Grounded by A.E. Radley is book two in her Flight series. If you haven’t read book one, Flight SQA016, stop right now and go read it! You should never read book two before book one, people! There is an order to things! Plus, this review will have spoilers about book one, so don’t read anymore if you don’t want to be spoiled!
Okay, so things at the end of book one were not so peachy for our two heroines. And things don’t get much better at the start of book two. Olivia Lewis, our corporate traveler and frequent first class passenger, has changed her routine after the way things worked out with Emily White, the first class cabin attendant on her regular flight. Olivia has changed her flight so her presence doesn’t make Emily feel uncomfortable. There’s been no contact between the two women, including any updates on how Henry, Emily’s son, is doing now that he’s had his surgery. So Olivia is on board her new flight when a mechanical failure leads to an unfortunate landing that leaves Olivia, the plane, and the airline, all a bit worse for wear. And it sets into motion of chain of events that eventually bring Emily and Olivia back into contact. Once they’re back together, hesitant though they both are, they decide to try to become friends, amidst the calamities that are besetting them both. We’re along for the ride as both characters try to navigate through personal and professional crises, and I was definitely cheering as each woman supported the other when it seemed the only thing left to do was fall.
Olivia Lewis seems to be the star of this book, while it seemed Emily was more the main focus of the previous book. She does have some sort of condition that affects her ability to interpret social cues, but has decided that having a name for it wouldn’t matter. I really love Olivia. I think it’s because, for all the awkward things she says and does, and for how her bluntness tends to offend people and push them away, I can definitely see that nothing she does is malicious in any way. She always does what she thinks is right, even though at times that can cross the boundaries that other people have. She may tell the complete truth, and yeah, sometimes the truth hurts, but her intentions are always good, and her honesty makes what she says something you can believe, which is sometimes difficult to find in a person.
Emily White is a strong, intelligent, wonderful woman, and an excellent mother. She’s been dealing with the grave health situation of her child for so long, completely on her own financially, that she’s overwhelmed when her job situation abruptly changes. She’s stubborn, and a bit proud, especially when it comes to accepting help, and all of this plays into how she reacted to Olivia at the end of the first book. But she’s also warm, and accepting, and able to give Olivia a second chance. And possibly admit when she’s been wrong and overreacted.
Henry is here again. If you’ve read the first book, you’re already in love with Henry, but he has a rough time in book two. All I can say without spoiling things too much, is that I felt sorry for what he had to go through before Olivia appears to save the day! And wow, was that magnificent.
There are secondary characters that I think are extremely important, good and bad, to this narrative, but I don’t want to make this section too long, so I’ll just mention them briefly. Lucy and Tom are Emily’s friends, and are letting Emily and Henry live with them while Emily takes care of some of Henry’s medical bills. Irene and Sebastian Brennan, Henry’s grandparents, show up wanting a relationship with Henry. (Lots of stuff there.) And of course, Olivia’s assistant, Simon, is back, just as witty and helpful as ever. Finally, Olivia’s best friend Nicole plays a part in an interesting development.
The Writing Style
I have to admit that I love the way Radley writes. I started the first book and couldn’t put it down. I picked this book up immediately, and raced through it as well. I liked the flow of the writing, and the pacing of events. I have heard that some people feel like the book drags a bit, or that it’s too long, but I was extremely satisfied with both the length of the story, and how the narrative flowed. I also feel the length was required to encompass all the plot lines, and resolve them in a satisfactory way.
There wasn’t much that I didn’t like in this book. The plot engaged and interested me. I felt the characters all had depth and were real in their dialogue and actions. The love story made me root for Olivia and Emily to kiss and make up and live happily ever after with Henry. And Radley made me feel like I was there to sympathize when things didn’t work out the way the characters wanted or hoped, but also made me cheer and root for them with every triumph.
Again, there wasn’t much that I didn’t like. I could possibly say that I waited so long to read it, but even then, I’m glad I waited until both books were published, so I didn’t have to wait between books.
This book reminds us that real life is messy, and crises don’t wait for you to resolve one thing before throwing another at you. So while it seems like there are a lot of balls up in the air, Radley juggles them like a master, and leaves us with an excellent story. Also? Definitely read book one, Flight SQA016 first. This series is definitely on my rereads shelf.
Excerpt from Grounded by A.E. Radley
Excerpt edited for length.
“Simon!” Olivia cried out enthusiastically. “Have you seen this show?”
He entered the room, staring at Olivia in shock. Her pupils were blown wide open, and her usual stiff manner had vanished.
The nurse had warned him about her reaction to the pain medication, but he was still surprised to see her in such a state.
“It’s about these six friends who are really good friends. And they’re extremely funny. It’s so lovely. The show is basically about their friendship.”
Simon looked briefly towards the television. “Yes, they’re very funny.”
“They’re so lucky to have each other. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s been on all morning. I’ve watched nineteen of them in a row. Do you have any chocolate?”
“Um, no, I don’t. Sorry.” Simon spotted Olivia’s belongings in a bag beside her bed.
“And today I go home,” she told him excitedly. “I just need to wait for my son to get here.”
Simon blinked and searched Olivia’s expression for any sign that she may be joking. She wasn’t.
“About that. He asked me to come instead. Is that okay?” he asked carefully.
Olivia looked relieved. She held out her hand, and as Simon stepped closer, she grasped on to his hand tightly. “Thank goodness. I would much prefer you. He’s been so distant to me.”
“I’ll be back in a moment.” Simon told her.
“Bing is a silly name.” He heard Olivia announce as he exited the room and sought out a nurse.
“Ah, Mr. Lewis.” The nurse smiled warmly. “Ready to take your mom home?”
Simon opened and closed his mouth, pointed towards the door, and then let out a sigh. “Is she going to be like that for long?”
“Some people do react strangely to pain medication; it will wear off in the next twenty-four hours.”
Simon stared at her. “Twenty-four hours?”
“She’ll probably tire herself out at some point.”
“We could keep her in another day, but I don’t think she’d like that.”
Simon sighed. “You’re right.” He heard more giggling from Olivia’s room.
“You might want to invest in a box set of Friends so she can see a different episode,” she suggested.
“Yes, she’s watching the previews on the hospital paid-for channel. There’s only one episode available.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783955337797
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
A.E. Radley Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Grounded by A.E. 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.