Elinor Florence is an author and journalist whose career spans five provinces, from editing daily newspapers, including the Winnipeg Sun, to writing for Reader’s Digest Canada, and publishing her own award-winning community newspaper. Her historical novel Bird’s Eye View is a Canadian bestseller. Elinor grew up on a Saskatchewan farm and now lives in the mountain resort town of Invermere, British Columbia.
Bird’s Eye View
Rose, a Canadian intelligence officer in Britain in World War II, struggles with conflicting feelings about the war and a superior’s attention.
Rose Jolliffe is an idealistic young woman living on a farm with her family in Saskatchewan. After Canada declares war against Germany in World War II, she joins the British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an aerial photographic interpreter. Working with intelligence officers at RAF Medmenham in England, Rose spies on the enemy from the sky, watching the war unfold through her magnifying glass.
When her commanding officer, Gideon Fowler, sets his sights on Rose, both professionally and personally, her prospects look bright. But can he be trusted? As she becomes increasingly disillusioned by the destruction of war and Gideon’s affections, tragedy strikes, and Rose’s world falls apart.
Rose struggles to rebuild her shattered life, and finds that victory ultimately lies within herself. Her path to maturity is a painful one, paralleled by the slow, agonizing progress of the war and Canada’s emergence from Britain’s shadow.
This debut novel is filled with drama, romance and plenty of colourful Canadian wartime history.
While the story may be one of fiction, Florence hasn’t escaped her reporting past so easily, with large amounts of research and historical facts surrounding her characters.
Simply put, Bird's Eye View is the best book I have read in the past year. Not only is the book well-crafted and researched, but so convincing that it is hard to believe it is a novel and not an autobiography. I could hardly put the book down, but did so after each chapter or two because I didn't want to race through it, and preferred to savour the story over more time. Although aviation research is a major field of my work, I knew virtually nothing about wartime photo interpretation, so a bonus for me was learning about that. Elinor's book provides an accurate picture of an aspect of wartime life both for those in uniform and the effects on civilians, centered on the mail character in the story. This book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in the Second World War, but stands on its own as a fine read for anyone who appreciates good literature. I have recommended it to many family and friends, and after reading the book they share my opinion of it.
Everything Florence writes is vividly alive, but those who remember V-E Day will feel it’s April 1945 on reading this story.
Bird’s Eye View is a great work of historical fiction.
And this is where the book becomes amazing. I learned more about British and allied wartime intelligence than in any other book I’ve read on the subject.