Source: Competition Prize, Publisher
Helicopter pilot Lt. Sara Denning joins a Navy battle group with little fanfare - and that’s just the way she likes it. Sara’s philosophy is simple - blend in, be competent, and, above all, never do anything to stand out as a woman in a man’s world.
Somewhere along the way, Sara lost herself - her feminine, easygoing soul is now buried under so many defensive layers, she can’t reach it anymore.
When she meets strong, self-assured Lt. Eric Marxen, her defenses start to falter. Eric coordinates flight operations for a Navy SEAL team that requests Sara more than any other pilot. This blatant show of favouritism causes conflict with her colleagues; Sara's sexist boss seems intent on making her life miserable, and her roommate and best friend - the only other woman on the ship - is avoiding her. It doesn’t help that Sara's interactions with Eric leave her reeling.
The endgame of the SEALs' mission is so secret, even Sara doesn’t know the reason behind her mandated participation. When Sara’s life is on the line, can she find her true self again and follow the orders of her heart before it is too late?
Many of you will know that I have a degree in engineering. I worked as an engineer prior to becoming ill, and I used to do a bit of motorsport too. I love to read stories of women breaking the boundaries in a generally male dominated working environment. So when I won a copy of Hover I couldn’t wait to read it.
The author, Anne A. Wilson, is a member of the tenth class of graduating women from the United States Naval Academy and she served nine years active duty as a Navy helicopter pilot! That in itself was enough for me to want to read this book! However, the blurb (see above) also sounded fantastic.
Hover is the story of Sara, a Navy helicopter pilot. A woman who excels at her job, but keeps a low profile. She and her best friend Em are the only two women on their naval ship. They are also pilots in the same team, so when Sara starts getting more flight hours than Em things become a little strained between them. Em points out that Sara has lost herself, lost her femininity. She’s more concerned with blending in, that she’s forgotten what it is to be a woman.
I found this book fascinating. Aside from the story, which itself was gripping, I learned SO much! Not only about being a female pilot in the Navy, but also about being a pilot and about the Navy itself.
As for the actual story, I couldn’t stop reading. Sara is selected as pilot for training missions with the SEALs. Only she has no idea why, or what is going on. Furthermore, the guy running the missions is Eric, a man she’s recently met and can’t quite get out of her mind.
Naturally, the other pilots are jealous of Sara’s time in the pilot seat. Her boss is particularly unhappy to be told to let Sara take the controls. However, there is a good reason for these requests – she’s an excellent pilot. When the mission is no longer just a training mission, Sara must demonstrate her abilities, as well as face her greatest fears.
Admittedly when I saw the whole romance with Eric creep up I wasn’t sure. However, I ended up really enjoying this aspect of the book. It was done really well and added an extra element of emotion to the novel.
There were many things in the novel that opened my eyes, made me think or consider issues I’d never have thought of. For example, upon being stuck on another ship in the fleet, Sara is the only woman. She has to take an officer’s room, have a guard posted outside the communal shower and generally draw attention to herself in ways that she is thoroughly uncomfortable with.
All in all I loved this book. It was a thrilling, fascinating read. Sara’s a strong, inspiring protagonist and I really hope that we’ll see her on other missions sometime soon… I want more Sara in my life!