Risking It All
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Pages: 47
Goes Well With: Classic meat and potatoes—and a cup of hot tea

The classic wartime setting seems perfectly suited for the short romance genre. After all, with the enemy approaching and lives at risk, there’s little time for long, meaningful glances and relaxing dinner dates. But in her short and sweet World War II romance, Risking It All, author Lucy Oliver might move the story along just a little too quickly.

As the war rages on around her, Head Radio Operator Lynne Cecil fights to keep her RAF pilots alive—but, time after time, she’s forced to listen to their final words as their planes come crashing to the ground.

Spitfire pilot Billy Jenkins is sent to the airfield on a secret mission to investigate the high rate of deaths. He isn’t expecting to run into Lynne—the girl who got away—and he definitely isn’t expecting the evidence to suggest that she’s to blame.

As Billy struggles to stay objective in his investigation, Lynne wrestles with her feelings for the man who hurt her so many years ago—all the while worrying that each flight could be his last.

Risking It All is a classic war story, with brave young women and heroic young men standing up to defend their country, no matter what the cost. The story is given the right amount of old-fashioned melodrama, as Lynne and Billy try to do their part while struggling with their feelings for each other, knowing that each moment together could be their last.

Despite its classic themes, though, the story doesn’t pack the emotional punch that it could. There’s certainly a sense of urgency, as enemy planes soar overhead—but the characters often feel underdeveloped, their romance simply glossed-over. While readers are given a glimpse of one evening in the characters’ shared history, it’s not quite enough to build a believably passionate romance. There’s more to the story, too—both characters have lost people they loved to enemy fire—but their loss seems more like an aside than an important part of their past.

Meanwhile, the story suffers from some strange inconsistencies. When we meet Billy in the beginning, for instance, Lynne introduces him as “someone my brother knew”—and she often looks back on the last time she saw him, when he danced with everyone but Lynne at her brother’s party. Later, though, she talks about how her father died in the war when she was young, leaving her mother a widow with a child. After the story’s set-up, Lynne’s brother seems to cease to exist—which seems like a major oversight in such a short story.

Risking It All probably could have benefited from just a few more pages—from a little more development in the beginning and a little more time to tie up the story in the end. It’s a charming tale of wartime romance that keeps readers an arm’s length away.

Ed. Note: For more on Risking It All, visit The Wild Rose Press.

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