Bird’s Eye View is Elinor Florence’s debut novel of a young Canadian girl, Rose, from a small prairie town where “the late afternoon sun pour[s] its peculiar saffron light over the landscape and the ripening grain smell[s] of yeast “(28). Rose yearns to make her mark on the world, to leave the quiet town of Touchwood behind for the adventure and lure of the war. Boarding a ship, Rose leaves for England where she enlists in the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Rose’s keen eye for details has her assigned as an aerial photographic interpreter at a pastoral mansion with hundreds of military intelligence. Working twelve hour shifts, Rose and a group of interpreters evaluate photographs taken by reconnaissance flights. Readers are swept up into the air when Rose gazes at the images, soaring high above as though “seeing it through a bird’s eye” (245); secret meeting places of the enemy, the strange markings in a farmer’s field, the steeple of a town church doomed to be boomed. We, along with Rose, fly over head of the enemy territory noting the nuances and seemingly insignificant details that have vast significance in determining troops movements and bombing plans. Tension is high for accuracy, lives are at stake and the fate of the war.
Despite Rose’s ability to interpret fine details of a photograph Rose is unable to see the necessary details needed in an authentic relationship. Home sick and rather naive, Rose learns about love the hard way. The way a war can sometimes teach us, through abuse, loss and pain. The war comes to England and where buildings stood filled with people “vacant lots dot the streets like gums after the teeth have been pulled, the empty places raw and sore (429).” England becomes a casualty claiming civilian lives, homes, and dreams. With the war on her doorstep, Rose must find within herself the fortitude and will to redefine herself in an age when everything is rapidly changing. She must overcome personal and physical pain to focus on her work and focus on bringing an end one of the bloodiest wars in history.
Bird’s Eye View brings to light an area women served during the second world war not commonly acknowledged through a narrative that presents a character readers will be deeply connected to and concern for. Its rich prose, captivating pace and alluring storyline will keep readers staying up late in the night to follow Rose through her trials and tests.
Readers will not be disappointed with this novel!
For more on Bird’s Eye View please visit: Elinor Florence
Bird’s Eye View is available in ebook version at Amazon: Bird’s Eye View
And for those of you in the Winnipeg Area, Elinor will be coming here August 21st at Grant Park Shopping Mall @ McNally Robinson!