Fiction - Historical - Personage
314 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Heidi Fischer is a freelance writer and artist living in Palm Cove, Australia with her husband, two sons and pet schnauzer. She has a Bachelor of Business degree in Information Management and Communication and enjoys reading, fishing and good company.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

Gabrielle Richter is the feisty, smart, beautiful daughter of General Maximillian Richter. Her Onkel, Lieutenant General Albert Kesselring of the German Luftwaffe, took her on her first airplane ride on her twelfth birthday. Gabi was immediately smitten with flying; this led her to pursue the study of aeronautical engineering and becoming a pilot in the German military. Her adventures with the Luftwaffe during World War II comprise the main story line of the fictional work, Swallow, written by Heidi Fischer. The personal aspects of Gabi’s courageous life are also highlighted. The relationship with her widowed father, the connections with the household staff on their lovely estate, and several love interests with pilots in her group soften the harsh realities of participating in a vicious war. The battle scenes are terrifying, and the demise of the German military is frightening for these young warriors.

Heidi Fischer, author of Swallow, crafted the perfect balance between breathtaking battle realities, and loving family and romantic relationships. The lesson - that both sides in horrific wars are comprised of emotional human beings - cannot be ignored. Ms. Fischer also reveals the motivations of these young fighters who were barely aware of concurrent Nazi atrocities. These young men, as well as Gabi, followed their love of flying and the promise of an adventurous life, honoring the Fatherland. Each primary character’s personality is highly developed, adding much depth to the entire work. The story flows well, engaging the reader from the first page to the last. This book is both entertaining and thought-provoking - a great read.

Heather Osborne

Swallow by Heidi Fischer is a historical fiction novel surrounding the very unconventional experiences of Gabrielle Richter, the daughter of a Nazi general during World War II. After suffering a horrific event as a child, Gabi, as she is fondly known, grows up in a boarding school in England. When Germany declares war, she is summoned home, unsure of what she wants to do to support the Fatherland. She enrolls in school as an engineer, not something done by women at the time. From there, she goes even further, training to be a pilot. Gabi goes through love and loss, eventually questioning her position in her country’s future. Will she find a place for herself amidst chaos?

I genuinely enjoyed Swallow by Heidi Fischer. I was not quite sure what to expect, but the plot was engaging. I liked Gabi as a character, and she was appropriately flawed, as all good characters should be. I would be curious to know more about the historical accuracy of a woman, such as Gabi, rising through the ranks like a male officer. It would be interesting to know Heidi Fischer's inspiration for writing the novel as well. I would have also liked there to be a bit more about how she recovered from the tragic incident of her childhood. However, despite that, the novel was an interesting look at a woman rising above her standing and gender to become a great pilot. Swallow by Heidi Fischer is certainly different, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a strong female lead.

Ellie Midwood

Being a huge fan of WWII fiction I just couldn’t pass this one up. I mean, how could I skip the novel, in which the main protagonist is a female pilot in the Luftwaffe? Usually WWII literature builds around testosterone-filled type A men fighting for what is right and much weaker females as their counterparts. In this sense “Swallow” was truly a breath of fresh air for me, concentrating on a story of an admiringly strong Gabi Richter, who on the verge of the Second World War decides to follow her dream and join the Luftwaffe. Only, unlike her politically involved father (and not on a low level, it should be noted), Gabi isn’t thrilled with the perspective of an approaching war, and takes her first kill rather badly. But soon Gabi and her fellow pilots got sucked in the war machine that knows no way out, and Gabi has no choice but to fight just to stay alive and keep her fellow pilots alive.
What I really enjoyed about this novel was how the author highlighted many important aspects of that time: how women were perceived as the weaker sex and had to fight for their right to be equal with men; the complicity of the regime itself which ruined so many lives; one’s moral qualms on the account of even one life that was taken, even though it was an enemy’s life, and many more.
The love line – several actually – was also masterfully presented, and I could clearly see how Gabi’s feelings were all over the place when it came to all three boys. Gabi’s relationship with her father also said a lot about both characters, and particularly in the end. I won’t give away any more details, but if you’re interested in WWII fiction this novel should definitely be on your to-read list. I absolutely loved it!