Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Book Review: 'Flying Without Wings' by Paula Wynne

Flying Without Wings by Paula Wynne

A sensitive and thrilling novel

Author Paula Wynne began her career in writing after moving to rural Andalusia, Spain. This journey/change of location was documented: Paula and her husband Ken starred in the BBC Show, ‘Escape to the Continent’, which showed their quest to live in Spain. Paula has won acclaim for the Writers’ Resource Series – ‘A-Z Writers’ Character Quirks’, ‘Pimp My Fiction’, ‘Create a Successful Website,’ and ‘Pimp My Site’ as well as for her exceptional historical fiction novels.

Paula’s novel, FLYING WITHOUT WINGS, is a ‘conspiracy mystery thriller’ and she does indeed know how to spin a yarn that involves the reader from page one. ‘7 May 1945
 Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, Czechoslovakia Johan Falkner fell from his bunk and woke me, his spirit. Providence endowed me to watch over this ten-year-old boy in whom I live. Thus far, despite these dark years, we have managed to remain intact and partly sane. The earth shuddered again as a second mortar exploded and the ground under the barracks shook. Now fully awake, Johan gasped. The guard hut! Had it been bombed? Through the shocked silence, broken only by the sound of his gnawing belly, twisting and turning as it cried out for even a crust of bread, Johan wondered if it was still inside the guard hut.’ Without further probing we have a finger on the pulse and direction of the novel – except for the well-paced twists that offer background and purpose of the story’s drive.

Paula offers a fine synopsis: ‘At the close of World War II in TerezĂ­n Concentration Camp 1945 a young Jewish boy, Johan Falkner, overhears a deadly secret about the final legacy of the Third Reich. Forty years later, in rural England, Matt Buttrick learns of a hidden Nazi rumoured to be living in the area. Are the two connected? And what is the mysterious treasure that one of two men took from Germany on a flight from an abandoned airfield near Bremen at the end of the war? The discovery of a body confirms that ruthless people are also searching for this treasure, and the safety of Matt's family may depend on him getting to it first. The only problem is that to do so he will have to talk to the man he holds responsible for the greatest loss in his life, and in doing so confront his broken dream of taking to the skies.

As with her other historical fiction novels, Paula once again roves she is an important author of this genre. Propulsive and rich in imagery and tension, FLYING WITHOUT WINGS is a stunning achievement. Recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.