, heroism and self-sacrifice, a stunning twist, the idiocy of bureaucracy, and the desperate camaraderie of wartime.

I absolutely LOVED it!

Thoroughly recommended for fans of WW2 fiction.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this novel although I would have liked it to have been longer. Such good characterisations that had the potential to develop further. Would love to see this adapted for television. Will have to wait for HBO's 'Mighty Eighth' TV release to get something similar. Recommend it for residents of East Anglia.
Gwynn White
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this charming book. i almost cried when it ended. It was a book I could keep reading and reading. The setting, the atmosphere and the mood of World War II England was superb. i felt as if I was there myself. and the characters ... so real. By the end of the book they felt like friends. I would recommend it to anyone who loves books on this best time in modern England's history.
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought this was an excellent depictian of life in the second world war, I was impressed to learn a few more things about the second world war and was also impreesed by the amount of true events that actually changed the storyline. For anyone who like me is interested in WW2 I strongly suggest this book.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Based around a Flying Fortress squadron in late-1943, the story focuses on a crew and the inhabitants of the Suffolk village near their airfield. The flying is superbly described, realistic and tense, and the characters are fully believable, particularly the female teacher whose husband is missing in Singapore, a young evacuee who is not what he seems and several members of the crew aiming for twenty-five missions. Not totally convincing historically but a powerful and moving examination of the ...more
Georgie Charlton
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book and almost went back to the first page to reread, but I lent it to someone instead. I will be recommending this to lots of people, I think it would appeal to all sorts of readers due to the different characters and angles this story has. It unfolded wonderfully, and as you get to know the characters you see how their relationships develop. Being written by someone who was in the war I like to think it was quite accurate too.
Michelle Jedrzejowska
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J Barkess
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I am disappointed with this. I expected it to be similar to the very entertaining 'Yanks' written by Colin Welland.
There wasn't one realistic, believable character in this book unfortunately, nor a decent plot.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Before picking up this book I had not heard of the author but am a fan of history based books and throughout I could not resist comparisons with Sebastian Faulk's Birdsong albeit in a different theatre of War not to mention different War but it had the same poignancy about it. This was perhaps a little harsh if true.

The book is set around a USAF Bomber base near the Suffolk village of Bedenham and in particular the crew of Misbehavin' Martha and it's pilot Hoops as he tries to help them to compl
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
A harrowing and touching war novel, set on and around an American air base in East Anglia, Under an English Heaven focuses on the American crew of the Misbehavin’ Martha as they work their way toward the 25 mission release clause; Hooper, their lieutenant, fresh from a half-remembered tragedy that took the lives of his last crew, finds emotional shelter and a growing love with Heather, a local schoolteacher who has waited in a fragile limbo for word of her husband and brother, prisoners in a Jap ...more
Markus Owen
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I am rather fond of war fiction, but this far exceeds all the other bland filler-fiction I have read recently. Looking at a small English town playing host to a U.S. air base in the Second World War, Under an English Heaven explores themes of love, patriotism, bravery and sacrifice. It is a thrilling read and all my non-war-reading friends have loved it as well.
Ellie Revert
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I learned a great deal about the US flying during WWII. Had thought my knowledge was pretty complete and it was not! Am eager for Brent to read it, as the flying info is generous. He will appreciate it, and it made lots of sense to me. Incredible amount of human interest in reading about the relationships between the Americans and the British. A very sweet story!
J.L. Merrow
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Chaotic and occasionally confusing, but utterly compelling. It certainly reads like the author has done extensive research into life on a WW2 bomber.
Let down by the last chapter, much of which was unnecessary. I think the author was too concerned to tie things up neatly. Oh, if I'd been his editor...
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read in the style of Neville Shute's novels. The shifts in point of view when they did come were rather clunky but apart from that the descriptions of B-17 bombers going into Germany were almost filmic. A worthwhile read, with a love story and twist at the end which although almost fairytale was surprisingly satisfactory. The author knows his readership.
Alex Harrison
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A tremendously exciting novel set during WWII, if I had to describe it in one sentence it would be "Birdsong with planes and no trenches!". But that is selling it short. It's just as good as Birdsong; possibly better.

A great read. Don't be put off thinking "I don't like war books" - it's a great novel with a great romance at the heart of it.
Rob Godfrey
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another book I have read several times. Not a classic but well-written and hard to put down once started. If you like war with a bit of romance, then I'd recommend this.
His other novels are well worth a read too.
Mary Kehs
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
This book gives a good account of life in England during WW11. The story revolves around a bomber group of the 8th Army Air Force, and anyone having lived during this period should find this book to be of interest, although some of the bomber runs are very graphic.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: wwii
This was not exactly an engaging read. In fact, imo the only reason this is worth picking up is to glory in one of the most cringe inducing, badly realised, sex scenes ever committed to wood pulp and ink.
Kay Southgate
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the moving story and the accurate details of life on and around am American airbase in Suffolk (living in Norfolk we are surrounded by old bases so it was highly evocative for me) not the most ground-breaking book but a good read.
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“Heather: In any case, it really is very kind of you to give up so much time for the children. I'm quite sure you have a thousand more important things to attend to. Sergeant Kynper: If not for them, then who the hell is it all for?” 0 likes
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