Title: A Parachute in the Lime Tree
Author: Annemarie Neary
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: The History Press Ireland
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: Oskar had never been afraid of falling.
Goodreads blurb: April 1941, neutral Ireland. Kitty awakes in remote Dunkerin to find a German parachute caught in one of the trees in her garden. When she discovers Oskar, injured and foraging for food in her kitchen, he becomes a rare and exciting secret. But Ireland during the Emergency is an uneasy place, and news of the parachute soon spreads.
When the author of A Parachute in the Lime Tree e-mailed to offer me a review copy, I said yes, mostly based on Anna’s review at Diary of an Eccentric. When it comes to historical fiction, hers is an opinion I highly value. She loved it, and that combined with the fact that it is World War II fiction set in Ireland, which is rare, had me putting it on the top of my to-read list.
The novel follows the stories of four people throughout the war. Kitty is an Irish young woman who is trying to take care of her mother after her father’s death. She is frustrated with being forced to leave Dublin for the country, and yearns for something exciting to happen – leading to her having a pretty atypical reaction to discovering a Nazi in her kitchen. Elsa is Jewish, and was able to escape Germany to Ireland – but is without her family in a strange land. Oskar, who believes he is in love with Elsa, becomes disenchanted with the Luftwaffe and parachutes out of his bomber as it flies over Ireland, hoping to find Elsa. Charlie is a young Irish medical student who becomes attracted to Elsa after seeing her play the piano at a musical competition.
The lives of these people become entwined with one another as they do their best to survive the war. I liked Elsa’s story best, but was fully engaged in each person’s point of view. Neary is a wonderful writer. She writes simply, yet beautifully, and gives the reader a vivid picture of Ireland during the war.