Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Beauty Chorus by Kate Lord Brown

The Beauty ChorusI saw this on Netgalley and of course, it being about women in aviation, I had to read it. Though I received the egalley from Netgalley, I am thrilled to be participating in the blog tour. 

The Americans had the WASP and England had the ATA, Air Transport Auxiliary. This novel follows three different women, all ATA pilots during WWII for reasons of their own.

Evie is a rich, spoiled girl who is somewhat bored and wishes to get away from her stepmother's evil clutches. Evie is the star. She takes her flight test wearing a mink coat and drives an Aston. Truly, a remarkable gal. She has a few love interests, mainly a fellow pilot named Beau, but though the spark between them remains throughout the novel, there are many times when I was sitting there going... "Oh, they won't hook up after all... or will they?" I was left in suspense. The novel wasn't predictable at all, a point in its favor.

Beau is a main character as well. He's half German and rumor is he was shot down by his own father. There are lots of questions regarding Beau and just where his loyalty lies. Plus he has a fiance that just won't let go and he disappears a lot....

Stella is the next lady pilot. She's running away from something and going through post partum depression (They didn't call it that back then though.) She's the "Ice Queen" who turns down many a horny fellow. But there's one... a curate of a church. How will react to learning about her "secret" though? 

The last flying chick is Megan. She's a small farm girl who loves to fly. What she lacks for in experience, she makes up for in enthusiasm. She loved a man on the farm... but wants to have some fun. And here is my one quibble with the book: Not enough of Megan. She's introduced in the beginning when readers read about her on the farm, her desire to save the farm and keep from her greedy cousins, and her love for Bill. However, once she becomes ATA, there is very little at all about her until all of a sudden over halfway into the novel, some major stuff goes down and Bill suddenly comes back into the picture. I was scratching my head at that point, asking, "Oh? She still loves him? She hasn't said a word about him..." I had actually forgotten all about Bill.

Meanwhile, while all these people are living their lives (as much as they can while ferrying planes constantly), someone has it in for them. Someone is sabotaging planes. Someone may pay the price.

Something else I want to mention is Amy Johnson. She has "scenes" of sorts in here in which she narrates about what possibly happened to her and her parts are just wonderfully eloquent. Amy Johnson was a real life ATA pilot who died while ferrying. In TBC, she dies, but lives on as a guardian angel....

Here's an example: "I will not leave these girls. I shall be their guardian angel, flying beside their Spitfire's wings. When they are looking for a break in the clouds, I shall be the wind that parts a safe course home. Shackleton talked of his fourth man. TS Eliot wrote of the other who walks beside you. We who have gone before are with you when you need us most. We are there holding our dying sons on the battlefield and beaches as they drown in their own blood. These women are my daughters, my sisters, and I shall be 'the other' flying with them, until this is over and we have won our peace."

I was just moved by that. I also laughed my butt off when Evie slaps Beau's "fiance" and says, "I may do my job as well as a man, but I am all the woman Beau will ever need."

Again, I had an egalley and quotes may not be exact in the finished publication. 

Four stars. 


  1. I wandered over from your half review on Goodreads. I just learned about this book this morning, and I am easy, I love ATA girls, I want to read it. Thank you for the review!

    Also, look out for Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein next spring; it is also about ATA girls and it's spectacular. (I was a lucky beta reader.)

  2. Tori, glad you stopped by! This is a book worth your time. Tell me about this Code Name Verity. I couldn't find it on Amazon. :( Is there a blurb somewhere? An author's website, maybe? If I could get it added to the goodreads database, I won't forget about it then.

  3. Hi, Tara, it's still pretty far out in the future, as publications go, and so it's not on Amazon or Goodreads yet. The author erratically keeps a Livejournal here and there's a very brief blurb here