That Burning Summer
by Lydia Syson
Summary: Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.
So, recently I've been craving books set during WW2 (especially ones with romance in them), and this book seemed like it could've been just what I was looking for. It was... and it wasn't. Basically, I liked the book but it felt like there was something missing.
In general (as I've probably said many times before), I'm not a fan of alternating POV's in books and this was a book with alternating POV's. Peggy's chapters were my favourite, I was kind of indifferent to Henryk's, while Ernest's mostly just annoyed me or bored me and I think that had a big impact on how much I enjoyed the story.
I went into the book expecting the romance be a bigger subplot than it actually turned out to be, it was hardly there at all really (at least, it felt that way to me). It felt like we barely got any scenes of Peggy and Henryk together, either because they just didn't have many conversations or because they were left out or glossed over or it was kind of drowned out by all the Ernest stuff.
It's kind of hard to explain my thoughts on this book. It's just...I liked it. I liked the characters (although Ernest bugged me--probably because I have a little brother so I was projecting a little bit there), I mostly liked the story, I liked the writing style, and I liked Peggy and Henryk together even though there wasn't nearly enough of it. There wasn't really anything I loved though.
The only thing I didn't like was how it ended--it felt a bit rushed? Abrupt? Too something, or not enough something, but I can't pin point what.
So yeah, I liked the book, but I wanted to love it. I expected to love it. I just wanted more from it than what I got--I wanted to be totally swept up into the story and lose myself in what the characters were feeling but it didn't make me feel much of anything beyond entertained.
I'd rate it 3.5 stars out of 5. I do recommend it, especially if you like stories set during WW2, and you'll probably enjoy it more than I did if you like alternating POV's and don't go into it expecting it to be a romance.