Skybound – Aleksandr Voinov
Germany, 1945. The Third Reich is on its knees as Allied forces bomb Berlin to break the last resistance. Yet on an airfield near Berlin, the battle is far from over for a young mechanic, Felix, who’s attached to a squadron of fighter pilots. He’s especially attached to fighter ace Baldur Vogt, a man he admires and secretly loves. But there’s no room for love at the end of the world, never mind in Nazi Germany.
When Baldur narrowly cheats death, Felix pulls him from his plane, and the pilot makes his riskiest move yet. He takes a few days’ leave to recover, and he takes Felix with him. Away from the pressures of the airfield, their bond deepens, and Baldur shows Felix the kind of brotherhood he’d only ever dreamed of before.
But there’s no escaping the war, and when they return, Baldur joins the fray again in the skies over Berlin. As the Allies close in on the airfield where Felix waits for his lover, Baldur must face the truth that he is no longer the only one in mortal danger.
Lots to love about this. WWII from the German POV, men in uniform, beautifully written story, pacing that didn’t feel rushed, historical authenticity, poetic imagery, the atmosphere of fire, smoke and steel plus a gripping and suspenseful climax. Even without the romance this is already a gem. The romance itself was full of longing and love. I love the subtly of actions and the tender moments, the sharing of cigarettes, the tinkering of the piano, the clinking of the safety belt. Never had I wished so hard for a story to have a happy ending.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits