Emily White works in the first-class cabin on the prestigious commuter route from her home of New York to London with Crown Airlines. She is working a desperate schedule in order to provide for her five-year-old son, Henry.
Olivia Lewis is a million-dollar-a-year frequent flyer on Emily’s route. A personal emergency brings both Emily and Henry into Olivia’s life.
Simon is Olivia’s Personal Assistant. Olivia relies on Simon, as well as her friend Nicole, to help her navigate confusing social situations.
The Writing Style
The narrative is third-person from the perspective of both Emily and Olivia depending on the scene. The dialog, particularly between Henry and the adults is nothing short of remarkable.
Henry is the star of this book. Radley has captured the voice of this five-year-old in a way that will expose the parental instinct of even those who insist no such instinct exists within them. I’m often reminded of the sentiment to never work with children or animals in movies when I read a book where the author is brave enough to include children. Add to this the socially awkward Olivia and Radley gave herself quite a challenge. She pulls it off brilliantly. We sympathize with Emily’s need to make Henry her priority and her patience with Olivia’s frequent and serious errors in social etiquette. At the same time, we are quick to forgive Olivia and cheer for the successful uniting of this family.
There is no doubt this book ended with a cliffhanger. This bothers some people. I’m not one of those people. The sequel, Grounded, is due to be released soon. And I plan to read it as soon as it is available.
If you think you can’t fall in love with a kid in a book, think again.
Excerpt from Flight SQA016 by AE Radley
Olivia Lewis stepped aboard Flight SQA016 bound for London Heathrow. She walked through the premium cabin towards Jessica who was waiting to greet her by the curtained entrance to the first-class cabin.
“Good evening, Miss Lewis,” Jessica greeted. “Can I take your luggage?”
“Thank you.” Olivia nodded and handed one of her bags and her overcoat to the stewardess before taking her seat. A moment later, an empty glass was placed on the drinks tray on her armrest as it was every Sunday evening.
A quick look around the cabin and Olivia could see that none of her regular fellow travellers were on board and the cabin was, in fact, half-empty, not at all surprising considering it was a short working week in Britain due to the public holiday on Monday.
She picked up a newspaper from her armrest and glanced at the front page with disinterest while she waited for the Emily White to make an appearance. She hadn’t called. Olivia didn’t know why, and she certainly wasn’t about to ask but she still wanted to see her to try to piece together some information which might help her to ascertain what she had done wrong. This time.
Olivia hadn’t spent much time seeking out an exact diagnosis regarding the difficulties she had communicating with people. Her mother had called her odd, her sister said socially awkward, and her friend, Nicole, had thrown around words like Asperger’s. To Olivia’s way of thinking, putting a name to the reason why she always said and did the wrong thing in a social situation wasn’t going to help her in any way.
With a frown she turned her head to see if she could figure out why there was a sudden commotion behind her in the crew galley and what the hushed whispers were about. Both Emily and Jessica were absent from the cabin and Olivia strained around, to see what was happening, but to no avail. As the conversation quietened she turned to look out of the window and watch the seemingly endless stream of passengers boarding the aircraft via the airbridge.
The tell-tale sound of high heels alerted her to the presence of a member of the cabin crew leaving the galley and walking into the cabin. Olivia looked up.
“Good evening, Miss Lewis, I hope the girls are treating you well?” Iris Winter asked as she stood by Olivia’s seat and smiled.
“Yes, yes, they are,” Olivia replied with a frown as she wondered why the cabin manager was making a rare appearance.
“Good, good,” Iris said with a wide smile. She glanced expectantly at the galley. Olivia turned to see what Iris was looking at and blinked in surprise as a young boy emerged holding Emily White’s hand. Olivia tried not to stare but found it difficult. The boy was helped up into the large leather seat by Emily who was quietly speaking to him as she fixed the seatbelt around his small hips.
“I hope you have an enjoyable flight with us, Henry,” Iris said with a smile and a prim nod before she left the cabin again.
Olivia tried to stop staring. Luckily, Emily was giving the boy her full attention and didn’t notice her gawping.
Jessica stepped into the cabin and bent down beside Henry with a grin.
“Wow, Henry, the big seats! How exciting! Wasn’t it nice of Mrs Winter to let you sit up here instead?”
Henry nodded and smiled at Jessica as he looked around the cubicle with fascination. He was around five years old with a mess of dark brown hair and he wore blue jeans and a light blue t-shirt with a cartoonish giraffe printed on it.
Olivia snapped her attention back to the newspaper in her hands as she realised that this was most certainly not like every Sunday, this was rapidly becoming a very different Sunday.
Olivia cast a glance sideways and saw Jessica stand up and start to check on the passengers in the cabin while Emily tightened Henry’s seatbelt and ruffled his hair before heading into the galley.
The safety video began to play and Henry explored all of the options on the screen of his armrest handset with interest and Olivia did her best to look at him without making it too obvious what she was doing. When she heard footsteps, she turned back to her newspaper and peaked over the top of it while Jessica did a final check of the cabin, the window blinds, and seatbelts, and ensuring that all the overhead lockers were firmly closed.
Jessica closed the locker above Olivia and the plane began to move away from the terminal building. Henry looked up in surprise at the movement. Jessica walked over to him and smiled calmly. “Don’t worry Henry, we won’t take off for a while yet and when we do, your mommy will come and sit with you.”
Olivia frowned as she intensely studied the same article in her newspaper that she had supposedly been reading for ten minutes but had yet to take a word of it in. She wondered who the boy’s mother was and why a young child was flying in first-class. Her question was answered a few moments later when Emily returned to the cabin and strapped herself in the seat opposite Henry.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955334475
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
AE Radley Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Flight SQA016 by AE Radley. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.