Love, Ava

Alton Rivers, Author
Alton Rivers, Author . St. Martin's $23.95 (259p) ISBN 978-0-312-36279-9
Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4668-5984-5
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Vietnam veteran Rivers turns out an entertaining, if predictable, debut novel that mixes affairs of state with those of the heart. Air Force Maj. Russell Jefferson is badly wounded and his "backseater" best friend killed when his F-4 Phantom is shot down over North Vietnam. He is held as a prisoner of war in the prisoner of war camp known as Hanoi Hilton and, when freed, is physically scarred and suffering survivor's guilt. He rejects a flying assignment in favor of a staff job in the air attaché's office at the U.S. Embassy in London, where, in a "one-in-a-million chance meeting," Jefferson saves Ava Gardner from a fall on a London street. Jefferson becomes increasingly infatuated with the older film star as he courts the scorn of his boss, Gen. William Eads. Eads is blocking the approval of training routes for U.S. jets stationed in England, and Jefferson rashly confronts him. When Jefferson declares his love to Ava and announces his intention to resign his commission, it's up to the former Hollywood maverick to prevent the rebellious young officer from destroying his career. Rivers writes eloquently about air combat—mostly in flashbacks—but is less adept at exploring Jefferson's psyche or charting his romantic sorties. (Feb.)

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