Posted in: willaful reviews
Tags:Carrie Lofty, ebook only, Historical romance, World War II setting
sensuality rating: steamy
I love the cover and title of this book; it not only establishes the period, but implicitly promises a story that strives for authenticity and sincerity. A promise that was definitely fulfilled.
The time, of course, is during World War II, some months before the Invasion of Normandy. Lulu is a British pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary — hating the war, but relishing the opportunities it’s given her to move out of the traditional women’s sphere. Doing her part as a morale booster, she also dances with, flirts with, and occasionally shares kisses with soldiers — but only for one night apiece. After a painful loss, she doesn’t dare risk more with men who could die at any time.
But Joe, a medic who was the first person on the scene when Lulu had a crash landing, tempts her to break her rule:
Never had she imagined seeing him again. His face was unforgettable, like the lyrics to a favorite song. He’d been a beckoning pinpoint of light when her body had liquified and her senses turned traitor.
But more than his surprising calm, then and now, he was undeniably handsome. Hard, tall, simple, guileless — how did one describe an American man? Light brown hair cut close to his skull accentuated the cords of muscle along his neck and the blunt squareness of his jaw. He had substance, solid and strong. Lulu imagined digging her fingers into his wide shoulders and thick biceps until he flinched… if he even would.
Forget Dawson. She wasn’t thirsty anyway.
She was hungry.
Solid, strong, able to keep a clear head in an emergency… how could you not love a man like Joe? And Joe is equally taken with Lulu’s confidence, and her ladylike, proper air, belied by “that wild glint in her eye.” One of the things I most loved about Joe is that even though he has a conservative, old-fashioned, protective attitude towards women — which of course will be an area of conflict — he is never shocked or disgusted by Lulu’s sexual assertiveness. The former can be worked with — the latter could never be forgiven.
I found this story to be a wonderful immersion experience. We are there, from the obvious things like the music playing (made even more realistic by Lofty using songs from the thirties as well as the forties) to little touches that bring the everyday reality of the time home. Here’s a bit from the first time Joe and Lulu make love:
Before removing her nightgown, he wondered what underwear she wore. Perhaps some frilly, cheap, lacy piece of froth. Or maybe something more demure, befitting the efficient way she wore her uniform.
Aroused to the point of mindlessness, he slowly lifted the hem. She wore perfectly ordinary white panties. The cotton was worn thin from repeated washings. The lace trim meant they were older than restrictions on non-essential clothing. How long had she gone without something new and pretty? The war intruded at impossibly intimate levels.
(This is rather analytical thinking for someone almost mindless, but the detail really hit home with me.)
This immersed, involved feeling really pays off later in the story, when things become tense and exciting. I ached for the characters, and was filled with suspense and dread, despite knowing it was a romance and I could be reasonably sure of a happy ending.
I give His Very Own Girl 4 stars, and a strong recommendation to romance fans and readers of historical fiction looking for something fresh. It’s available in ebook format only, from Simon & Schuster Digital Sales. You can buy it from Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here.
Reviewed from an ebook won through an All About Romance contest.