~ About the Book ~
In the midst of World War II, Ireland has declared herself neutral. Troops found on Irish soil must be reported and interned, no matter which side they are fighting for. When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Not only is she a widow living alone, but if caught harboring a combatant, she’ll face imprisonment.
Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.
But Nan has another secret, one that has racked her with guilt since her husband’s death and made her question ever loving again. As Nan and Dutch plan his escape, can he help restore her faith?
Release date: 13 June 2017
Publisher: Waterfall Press
~ Excerpt ~
She wrapped his arm in clean bandages. “You’ve lost blood, so you’re probably a wee bit weak, but I’m sure you’ll be fine if your arm doesn’t get infected. Mind you keep it clean. Let’s get you into the bath.”
His gaze swept upward and down, lingering on her lips before it settled on her eyes. “You want me to strip?”
“You’ve stripped enough. Stay in your underwear. Come on. Up ya get. Slowly.”
“I don’t think I have any other speed.”
It’d been a long time since she’d felt the hardness of a young male body, saw the bulging of powerful thigh muscles, or smelled the scent of a man in her house.
Dutch settled into the warm water, his underwear clinging to him. She tried not to look. Too much.
“Thank you.” His dog tags glistened in the light from the oil lamps. He lay with his eyes closed, his head resting against the tub. He drifted into slumber. Or passed out, more likely.
Sitting on the edge of the tub, she dipped a washcloth into the bathwater. There was little chance that he’d be going anywhere tonight. Lying there in her tub, he seemed weak as used tea leaves.
She ran the cloth over his muscular chest, down along his stomach, then back up to his neck.
He looked a great deal better all clean. Nan couldn’t remember when she’d seen such a nice-looking fellow. Lovely thick, dark hair, with a curl dangling over his forehead. He had light skin with a touch of bronze where the sun had kissed his features. She moved the washcloth over his cheekbones, down his straight nose, and gently over his full lips. She teased the cloth over the scar that jagged across his square chin.
Ah sure now, he was a patient and she shouldn’t have been thinking of him in any other terms, but she was only human. And wasn’t he all man?
Bam, bam, bam sounded at the front door. Nan slid off the edge of the tub. Her heart pounded, the noise pulsing in her ears.
Dutch’s body jerked. His eyes opened wide as water sloshed over the sides of the tub.
“Who’s that?” He grabbed her hand with a strong grip.
“Dunno. I’m a midwife, not a soothsayer. It could be a husband coming to fetch me for his wife.”
His gaze bore into hers. “Or it could be the Garda.”
She tried to look away but couldn’t. Couldn’t lie, either. “Yes.”
He pulled her toward him, entwining his fingers with hers. “Don’t give me up. I can’t be interned. I must get back to England. Back to my unit. Fly more missions. Please?”
Nan swallowed hard. “I shouldn’t help you. If I’m caught hiding you, there’ll be repercussions. I could go to jail, lose my practice. The women in town rely on me.”
Loud knocking struck again. She looked at the door.
His grip tightened, drawing her attention back. “Just for tonight. I’ll hightail it out of here tomorrow. Ireland’s freedom is at stake, too. The Germans will run you down like dogs. Look what they did to Poland. You want that to happen here?”
His words ignited the Irish patriot in her soul. He was on the right side of this horrible war. The danger was real.
Nan thought about her best friend, Tuda, and about Tuda’s twin boys. They’d volunteered for the RAF and were out there somewhere. What if they needed help?
Dutch pulled her even closer. The heat of his body sank into hers. The set of his jaw, the intensity of his eyes weakened her resolve.
God forgive her. Saints protect her. “All right. Only for tonight.”
~ Review ~
There’s something about a book featuring opposing loyalties in war time that always grabs my attention, but this is the first time I’ve read a book where one of the parties is living in a politically neutral country and obligated to behave in a politically neutral manner. Of course, people themselves rarely remain politically neutral (particularly when handsome flyboys become involved!), and such is the case in this novel, but the price for showing leniency to either side is high. And with an officer like Seamus Finn poking his nose around Nan’s house at all times of the day, keeping a flyboy hidden until he is able to make his escape is nigh impossible.
As far as the overall plot is concerned, this was an engaging read, and the constant risk of discovery for Dutch kept the tension high. However there were some parts of the story that were less satisfying for me, one of the main ones being that it felt to me as though Nan and Dutch’s relationship was based more on physical attraction than an emotional closeness. They’re both attracted to one another immediately, and we’re frequently reminded of that physical attraction, but they didn’t really have time to get to know one another on a more emotional level, so for me, the romance felt a little shallow.
One thing the story did do well was to capture the dynamics of Irish village life. In particular, the Catholic faith plays a large part in these people’s lives, and although I don’t agree with all its tenets, its impact on Nan’s life was an integral part of the story. There were times, though, when I felt we got a little too much information on village life. Some villagers had no qualms referring to what was happening behind closed bedroom doors (and not always within marriage), and I thought some of the conversations and comments on this subject were unnecessary, perhaps even a little crass. I also thought it was odd that Nan (a widow and a midwife) was so missish about nursing Dutch at times, but then flaunted a bit of cleavage or leg on several occasions in order to distract Officer Finn. I definitely wasn’t a fan of this latter tendency.
Despite its weaknesses, I enjoyed the historical setting and the overall plot. I’ll be interested to see what this author offers in the future.
I received a copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Giveaway ~
One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 31. The winner will be announced August 1 on the Litfuse blog.
~ About the Author ~
Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.