War, love, death; these three themes constantly battle against each other in Kate Berslin’s upcoming novel, High as the Heavens, set to be published in paperback next month. This historical romance follows Evelyn Marche, a British nurse working in German- occupied Brussels, who recounts the days leading up to the war and the shocking reality of what it is like to be invaded by the enemy. Not only is she fighting for her patients, but her position as a spy for the British Secret Service means she lives every waking hour in fear that she might one day be discovered. However, on witnessing a plane crashing into Brussel’s Park, Evelyn makes it her duty to keep its pilot safe from the prying and psychically threatening suspicions of the enemy, A.K.A ‘the vampires’.
I was in mixed minds about this novel to begin with. I’m not really into the sort of sickly-romantic stuff that you see in period dramas, the ‘love-at-first-sight, lets-get-married’ nonsense. When Evelyn finds the body of the man she loves lying in the wreckage of the plane crash, I felt certain that I might be in for one of those over-sentimental reads. However, despite my pre-conceptions, I was pleasantly surprised to find enough about the dark and twisted side of human nature detailed during the war-days, that the romantic moments actually balanced the destruction and brutality out. Perhaps this was the intended effect?
I enjoyed the narrative layout of this novel. Breslin carefully unfolds the story to us through the use of flashbacks, both through the eyes of Evelyn and the crashed pilot, Simon. Their relationship has been cleverly planned out enough as to make it believable and I felt I was able to sympathise with them more and more as the novel progressed. Breslin also succeeded in making my hairs stand on end. The descriptions of the brutal attacks that the German soldiers take on Brussels really are gruesome and heartbreaking and I found myself holding my breath, knowing that not only did this really happen, but is undoubtedly still happening now, in 2017.
This novel is definitely intriguing and has a unique concept. It comes out on the 6th of June, but you can preorder now via Amazon. or from BakerBookHouse.com