Fair Stood The Wind For France Bates is a Romance Fiction set at the height of World War Two. The story follows the main character, John Franklin, through his journey when he brings his aircraft down into occupied France. The novel deals with love, war, isolation and conflict; although there is no specific theme to the book. I felt that the books purpose was very clear. Bates wanted to show that within all the horrors of war, two people were able to find love and happiness.
Franklin had crashed his plane and his arm was severely damaged. Yet while looking for help he found a wonderful family, and if that had not happened then Franklin would never have been able to meet Francoise. Bates makes it clear that there is always some good in all evil, even war. The books title is taken from the poem by Michael Drayton (1563-1631) which is at the beginning of the book. The short verse of the poem is relative to a naval experience (from the referral to sails advancing), which partially ties in with the main setting of the book. Apart from “France”, the actual title never said or made reference to.
The title was taken from the poem, which most likely in its complete form was more to do with war. Although from just the book, the actual title does not have a significant amount of relation and ties in with the story poorly. The story takes place in the Second World War when Franklin and his co-pilots take the plane down. Franklins arm is hurt very badly but luckily they go down in an area of France that is occupied and they can get help promptly. After walking for a significant amount of time they find a farm where a very pleasant family takes them.
The family, which consists of Francoise (the girl), her father, her brother Pierre and her Grandmother see to it that Franklins arm is taken care of. They also helped to get and/or make citizenship papers for the men. They seek medical help from two doctors who are successful in amputating Franklins arm. They produce citizen papers for two of the men so they are able to go home. Hoping the same for the other two, their plan is for Franklin and OConnor to leave once their papers are found. Franklin falls very ill though and not knowing how his future will develop OConnor leaves once the appropriate arrangements are made.
When the Germans kill the two doctors that helped Franklin the daughter of one of them becomes very depressed. With Francoises father having a very strong liking of her he too becomes depressed which results in his suicide. Papers are finally produced for Franklin so he and Francoise leave heading for England. They journey up a river so that they are able to pass the Germans. At one point Franklin has a sudden urge to escape to England but when caught by gunned arms runs, he happens upon OConnor. OConnor is injured and rests while Francoise and Franklin look for his papers. They find citizen papers for him and board a train headed for England.
At the train station Francoise runs into problems with the Germans and the result is OConnors death. The style this book is not my preference although it is written very well. It is very descriptive, so much that it is extremely pictorial. Bates describes everything feasible and draws a very detailed picture in your mind. He also describes feelings extremely well.
When Franklin is enduring much pain in his arm Bates is able to make you almost experience the pain for yourself. As well when Francoise and Franklin are falling in love their feelings for each other are depicted very well. The landscapes that the story comes across are also illustrated excellently. The authority of this book I feel is very much intact. The feelings portrayed in the novel are real and vivid. The love that Francoise and Franklin have for each other is extremely believable.
Bates must know the way humans associate or have acquired some additional knowledge because the manner that the two relate to each other in the story is remarkably authentic to actual human interaction. Despite the previous authority mentioned when Franklin happened to meet Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Baker and they gave him their former butlers papers, I found that very overwrought.