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Reviewed by Frances Deborah Kerr-Phillips for Readers' Favorite
Frances Finkel and the Passenger Pigeon by D.M. Mahoney is an absolute gem that will have you hooked from the moment you delve into this poignant and powerful novel. In Oregon in the early 1940s, being female, half-Jewish, as well as being a teenage pilot with aspirations to fly for the US air force, Frances Finkel has the odds stacked against her. Her journey of dogged perseverance to achieving her goals set against the diverse backdrops of Pearl Harbour and the beauty of the Oregon coastline has the reader captivated. Mahoney has created a heady mixture of a coming-of-age novel and a work of historical fiction regarding women’s rights as well as the fascinating role of pigeons in the World War II US war effort.
The very title of Mahoney’s novel -- Frances Finkel and the Passenger Pigeon -- had me intrigued: the alliteration in the title, the uncommon names, as well curiosity about what a passenger pigeon was, had me reaching for the book. I was not disappointed. Mahoney writes with a sensitivity that makes her characters seem to come alive. The wonder and exuberance of flying in the airplanes at the time her novel is set are almost tangible. The descriptions of flying over the Oregon countryside convey the author’s love for the area, lending further authenticity to her writing. I couldn’t put it down, yet I didn’t want it to end. D.M. Mahoney’s debut novel is a triumph! Read it – you’re in for a treat.