The Long Flight Home

The Long Flight Home

Book - 2019 | First Kensington hardcover edition.
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"Tense, heartwarming and life affirming, The Long Flight Home gives a fresh slant on heroism in WWII."
--Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author of In Farleigh Field, The Tuscan Child and the Royal Spyness novels

Inspired by fascinating, true, yet little-known events during World War II, The Long Flight Home is a testament to the power of courage in our darkest hours--a moving, masterfully written story of love and sacrifice.

It is September 1940--a year into the war--and as German bombs fall on Britain, fears grow of an impending invasion. Enemy fighter planes blacken the sky around the Epping Forest home of Susan Shepherd and her grandfather, Bertie. After losing her parents to influenza as a child, Susan found comfort in raising homing pigeons with Bertie. All her birds are extraordinary to Susan--loyal, intelligent, beautiful--but none more so than Duchess. Hatched from an egg that Susan incubated in a bowl under her grandfather's desk lamp, Duchess shares a special bond with Susan and an unusual curiosity about the human world.

Thousands of miles away in Buxton, Maine, a young crop-duster pilot named Ollie Evans has decided to travel to Britain to join the Royal Air Force. His quest brings him to Epping and to the National Pigeon Service, where Susan is involved in a new, covert assignment. Codenamed Source Columba, the mission aims to air-drop hundreds of homing pigeons in German-occupied France. Many will not survive. Those that do make the journey home to England can convey crucial information on German troop movements--and help reclaim the skies from the Luftwaffe.

The friendship between Ollie and Susan deepens as the mission date draws near. When Ollie's plane is downed behind enemy lines, both know how remote the chances of reunion must be. Yet Duchess's devotion and her singular sense of duty will become an unexpected lifeline, relaying messages between Susan and Ollie as war rages on--and proving, at last, that hope is never truly lost.

"Based on true events, The Long Flight Home has everything I love in a novel--the sense of discovery, the epic drama of a life-or-death situation, and the soaring sense of hope gained from the depths of despair. It's a gorgeous, impressive first novel by a hugely talented author."
--Susan Wiggs, # 1 New York Times bestselling author

"I've always been fascinated by homing pigeons, and Alan Hlad makes these amazing birds and their trainers shine in The Long Flight Home --a sweeping tale full of romance and espionage, poignant sacrifice and missed chances, uncommon courage and the ongoing costs of war. A compelling debut told with conviction and great heart. "
--Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin
Publisher: New York, NY : John Scognamiglio Books, Kensington Books, 2019.
Edition: First Kensington hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781496721679
Branch Call Number: FIC HLAD, A.
Characteristics: 376 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 25, 2020

I found the writing didn't flow and struggled with reading this. The characters were alright but the book seemed shallow and not enough details on the actual training, mission and results of the pigeon missions.

Jan 12, 2020

There have been so many books about World War II, most/many about the horrors of the concentration camps, the starvation of those in occupied countries and, recently, about the women who have previously and largely gone unsung in their war efforts.

'The Long Flight Home' adds a new dimension to the quilt of heartbreaking information about that horrible time: the pigeon service.

Through the grace of God, none of us here will never know the fear of the sounds of sirens and planes with bombs, the night sky turned blazing red with fire from those bombs or something as simple as re-using tea so many times the water barely turns color.

Books such as 'The Long Flight Home', though fiction based on facts, are more important than ever with so many young students no longer being taught our history or world history. It is my hope that these books will inspire people to search out the facts behind the stories.

Author Alan Hlad does a wonderful job of adding truth and facts with well written, heart breaking fiction.

5 stars for The Long Flight Home and a big grin for the author from Cleveland from one of her daughters.

Jan 02, 2020

I’ve read and enjoyed many WWII novels. This one appealed to me because of its unique theme of homing pigeons used during the war. This book ended up being more of a light historical romance with very sweet, wholesome characters. It didn’t go into depth at all about the pigeon training or how the information received from returning pigeons impacted the war effort. Pretty much all I learned was that only 1 in 4 pigeons returned and some were eaten by starving townspeople - how depressing. It was a great premise for a book, but I was disappointed that it didn’t turn out to be what I was expecting and I did not like the way it ended.

Oct 14, 2019

4 stars. This book was recommended by a friend and I did enjoy the read. Set in England in WW II, it tells the story of a young girl, Susan, and her grandfather Bertie who live in the countryside near London and raise pigeons. They are approached by the Government to work on a secret project, training pigeons who would be dropped in France and would bring messages back from locals and partisans with information about the Germans. There is also a young American man, Ollie, who works on the farm but who wants to be a pilot and whose life becomes entwined with Susan's. Ollie ends up in France and sends messages back to Susan via her pet pigeon, Duchess. Based on a real program used to success in the war, this was a very nice little read and I found it a quick and enjoyable read.

Oct 09, 2019

well written WW2 historical novel, different take on story line the last few chapters ,recommend.

Sep 14, 2019

Easy read. Interesting


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