From the dust cover: “In Apple Blossom Time is a story about love, regrets, destiny and redemption, based on the true life and research of Dr. Willem Jacob van Stockum. Dr. van Stockum, a brilliant University of Maryland mathematics professor, becomes frustrated with American indifference about the war in Europe before Pearl Harbor, and abandons his promising academic career to become a bomber pilot in the British Royal Air Force. While flying a mission in support of the D-Day invasion of Europe, his plane is shot down behind the lines over Normandy and he is rescued by stranded American paratroopers. While they fight for survival in the French countryside, they meet up with ruthless French Resistance fighters and two strangers who are not what they appear to be. Willem’s pioneering academic work on time travel and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity pose intriguing “what if?” questions compelling him to face the implications of his work and the consequences of choices in a universe of infinite possibilities.”
My Ebook review: this book has all of the elements of a tremendously exciting novel. It has a real life historical figure, science at the very edge of our ability to comprehend or understand and daring war time exploits.
I am not a fact checker or someone who gets overly excited about whether the details are exact, but “In Apple Blossom Time” has the feel of authenticity and a level of research into the main character.
The main question comes down to: does it work? The answer is both yes and no. The story is a neat one and has twists and turns and certainly the unexpected elements that make it dramatic and thought provoking. On the negative side for me it was a slow moving work with a lot of time taken to set up a background and bring people together in order that they wait. It lacked a little of the breathless fast pace that I would have expected and probably I found it hard to empathize with many of the characters who appear as names with little definition yet took time away from the main flow of the plot.
As I got through the book I had a growing feeling that this would have made a splendid and punchy novella by which I mean that a ruthless editing to build pace and tension might well have generated a tip top piece that would have the feeling of a Hollywood blockbuster. As it stands, this is a fine and entertaining novel that provokes thought about science, about coincidence and about people choosing to put themselves in harm’s way to try to fight for a cause.