Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~'s Reviews > When Skies Have Fallen

When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan
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3.5 stars

This reminded me a lot of Kaje Harper's Into Deep Waters. Two guys meet during WWII, fall in love and decide to make a life together. One gets injured near the end of the war. We see them as they grow older, living through the various social and political changes and victories for gay rights. They get cats. And that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Arty and Jim are air force technicians, Arty for the Brits, Jim for the Americans. They first see each other at a dance hall, where the attraction is instant. They officially meet later at Jim's base when Jean, a friend of Arty's, finagles a "chance" meeting on a supply run. They figure out a way to see each other, meeting in an empty field between their two bases and slowly fall in love.

It was refreshing to see them actually get to know each other before falling into bed. Logistically, they couldn't have risked it sooner than they did (not that that would stop some authors - and you know who you are) and so the build up of their relationship fits the times and dangers that surround them. Unfortunately, a lot of the getting to know you gets summarized, though we do still get to see enough of it to see the connection between them. That's not really an issue.

What was an issue for me was that they had it so amazingly easy at the start. They're both missing from their bases for hours at a time while they're rendezvousing; this is never an issue. Arty's friends and sister, and Jim's mom, are all amazingly supportive; not really an issue either as there are others who are not that they need to be careful of. But even the nurse is on their side, and the others in the hospital don't seem to raise much of a fuss about anything either. They do come up against plenty of strife later though, as England during this time was extremely homophobic, to the point that gay POWs were made to serve their full prison sentences without taking into account the time already imprisoned by the Nazis. Plus, there were the "witch" hunts, extremely reminiscent of Gestapo searching for Jews, gays and everyone else they deemed unworthy. It was unsettling to read at times, and those parts of the story were very well done with evoking the tension and dread Jim and Arty had to live in.

I was ready to give this 4-stars until the very end, when I thought we'd get to read about Jim and Arty finally deciding to fight the system and instead it jumps to the epilogue several years later, where England has finally decriminalized homosexuality. I wanted to see more of the fight, to see Jim and Arty standing up and being strong together as a unit, and I didn't get that.

And this is just a personal nitpick, but I'm not a fan of the title being repeated in the narrative of the text multiple times. Once or twice is cool, but more than that and I start to feel like I'm being knocked over the head with it. Yes, I get it, the title is metaphorical. Now leave me alone so I can read my book.
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Reading Progress

June 7, 2016 – Shelved
June 7, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 7, 2016 – Shelved as: own-to-be-read
July 25, 2016 – Started Reading
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: m-m
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: military
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: love-is-an-open-road
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: outside-the-usa
July 25, 2016 – Shelved as: war
August 1, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 2, 2016 – Shelved as: animals-pets
August 2, 2016 – Shelved as: characters-with-disabilities
August 2, 2016 – Shelved as: historical
August 2, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016
August 2, 2016 – Shelved as: veterans
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: wwii
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: set-in-1940s
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: set-in-1960s
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: set-in-1950s
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: romance
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: homophobia
July 17, 2017 – Shelved as: 3-and-a-half-stars
November 3, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbtq
March 16, 2019 – Shelved as: lendable-on-kindle

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Teal (new) - added it

Teal "not that that would stop some authors - and you know who you are" LOL


Linda ~ chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny ~ Teal wrote: ""not that that would stop some authors - and you know who you are" LOL"

I must've read a book (or books) where an author did that before reading this one, lol.

But there are so many authors who just can't wait to get to that first sex scene instead of holding it off for when it would actually 1) be safe and for the characters and won't make them look like horny idiots, 2) would add to the relationship development instead of acting as a shortcut for said development, and 3) make sense to the plot.


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