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The Lady in the Spitfire
Helena P. Schrader
iUniverse (2006)
ISBN 0595401511

Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/06)

“The Lady in the Spitfire” was written by Helena Schrader who has a PhD in history.  She incorporates her research on women pilots during WWII into this great fictional story.  Schrader’s knowledge of this era allows her to richly describe what is happening at the time.  This includes the attitude of men towards women, the differences between the American and British cultures, and the fashion of the time.  Even though it is fiction, I learned a lot. In her writings, Schrader gave me a thought of food for thought.  I did not know that women were allowed to be pilots at this time, anywhere.  These women had to fight really hard for respect.

Emily lost her husband Robin when his plane is shot down over Germany.  His death was never confirmed, so she couldn’t really be sure if he was really gone or not.  She is a RAF pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary unit.  When American Lt. Jay Baronowsky almost crashes into her while they are both trying to land their planes, she meets him and her interest is peaked.  He is engaged to a high maintenance snob back in the states.  The fiancé has no clue about what Jay has to deal with while at war.  She is more interested in trivial matters like selecting china patterns for her wedding.  Jay is very intrigued with Emily, as a pilot she understands the dangers that he has to deal with everyday.  Emily wants a friendship but no more than that because she still hasn’t come to terms with what happened to Robin.  In spite of her wishes, the chemistry between the two is impossible to avoid. Jay and Emily begin a real relationship and fall in love.  They have to deal with a lot of issues and hardships along the way.

“The Lady in the Spitfire” is a great love story.  Like real life, things don’t always turn out the way that we want them to, but the lessons learned along the way are important. Schrader has a talent for richly blending real history into her story so that you believe that it is all real.  I highly recommend this book to WWII history buffs and romance fans.