When Skies Have Fallen is a truly epic romantic and gripping story following British airman Arty Clarke and American Sergeant Jim Johnson from their first encounter during WWII and twenty years on as they fight for their right to love and live together. Reading this book felt like watching a wonderful movie, the characters came alive from the very start and the settings were so real, vivid and dramatic. I really hope that it will get adapted to a movie or TV series one day!
This story starts at a dance at the air force base where both Arty and Jim are stationed, when they can’t help notice each other across the dance floor. Sensing Arty’s feelings, his competitive dance partner Jean, pushes him to make contact. From there, they work to find time together to get to know each other, falling in love as they do. As war nears an end, Arty and Jim are making plans on how they will be together, when tragedy strikes.
This story was so beautiful, heartbreaking, sad and gripping, and hopeful at the same time. It truly is an epic love story that spellbinds you and touches your heart from the start. There is heartbreak and tragedy, cruelty and tension, but also so much laughter, friendship and love. Despite the tragic events, despite the danger and fear for being discovered, despite the harassments and contempt, their deep love and affection for each other never falters. But it’s not just a story of two young men meeting and falling in love during WWII, it’s also a story about making a life after war and fighting for the right to be true to yourself and show your love for the person you have given your heart to. In war, they were heroes. After war, they could be persecuted simply because of their love for one another.
The characters in this book were amazing and so relatable and three-dimensional. I immediately rooted for both Arty and Jim, they were so sweet and adorable and so real. I loved that the relationship developed slowly and with hesitation that felt true to the time. Showing your love for another man in those days was forbidden both by the armed forces and by law, so the mixed feelings of love and excitement with anxiety and tension was all too understandable. I also loved the secondary characters, especially Arty’s dance partner and close friend Jean, who give them help and cover. She was such a wonderful, strong, courageous and fun best friend that always stood by Arty and Jim no matter what.
I absolutely loved this book, it really is one of the greatest romances I’ve read! It’s both an important eye-opening story to tell, how gay love was forbidden and the injustice in how society treated them, and a swooning, sweet and emotional love story that took my breath away. I recommend it with all my heart!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Debbie McGowan