Beyond the Horizon Cover

Beyond the Horizon

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Historical Fiction / Friendship
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: October 15, 2019
Number of Pages: 326
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Beyond the Horizon book cover

From the author of The House by the Lake comes a powerful novel of friendship during World War II, fighting for the truth, and making peace with the past.

At the height of World War II, Eva Scott’s dream comes true. Accepted into the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she leaves balmy California and the man she loves for grueling training in Texas, ultimately landing at formidable Camp Davis in North Carolina.

Vastly outnumbered by men and amid contempt, discrimination, and sabotage, Eva and her closest friends, the unconventional Nina and straight-laced Helena, remain loyal to their mission and to each other. They stay focused on the horizon, determined to prove themselves capable women pilots. Until a fatal mission sends Eva’s dream crashing to earth . . .

Now, decades later, is it possible to discover the truth about the night that changed her life? Is there any hope she’ll recover all that she’s lost? When Eva finds herself embroiled in the fight to get military recognition for the WASP, she’s forced to confront the past, and to make a decision that could forever change her future.

Thrilling and inspiring, Beyond the Horizon is a portrait of love, friendship, and valor in a time of war—and a tribute to the brave women who risked their lives for their country.

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“With snappy dialogue, impressive historical details, a sense of adventure and courage on every page, and even a love story, Ella Carey has hit all the markers that make fine historical fiction.”
— Ann Howard Creel, bestselling author of The Whiskey Sea
“Fans of inspirational World War II fiction will cheer on Eva and her fellow pilots as they chase their dreams, endure heartbreak, and discover their true strength. Carey’s evocative descriptions bring home the exhilaration of flight—and the everyday indignities endured by young women who challenged the expectations of their time. The story’s final twist makes for a surprising and moving conclusion.”
— Elizabeth Blackwell, author of On a Cold Dark Sea and In the Shadow of Lakecrest
“A moving, beautifully written novel about the amazing WASP during WWII. True to life and packed full of emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed feeling like I was one of these extraordinary women pilots as I read the story.”
— Soraya M. Lane, Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Girls of Pearl Harbor
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Bookstagram: paperback book is shows leaning on an antique globe and tin airplane.
Bookstagram photo courtesy of Maida Malby.
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Clueless Gent’s Rating

4.5 star rating

I found Beyond the Horizon to be a particularly poignant story about the obstacles confronting the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. I knew the WASP existed, but this novel taught me a great deal about their mission, as well as the fortitude of this special group of pilots.

When I was in the military, I gave my female superiors just as much respect as my male superiors. Actually, whenever I read a novel including military characters, I already have a particular mindset that I apply to them, based on my experience. However, this story did a complete revamping of that mindset.

This author, Ella Carey, was not a WASP, but it was very apparent that she has a special connection to the WASP. In the Afterword – which I found very informative – she tells us that her mother was in a similar organization in Australia (kind of similar) during the war.

The Telling of Beyond the Horizon

The author took an interesting approach to this story. I’ve seen this approach before, but I don’t think it’s been overused (yet). The story was told in flash back sequences of the main character, Eva, who was a WASP.

Although the WASP was disbanded at the end of the war, it was never classified as a “military” organization. This non-recognition brought a plethora of problems to these pilots. Their pay was considerably lower than male counterparts, they had no type of insurance, etc.

In reality, however, they were very much like a military organization. They did not fly airplanes in combat, but they did pretty much everything else military pilots did. Further, they had to know how to fly several types of aircraft, whereas most military pilots only flew one type.

When the U.S. Air Force began training its first female pilot in 1977 – 30 years after the WASP disbanded – Eva goes to Washington with some other surviving WASP members for congressional hearings related to giving WASP a military status.

I know it took me awhile to get here, but it is under this umbrella – a congressional hearing – that the story is actually told.

All of the middle chapters in book begin with the “committee” asking Eva a question, followed by Eva’s response. Then, Eva’s mind goes into flashback mode. Lucky for the reader, Eva’s flashbacks are pretty much sequential, so this is how the real story is told.

Technically, the story is told in the third-person, but I preferred to think of it as Eva telling the story as she looked back on her younger self. Regardless, the third-person POV was fine with me.

Technically Speaking

The copy I read was not a final copy, so any SPAG problems (of which there were next to none) are moot.

This story has two distinct, yet equally significant (in my opinion), climaxes. However, the climaxes do not impact the same character(s) equally. In the realm of characters, I thought the character arcs were well defined, and a few of them were surprising. I thought the pacing was well done, and this story held my interest from the very first page, except that I personally felt that a certain “plot leap” should have been a bit more defined. (Hence, the deduction of a half-star.)

The author did a great job of bringing the 1940s back to life. With Carey’s description, I felt like I could “see” the dresses worn by the women. I could envision the haze upon entering a room and smell the stench of cigarette smoke. Further, the author used language very typical to that era. If you like being immersed in the nostalgia that was the 1940s, this is the story for you. There are no scenes of war, but the reader gets a good idea of what life was like here in the states.

Aside from going into detail about “how” the story was told, I really didn’t say too much about the plot. That was intentional. I don’t want to deprive potential readers about the surprises to be found within these pages.

Do I recommend this story? You bet!

And about the ending: I didn’t see it coming. Will you?

I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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Silhouette of a woman ready to spin an airplane prop (taken from the cover of the book)

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Susan Fletcher Author Photo

Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of The Things We Don’t Say, Secret Shores, From a Paris Balcony, The House by the Lake, and Paris Time Capsule. Her books have been published in over fourteen countries, in twelve languages. Her sixth novel is Beyond The Horizon, set around the Women Air Force Service Pilots during World War Two.
Ella is incredibly excited to share this book with her readers, as her mother was a W.A.A.A.F during World War Two, and her father was in the R.A.F, flying airplanes over occupied France. Ella traveled to Sweetwater, Texas, to research the novel, and is grateful to Ann Hobing, the then Executive Director of the WASP museum for sharing her wonderful knowledge of the WASP. Ella also worked with two pilots to craft the flight scenes.
Ella loves to connect with her readers. For more information on the background to her novels and updates about her next release, and to contact her about appearances at your local book club, please visit her website.
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OCTOBER 17-27, 2019
(U.S. Only)
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