Author: Donald Michael Platt

+Blog Book Tour+ Close to the Sun by Donald Michael Platt

Posted Wednesday, 3 September, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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Close to the Sun by Donald Michael Platt

Published by: Fireship Press (@FireshipPress)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Official Author Websites: Site | @donroc | Facebook

Converse via: #CloseToTheSunBlogTour

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I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Close to the Sun” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Fireship Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

+Blog Book Tour+ Close to the Sun by Donald Michael PlattClose to the Sun

Close to the Sun follows the lives of fighter pilots during the Second World War. As a boy, Hank Milroy from Wyoming idealized the gallant exploits of WWI fighter aces. Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, aspires to surpass his father’s 49 Luftsiegen. Seth Braham falls in love with flying during an air show at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field.

The young men encounter friends, rivals, and exceptional women. Braxton Mobley, the hotshot, wants to outscore every man in the air force. Texas tomboy Catherine “Winty” McCabe is as good a flyer as any man. Princess Maria-Xenia, a stateless White Russian, works for the Abwehr, German Intelligence. Elfriede Wohlman is a frontline nurse with a dangerous secret. Miriam Keramopoulos is the girl from Brooklyn with a voice that will take her places.

Once the United States enter the war, Hank, Brax, and Seth experience the exhilaration of aerial combat and acedom during the unromantic reality of combat losses, tedious bomber escort, strafing runs, and the firebombing of entire cities. As one of the hated aristocrats, Karl is in as much danger from Nazis as he is from enemy fighter pilots, as he and his colleagues desperately try to stem the overwhelming tide as the war turns against Germany. Callous political decisions, disastrous mistakes, and horrific atrocities they witness at the end of WWII put a dark spin on all their dreams of glory.

 Praise on behalf of the Novel from Book Bloggers who read the ARC:

“Donald Michael Platt’s Close to the Sun is an amazing story told from the perspective of average male fighter pilots in the onset and during WWII, juxtaposing between various men from many sides of the war. The details in this novel were spectacular, creating imagery and depth in the scenes and characters, as well as the dialogue being so nostalgic and well-written it felt right out of a 1950’s film. The romantic nuances of his storytelling felt incredibly authentic with the tug and pull of the men being called to serve and the women whom they loved who had their own high hopes, dreams, or work. I loved how he portrayed this women the most—strongly and fiercely independent. I’ve read several other books by Platt, and this is the best one I’ve read yet! I couldn’t stop reading. ” – Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Hook of a Book

“Donald Platt’s Close To The Sun, is nothing short of Historical Fiction gold. Platt’s flair for emotionally provocative storytelling makes this book attractive to both male and female readers. Seamlessly weaving the threads of action and feeling into a brilliant tableau of humanity. This is a masterfully penned tale of war, ambition, love, loss, and ACES!” – Frishawn Rasheed, WTF Are You Reading?

Places to find the book:

on 15th of June, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 404

Author Biography:

Donald Michael Platt
Author Donald Michael Platt and his cat Bodo

Author of four other novels, ROCAMORA, HOUSE OF ROCAMORA, A GATHERING OF VULTURES, and CLOSE TO THE SUN, Donald Michael Platt was born and raised in San Francisco. Donald graduated from Lowell High School and received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. After two years in the Army, Donald attended graduate school at San Jose State where he won a batch of literary awards in the annual SENATOR PHELAN LITERARY CONTEST.

Donald moved to southern California to begin his professional writing career. He sold to the TV series, MR. NOVAK, ghosted for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them as Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, Al Ruddy plus Paul Stader Sr, Hollywood stuntman and stunt/2nd unit director. While in Hollywood, Donald taught Creative Writing and Advanced Placement European History at Fairfax High School where he was Social Studies Department Chairman.

After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of his horror novel A GATHERING OF VULTURES, pub. 2007 & 2011, he moved to Florida where he wrote as a with: VITAMIN ENRICHED, pub.1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; and THE COUPLE’S DISEASE, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

Currently, Donald resides in Winter Haven, Florida where he is polishing a dark novel and preparing to write a sequel to CLOSE TO THE SUN.

