Review and Giveaway: When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

Title: When She Flew

Author: Jennie Shortridge

Genre/Pages: Contemporary Fiction/352

Publication: NAL Trade; November 3, 2009

Rating: 3.5 BOOKMARKS

Source(s): NAL Trade and TLC Book Tours

By-the-book police officer Jessica Villareal makes a rash decision to keep a father and daughter together even though it goes against direct orders from her superiors.  Will her act of insubordination cost her her job or will it be reparation for every transgression she’s ever made in her personal life?

When NAL Trade and TLC Book Tours both contacted me with offers to review When She Flew, I jumped at the opportunity.  I had the pleasure of reviewing Jennie Shortridge’s Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe last year and was eager to read her next novel.  Like L&B, When She Flew focuses on relationships, family dynamics, and choices.  Even more interesting is the fact that this novel was inspired by a true story of an Iraq war veteran who lived undetected in the Oregon wilderness with his daughter for almost six years.

Through her skillful characterization, diction, and tone, Shortridge created a credible police world for Jess Villareal.  The other police officers and her superiors came to life through realistic dialog and action.  I could feel the red tape that frustrated Villareal and which ultimately led her to put her career on the line for two strangers.

After discovering Ray and Lindy Wiggs living off state land, the Columbia Police Department brings them in for further questioning.  Ultimately, it’s decided (by the police) that Ray’s teenage daughter should be placed in protective custody.  An interview with Lindy and physical examination by a doctor prove that she’s well cared for by her father.  Jess Villareal is haunted by her own personal failings–a failed marriage, an estranged daughter–and makes a snap decision that thrusts her into a media maelstrom. 

I read the novel in one sitting; the constant action kept the story from stagnating.  I found Shortridge’s use of bird imagery and metaphors a bit heavy-handed and there was a bit of religious imagery too.  Told from two perspectives–limited first person (Lindy Wiggs) and limited third person (Jess Villareal)–I had a few minor quibbles with the resolution of the novel but they weren’t enough to negatively color my overall opinion of the book. 

Though it shared some common themes with Love and Biology, When She Flew tells a unique story that touches on several controversial social issues.  This novel would make it a great pick for a book club because of the discussion and debate potential the moral and social problems present. 

To enter for a chance to win a new copy of When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge, simply leave a comment below by Wednesday, 12/9 at 10pm EST.

Thank you to NAL Trade and TLC Book Tours for the review copies.  For more reviews of When She Flew, visit:

Thursday, December 3rd:  The 3 R’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

Monday, December 7th:  Linus’ Blanket

Wednesday, December 9th:  Luxury Reading

Thursday, December 10th:  The Literate Housewife Review

Monday, December 14th:  Book Addiction

Tuesday, December 15th:  Hey, Lady!  What’cha Readin’?

Wednesday, December 16th:  A Novel Menagerie

Thursday, December 17th:  Book Club Classics

Monday, December 21st:  Entertainment Realm

Tuesday, December 22nd:  Dolce Bellezza

Monday, December 28th:  Book Chatter

Tuesday, December 29th:  Caribousmom

Wednesday, December 30th:  Presenting Lenore

Monday, January 4th:  The Brain Lair

Tuesday, January 5th:  Redlady’s Reading Room



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