Girl at the Edge of Sky is a unique, thrilling, sometimes terrifying novel based on the life and death of Lily Litvyak, a female Soviet flying ace and fighter pilot shot down behind German lines in the Second World War. From the bestselling author of Web of Angels and The River Midnight.
Lily Litvyak is no one's idea of a fighter pilot: a tiny, dimpled teenager with golden curls who lied about her age in order to fly. But in the crucible of the air war against the German invaders, she becomes that rare thing--a flying ace, glorified at home and around the world as the White Lily of Stalingrad. The real Lily disappeared in combat in August 1943, and the facts of her life are slim, but they have inspired Lilian Nattel's indelible portrait of a courageous young woman driven by family secrets to become an unlikely war hero. Even more powerfully, Nattel takes another big leap, asking the compelling question: what if Lily survived that last crash and became a prisoner of the Germans?
Lily lives in a world of horrifying risk, where the life and death stakes are high in the air, but also on the ground. In the Soviet system, everyone is an informer, even your best friend. Lily lives in constant fear that she will be found out, arrested and executed as the daughter of an "enemy of the people." When she ends up a German prisoner, as a Soviet officer and a Jew, the need for deception becomes even more desperate.
Girl at the Edge of Sky is a masterwork of the imagination, subtle and bold all at once, bringing us deep into the precarious life of a remarkable woman who lies to fight for the country that would disown her, and then lies to survive the enemy that would annihilate her.
Born in Montreal, LILIAN NATTEL now lives in Toronto with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of The River Midnight, The Singing Fire and Web of Angels.
“Artfully imagined. . . . Impressive. . . . Given that [Nattel’s] skill is considerable and her craft formidable, the readers are the great beneficiaries. Lily Litvyak does indeed come to full animated life in a suspenseful, heart-rending story that is difficult to put down. . . . Girl at the Edge of Sky is rich with history and fictional engagement. . . . Nattel is superb.” —The Canadian Jewish News
“Like the glow of the moon over a frostbitten field, Girl At the Edge of Sky illuminates the darkest days on the Eastern Front, revealing all the spark, courage, and tenderness of one of the most fearless fighter pilots you can imagine. Lilian Nattel portrays the remarkable story of Lily Litvyak with striking detail and imagery that is as beautiful as it is chilling.” —Ellen Keith, author of The Dutch Wife
“Lily Litvyak is the kind of character readers hunger for: larger than life, yet so real she inhabits the mind like one you’ve known and loved. A dark and dazzling novel, Girl At the Edge of Sky swept me up from the opening line and kept me spellbound. Nattel writes as well—and as wildly—as her unforgettable heroine flies.” —Alissa York, author of The Naturalist
PRAISE FOR LILIAN NATTEL'S WEB OF ANGELS:
“Right from the first sentence, Web of Angels is astonishing, shocking, loving. Lilian Nattel leads us in an exploration of how our communities cope with deep heartache, the loss of our young, and how we, as individuals, cope with trauma and the communities we carry within ourselves. Step into this novel and you will find yourself submerged; wake from it, and you will find yourself transformed. Web of Angels is a rare gift, perfectly named; within this novel, Lilian Nattel has offered us the work, the weave, of angels.” —Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Cure for Death by Lightning
“Groundbreaking, demanding, brave and beautiful. Web of Angels is a fiction about unspeakable evil rendered so (shockingly) true, the effect is devastating. The miracle is that, in Nattel’s hands, this book becomes a testimony to the fierce kindness in the human spirit, which battles evil and wins. Ultimately the book offers hope for what seems impossible: healing.” —Sheree Fitch, author of In This House Are Many Women
“Some books grab you by the throat from the first sentence: Web of Angels is one of those books.” —The Thought Vox
“Leavened with love and wisdom . . . a daring, textured book that celebrates not just feminine strength but the human spirit.” —The Canadian Jewish News