War affects everyone. No living creature is left unscarred by the ravages of conflict. These truisms are poignantly recounted in L.M. Elliott’s premiere novel entitled Under A War-Torn Sky. Elliott’s fluid storytelling style is woven together with vivid historical details from World War II, appropriate for adolescents who seek suspense-filled adventures.
Inspired by her father’s true stories of World War II intrigue and action, Elliott captures the courage, self-sacrifice and bravery of the French Resistance forces. For many young fighter pilots, the romance of flying soon turned into the horror of combat, as discovered by 19-year-old second lieutenant Henry Forester, the youngest pilot in his Air Force squadron. Shot down behind enemy lines, Henry struggles to survive in hostile territory. For the first time in his life, he is dependent on the kindness, sympathy and cunning of strangers in a foreign land. Over the course of many months in occupied France, Henry matures far beyond his years. He sees, hears and experiences unimagined cruelty and brutality. French children and teenagers forfeit their adolescence for the cause of freedom. Instead of playing ball or attending dances, they stealthily deliver munitions to Resistance forces or aid downed Allied pilots, risking their lives with every mission. During Henry’s many lonely hours, he learns not only about those who have risked their lives to rescue him but also about himself. Growing up on a farm in Virginia, Henry felt that his father was particularly harsh, but he calls upon those memories when confronted with life-or-death decisions in hostile country. This realization results in a new understanding and appreciation of the influences that shaped his life.
Elliott offers the reader a gripping and suspenseful story that explores the human spirit in thought-provoking dialogue, some of which is delivered in French. Fans of history, culture, language or just good storytelling will definitely want to read this account of the actions of the French Resistance during WW II.