A haunting love story wrapped in an engaging and unsettling history lesson…Along the way, readers will learn not just about a fascinating and largely forgotten slice of American history, but what it felt like to live through it.
Payton crafts a beautiful, heart-inspiring and heart-wrenching tale of love, forgiveness, loneliness, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of faith in God and family. These are not the stories we heard from our parents, but they are believable nonetheless.
Pitttsburgh Post Gazette
This top-notch WWII historical novel...involves the little-remembered Japanese invasion and partial occupation of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. War correspondent John Easley is shot down in a seaplane.... He and the only other survivor, young Texan aviator Karl Bitburg, hunker down in a beachside cave while hiding from the Japanese.... Payton has delivered a richly detailed, vividly resonant chronicle of war’s effect on ordinary people’s lives.
(Starred review.)John Easley...and one other survivor of [an airplane] crash endure a desperate struggle to survive the cold and hunger [in Alaska] while evading patrolling Japanese soldiers. Meanwhile John's wife, Helen,...joins a USO show, hoping to make her way to Alaska to search for her husband.... [A] suspenseful, beautifully researched title that readers will want to devour in one sitting. —Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK
Payton, in the loveliest of prose, illuminates a little-known aspect of WWII while portraying a devoted couple who bravely face down the isolation, pain, and sacrifice of wartime.
Set against a meticulously described Alaskan setting, each harrowing or quietly painful minute is portrayed in realistic detail…The book arcs poetically across the distance between Helen and John, drawing out the separation that they (and the reader) can hardly bear.
An unusual novel in that Payton takes us to...the Japanese-occupied Aleutian Islands in 1943. John Easley...a journalist...is shot down and forced into survival mode on the island of Attu.... Meanwhile, John's wife....wangles a trip to entertain the troops in Alaska.... [Through alternating chapters] Payton effectively gives the reader two visions—and two versions—of a neglected aspect of World War II.
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