Every time I read a book, I learn something. Non-fiction books, of course, are true stories (for the most part). Historical fiction books tell a story, but the characters, plots, historical references may be changed due to the writer’s fancy. “Grounded Hearts” by Jeanne M. Dickson is a fictional story of a downed RAF pilot in Ireland. I was not aware that Ireland was a neutral country in the Second World War. I was also not aware that downed pilots were interned in a camp for the duration of the war. Anyone harboring these fugitives was sent to prison. I found this a fascinating aspect of the war that I did not know.
This is the story of Dutch Whitney whose bomber crashed in County Clare in a marsh. He and his crew parachuted out of the doomed plane, but Dutch doesn’t know the whereabouts or status of his crew. He happens upon a house where a midwife lives. Nan O’Neill takes pity on him and tends to his wounds. Since he cannot manage on his own, she decides to hide him from the Local Defense Force (LDF). The story continues as Nan and Dutch are involved in keeping themselves free.
Ms. Dickson’s writing served to keep me interested until the last page and aggravated that I could not sit and read this book in one sitting. I thought this novel touched on something I had not read or heard of and this provided a most interesting read for me. This book was a wonderful debut for the author and I look forward to many more novels in whose pages I can lose myself.