The story was inspired by a real-life person - a Polish pilot called Anna Leska and her experience during the Second World War. She went on to be awarded medals for both Britain and Poland for her service in the air (which is written in more details in the Author’s Notes towards the back of the book and isn’t really that much of a spoiler - don’t worry!).
Kristina, the main character is a pilot in the Polish air force in 1939 alongside her brother. When the Nazis reach the town where she is based, she has to try and make a quick escape. With a plane in her grasp, she gets away. But, she does not realise that there is a stowaway on board too. Knowing she can’t go back, Kristina has to push her way forward with Julian (her stowaway) in tow. She must overcome the worst and most difficult flight of her life. Will she find safety and avoid the heartbreaking tragedies which will soon befall her country?
‘White Eagles’ is a brilliant mix of personal struggle, relationships and the will to thrive and survive, all wrapped up in a historically epic sense of adventure. It offers the reader a glimpse into decades that are long gone, but still survive for their great importance in our culture and society. While reading, you really feel a sense of gratitude that our generation has not been forced into a similarly horrific conflict since, and hopefully never will again.
It shines a light on what it means to be human and that, even in times of peril, basic humanity and the desire to help one’s fellow man is one of our greatest traits as a species.
In a remarkably short space of time, the book introduces our two main characters and we see them go from total strangers to the closest of friends. But this doesn’t feel forced or rushed in the slightest - a friendship this detailed and relatable on an emotional level would have been right at home in a novel two or three times as long.
Seeing both of their stories unfold and understand how and why they come together is a wonderful reading experience.
If you want another quick easy read, but with a great storyline and heartfelt characters, then I would definitely recommend ‘White Eagles.’
Sister. Saviour. Deserter?
Give this novel a read to find out! Enjoy ?