Bates is a Romance ? Fiction set at the height of World War Two. The storyfollows the main character, John Franklin, through his journey when he bringshis aircraft down into occupied France. The novel deals with love, war,isolation and conflict; although there is no specific theme to the book. I feltthat the book’s purpose was very clear. Bates wanted to show that within allthe horrors of war, two people were able to find love and happiness. Franklinhad crashed his plane and his arm was severely damaged. Yet while looking forhelp he found a wonderful family, and if that had not happened then Franklinwould never have been able to meet Francoise. Bates makes it clear that there isalways some good in all evil, even war. The book’s title is taken from thepoem by Michael Drayton (1563-1631) which is at the beginning of the book. Theshort verse of the poem is relative to a naval experience (from the referral tosails advancing), which partially ties in with the main setting of the book.
Apart from “France”, the actual title never said or made reference to. Thetitle was taken from the poem, which most likely in its complete form was moreto do with war. Although from just the book, the actual title does not have asignificant amount of relation and ties in with the story poorly. The storytakes place in the Second World War when Franklin and his co-pilots take theplane down. Franklin’s arm is hurt very badly but luckily they go down in anarea of France that is occupied and they can get help promptly. After walkingfor a significant amount of time they find a farm where a very pleasant familytakes them. The family, which consists of Francoise (the girl), her father, herbrother Pierre and her Grandmother see to it that Franklin’s arm is taken careof. They also helped to get and/or make citizenship papers for the men. Theyseek medical help from two doctors who are successful in amputating Franklin’sarm. They produce citizen papers for two of the men so they are able to go home.
Hoping the same for the other two, their plan is for Franklin and O’Connor toleave once their papers are found. Franklin falls very ill though and notknowing how his future will develop O’Connor leaves once the appropriatearrangements are made. When the Germans kill the two doctors that helpedFranklin the daughter of one of them becomes very depressed. With Francoise’sfather having a very strong liking of her he too becomes depressed which resultsin his suicide. Papers are finally produced for Franklin so he and Francoiseleave heading for England. They journey up a river so that they are able to passthe Germans. At one point Franklin has a sudden urge to escape to England butwhen caught by gunned arms runs, he happens upon O’Connor. O’Connor isinjured and rests while Francoise and Franklin look for his papers. They findcitizen paper’s for him and board a train headed for England. At the trainstation Francoise runs into problems with the Germans and the result isO’Connor’s death. The style this book is not my preference although it iswritten very well. It is very descriptive, so much that it is extremelypictorial. Bates describes everything feasible and draws a very detailed picturein your mind. He also describes feelings extremely well. When Franklin isenduring much pain in his arm Bates is able to make you almost experience thepain for yourself. As well when Francoise and Franklin are falling in love theirfeelings for each other are depicted very well. The landscapes that the storycomes across are also illustrated excellently. The authority of this book I feelis very much intact. The feelings portrayed in the novel are real and vivid. Thelove that Francoise and Franklin have for each other is extremely believable.
Bates must know the way humans associate or have acquired some additionalknowledge because the manner that the two relate to each other in the story isremarkably authentic to actual human interaction. Despite the previous authoritymentioned when Franklin happened to meet Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Baker and theygave him their former butler’s papers, I found that very overwrought.