Remarkable. My time wasn't wasted. In fact, it was time well-spent.
From the timeline of World War 2, an account of two teenage girls' battle with the aftermath of their unfortunate fate is laid in narration.
Best friends Kittyhawk (Margaret "Maddie" Brodatt, a pilot) and Verity (Lady Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stuart a.k.a Eva Seiler, a spy) is a sensational team of two brave young ladies.
When Maddie dropped Julia in Ormaie (fictional place in France where she is sent as an undercover), neither of them thought how hapless both of them would soon become.
Julia was caught and held captive at Chateau de Bordeaux (an old hotel turned into a prison cell). She is tortured by Engel, Thibaut and their boss, von Linden to extract confidential information. She does it by writing endlessly the tale of how she and Maddie met, their heartwarming adventures leading to the present state.
I have to admit, the first half of the book is quite boring. All those tiny little details about airplanes, places in England and abbreviations rammed up in your brain is quite disconcerting at times. Though it's the kind of disconcerting your brain needs. As it may be helpful facts in the future, you never know.
But the other half of the book, it's just totally captivating. Like the calm before the storm. Like the slow and deliberate brewing of a good coffee. It's just something I didn't expect it would be. This is a thoroughly researched novel. I wonder how long Elizabeth Wein took to finish this incredible masterpiece.
(The following may be a giveaway but I can't help myself for they are my favorite lines from the book.)
And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie's written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I'm reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She's right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can't be landed, stuck in the climb - alive, alive, ALIVE.