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The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve

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Author: Anita Shreve / Genre: Fiction

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    2 Reviews
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      26.02.2010 11:47
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      A satisfactory plot with excellent characterisation - overall very good read

      <<< Plot >>>

      When Kathryn Lyons is wakened by a knock at the door in the early hours of the morning by an airline union official, she senses immediately that her worst nightmare has transpired.

      The trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft her husband, Jack, was piloting has crashed into the sea of the coast of Ireland. There are no survivors, and a salvage operation is underway for the plane's wreckage and the Black Box.

      Kathryn and her teenage daughter, Mattie, are understandably distraught with grief, in their own personal hell. Robert Hart, the Union Official, remain close to them for support and to shield them from the intrusions of the Press and Media.

      If circumstances aren't hard enough to endure, the cockpit voice recorder indicates that the crash was not an accident. All the evidence points to Jack bringing the plane down deliberately in a cruel murder/suicide taking the entire crew and all the passengers with him.

      Kathyrn refuses to accept this theory, despite the evidence, and is determined to discover the truth behind her husband's death. The more she delves in to his life, the more she realises that large parts of him were a mystery to her and he had a side to him that was completely separate from the family life that they shared.

      Who was the man she was married to? What were the secrets that he had concealed from her all those years? And what really happened on that fatal flight?

      <<< My Opinion >>>

      This was not the fast-paced thriller that the synopsis might suggest, but an altogether more leisurely paced novel with the mystery elements intertwined with a love story and explorations of the various relationships between the characters.

      Kathryn and Jack's marriage and love story is largely painted by means of flashbacks and conversations between Kathryn and Robert. Kathryn sees their relationship as a strong and stable marriage, blessed by the daughter that they cherish, a close family unit. As she looks back, however, she identifies cracks that may have existed that she refused to acknowledge previously. May be the clues were there, but she chose to ignore them?

      Kathyrn and Robert set out with a professional relationship, thrown together by the worst possible circumstances. Robert becomes her protector, keeping her safe from the media who hound her once the speculation as to her husband's involvement in the crash. An attraction exists between them, but seems wrong - wrong time, wrong reasons, just all wrong. Robert then becomes Kathryn's co-conspirator as she seeks the truth behind the crash - but is his motive as pure as it seems on the surface?

      Kathyrn always believed that she had a very close relationship with her teenage daughter, Mattie, but she finds that the only way they can endure their misery is to almost put distance between them. I found this very interesting as I would have previously thought that togetherness would be more comforting in this circumstance. Did Mattie find Robert's presence too intrusive? Or was it just easier to be with her Great-Grandmother away from the glare of the media and the heartbreaking sight of her mother's desolation?

      While I thought the plot was very good, it didn't have the cliff-hangers or twists that many of the thrillers I have been reading recently. The writing wasn't over-descriptive or flowery but the scenes were nevertheless set very convincingly and realistically. However it was the excellent characterisation that made this book especially enjoyable for me. I found that I developed a real empathy towards Kathyrn, the main character, and I really wanted to know the secrets that had been so deviously concealed from her over all those years. I can't even imagine the pain of the betrayal she must have felt as she gradually realised that her husband wasn't the man she always believed him to be. From a woman falling apart from the grief, she found a remarkable inner strength as she did what she believed she had to do in order to be able to move her life on from this unimaginable horror.


      <<< Conclusion >>>

      Whilst I didn't find myself staying up until the wee hours reading "just one more chapter", I did find myself thinking about the book during the day, wondering what would happen next, when could I get half an hour to read a bit more......

      I would definitely look out for other offerings from this author and its four stars from me for this book.


      <<< Other Information >>>

      The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve
      ISBN: 978-0349112138
      RRP £7.99
      Available on Amazon Marketplace from 1p + P&P
      Or plunder your local library for FREE as I did!
      For more on this author see www.anitashreve.com

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        08.10.2009 13:27
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        Good sloppy read

        I was given this book and to be honest its not really the type of book I would normaly read.
        Kathryn Lyons is the happy and succsessful wife of trans atlantic airline pilot Jack.
        They live in a beautiful old house in Maine with their fifteen year old daughter Mattie who worships her father and vice versa.
        Jack spends a lot of time away from the family home and Kathryn has a job in the local town as a teacher, she feels there is sometimes a distance between herself and Jack even when he is at home but puts it down to the fact they have been together for so long and have maybe become comfortable in each others company.
        The story centres on the death of Jack in a mid air explosion on the plane he was piloting en route from London.
        I loved the way the author used flashbacks to show us how the couple first met and fell in love.
        We discover through the story that Jack was not an honest person and has actualy been leading a double life with another woman across the water.
        Great writing and a very emotionaly charged novel, I will definatly check out her other novels.
        Just shows we never really know another person even though we may think we do.

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