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My Review of Close to the Sun:

It is not often I find myself entreating into a war drama of which is entitled after an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, yet I find myself dipping into Close to the Sun finding myself genuinely intrigued by how such a small poem called “The Eagle” prompted the author’s inspired narrative to be spilt onto the page! It is only fitting that I began to read this novel whilst listening to an instrumental interlude at the tailend of a Blog Talk Radio programme which set the mood considerably!

On the shoulders of the great aces lingers a passion for flying high into the heavens inside the young and impressionable minds of the next generation, of whose dreams of flight open this war drama and secure our hearts into the story at large. The men who returned from The Great War (called as such as it was the first of its kind prior to WWII) held within their breasts not only the battle scars and fatigue of their service, but the memories of honourable and daring flight as the pilots who were legends of their own kind: the aces who defeated and defended the skies for their countries. The honour of how they attacked and how they fought in the skies were part of the legends and the knowledge they would each endeavour to knit inside the young boys who dreamt of picking up where they left off. There is far more to war than battles wrought through the air, but the boys were too innocent to realise the full scope of what their dreams would grant them; instead it was simply a nice reprieve to listen to the fathers and grandfathers share their stories and inspire a new age of pilots into service.

The part of the story where I started to dig into the grip of the evolving story is when Winty took her entrance, a spunky sixteen year old who was raised as a tomboy, taught to fly, and wanted to pursue being an ace. Winty was smart enough to realise she was limited due to her gender, but it was her moxie filled attitude that won me over. She had a grit filled passion for flying and had she been bourne decades later when the air corps had accepted women, I could have seen her shine in her own rights commanding a plane and daring to go further than most her age or older.

Parts of the story felt out of step and lacked pace with the bits I found held my attention; some of the text felt a bit heavy on technical details whereas when the characters interacted with each other, or someone like Winty came on scene, the novel took on a fluid arc of emotion, action, and promise. My interest was originally sparked to read this novel because I happen to appreciate reading war dramas, and in particular, have not always come across stories set against the life of fighter pilots. I have come across classic movies which take on the thematic, and of course, I simply adore watching Foyle’s War (of the BBC) where Julian Overton’s character Andrew was an ace. It is a thread of story I enjoy watching and felt I would enjoy reading as well. Yet. Everything I loved about Foyle’s War I found a bit lacking inside Close to the Sun. Not to cross-compare a tv series to a novel, but it is the elements of the characters against each other and the way in which the elements of representing the life of a pilot can be cross-referenced.

I walked into the novel expecting the story to take-on a certain feel and texture of its setting, instead I felt a bit lost and muddled. I simply had trouble aligning the visuals of where Platt was trying to lead me and I think perhaps this novel was not the best fit for me to read overall.

Fly in the Ointment:

Although I was appreciating getting into the mind-set of the time between the two Great Wars, what was distracting me a bit from being ‘inside’ the narrative were the ever present typos and missing words or letters. I had to double-check my copy to make sure it wasn’t marked as an ARC as I at first presumed I had missed the identification as one. Generally speaking, although I can receive finished copies which are inclusive of spelling errors or omissions, either from ones I have purchased on my own, borrowed from my library, or otherwise receive for a review, I was a bit surprised this apparent final copy had several errors within its pages after having such a strong pre-released reading by book bloggers I have crossed paths with on blog tours. Not that ARC readers are meant to criticise an ARC for mistakes as they’re uncorrected proofs, but in turn, I always felt the ARC would then go under a proofreader’s lens for typographical errors and omissions. I felt a bit out of step with this story as I read it, which was a bit frustrating because I was enjoying the pace (in the opening chapters) Platt set his story to be told.

I further appreciated the absence of strong language except for small occasions wherein the word either felt accurate for the era or for the place where it was used to be mentioned. The only wrinkle in the crow for me was a bit of crude humour I could have lived without being shared amongst the new cadets as they settled into their first week of training. Although I know crude humour is realistic to the nature of the story it is not something I personally enjoying reading irregardless of the reason to include it.

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Blog Book Tour Stop,
courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Virtual Road Map of “Close to the Sun” Blog Tour found here:

Close to the Sun Virtual Tour with HFVBTs

see what I will be hosting next for

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and mark your calendars!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Close to the Sun”, author photograph, book synopsis, quotes of praise, and the tour badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Wednesday, 3 September, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, The World Wars, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama