The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 8/25/19-8/28/19

Guys, we have made it to the 3rd full week of September! This week, I am going to be posting 3 OUABC reviews for you all! This first one was the Adult July 2019 selection, and according to their Instagram, this box required an extra long box to fit all of the gifts, so this one should be exciting! As usual, I don’t know much about what this is about, but I know that it is set in WWII, and I am assuming that it is also about fighter pilots. Otherwise, I am going into this completely blind, so I will see you all in the first gift! (Side note: there was a random feather in my book? So… maybe it is about birds too?)

Page 14

Let’s talk about the book first. So far, we have met Susan and Ollie. Susan is a pigeon caretaker for the war. Her favorite pigeon, named Duchess, has a colorful plume of violet. She is located outside of London during the London Blitz, while Ollie is a farmer in Maine. Ollie is incredibly gifted in the cockpit of a plane, and this gift is a note given to the little girl that watches him do tricks. The pen is a super cool addition, with the feeling of real wood!

Page 156

Firstly, this is dope, and I fully support this gift. Since it is a little difficult to see what it is, the “wrapping” is a water bottle, though it is a little squat, and the gift is a cooling towel. As for what is going on in the story: Ollie finds passage to London so that he could meet the head honcho of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Susan is forced to go to London so that all carrier pigeon caretakers can prepare their pigeons for the mission. When the really creepy Lieutenant tries to hit on her, Ollie runs into them and punches the guy in the face, landing him in military jail. Susan’s grandfather was able to convince the military to release Ollie so that he can work for them for 30 days.

When Ollie begins working, he learns of the history of carrier pigeons and the full mission that has befallen Susan’s pigeons. As Susan and Ollie begin to learn more about each other, they start to care more and more. But when the mission gets moved up, Ollie has to deliver the pigeons to the bomb carrier. One of the airmen is dumb and grabbed Duchess, and when Ollie found out, he tried to grab her out of the bomber. Once he begins, the air raid siren begins to blare, and Ollie gets stuck in the bomber as they make their way to France. His presence ends up killing the gunner, so he has to play a role, and he also has to release all the pigeons, saving Duchess for Susan. As the doors close, he saves the co-pilot of the bomber from leg amputation by pulling him back in. Susan and her grandfather realize that something happened, and they come to the conclusion that all they can do is wait for news of Duchess and/or Ollie.

Page 260

Well, well, well. What have we got here? So for those of you that may be confused, I am pretty sure that you put medicine in this and then carry it around on your keys. I know that they are primarily used for people who need to carry around aspirin for heart problems, but I’m sure they can be used for people who need to carry around anti-panic attack medications, medications to block catastrophic events, carrying around your birth control when you are out (okay, I totally just made that one up), or any other small items that you need on your person. I’m not sure I am at a point in my life where I will use it, but still handy to keep around.

At the point in the last gift, we were right before (? I think…) the bomber crashed in the French countryside. Only Ollie and Lieutenant Boar survive. Ollie dislocated his shoulder, messed up his ankle (although supposedly it’s not fractured), alone with minor injuries. Lieutenant Boar had a huge cut that went through his eye that he had to get surgery for. They hide out at a farm with a woman named Madeline and her pig, Louis. She has promised to keep them until they are well enough for travel out of France. Ollie, worried about Susan, sends Duchess with a letter written in code letting her know that they are in the French countryside and that they are hurt.

After 500 pigeons were released, only a little more than 100 pigeons returned. They must have brought back good intel, because the RAF want to send another 500 pigeons to France. When Duchess returns to Susan, she grabs the note attached to her leg. Duchess then flies back to France and back to Ollie. Ollie, thinking that she just lost the note, sends her off with another note and some of the information he spotted along the way. When Susan realizes that Duchess is literally going back and forth between her and Ollie, they start to take advantage of that information. Her first note to Ollie is what the note in the pill canister is. (Also, her grandfather falls and we learn that his heart is enlarged. Expect that he will die by the end of the story)

Page 345

I would totally rate this gift if the date was different. If they took the time to change the date to 1996, then I would be all for it!

As for the story, we have reached the point where I can’t tell you too much more. I will go ahead and tell you that Ollie goes on a crazy journey, taking refuge in monasteries, to get to the Spanish border since Spain was neutral in the war. Susan is forced to release another 500 pigeons after the success of the first run, causing her flock to be completely diminished. After his fall, her grandfather becomes incredibly sick, but since there are so many bodies coming out of London due to the bombings, they are told not to go to the hospital, and to instead treat it at home.

Page 365

I knew it! I was calling from the beginning that they were going to send me either a tea cup or tea of some kind, purely because they talk about it SO MUCH! And it is super adorable. Now I feel like I need to try drinking tea, which I have literally never done in my entire life. Anywho, can’t tell you anything about what happened, but ya know, you should read the book!

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this book! It was a little jarring when we went from the war to the 90’s, but otherwise, the flow was really good! I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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