Valuable ... It’s an enormous responsibility, telling a community the tale of its own tragedy ... You might open Nineteen Steps for the celebrity name, but stick with it for the history of an under-recognized event of World War II, a disaster still not satisfactorily resolved for many.
The story starts to sing when Nellie meets Ray, a U.S. Air Force pilot stationed nearby. The prose describing their first kiss fits the moon-eyed mood as the young couple falls hopelessly in love ... Honestly, most readers could predict the rest of the plot ... Time will tell if Brown has more stories in her, but her late, beloved grandmother would assuredly be proud of this first effort.
Heartfelt and warm, with quietly heroic characters that embody the innocence of first love and wartime patriotism, Brown’s debut is sure to be popular among readers who enjoy novels that bring lesser-known notable events from the past to life.
Her fans are likely to reach with excitement and hopeful generosity for this coming-of-age story. But it is inexpertly written, its major tragic scene confusing and poorly described, and the characters never transcend the paper-thin clichés with which they were constructed (plucky young woman; handsome Yank; asthmatic, nobly suffering friend). Though it seems likely to be a hit, the novel lacks the depth to elicit real emotion. Poorly drawn characters and clichés abound in this familiar story of WWII.