Pastoral by Nevil Shute

 Pastoral cover

Pastoral by Nevil Shute was first published in 1944 but my copy is a 1950 reprint complete with dust jacket.

I really enjoyed this one which is a mixture of unsoppy romance and nail-biting World War 2 action via a bombing crew. The R for Robert crew is based near Oxford, they fly a Wellington bomber and have been very successful, surviving nearly 50 sorties. Their success is almost certainly due to the fact that they all get on so well together, they have trust in each other’s abilities and Peter Marshall their captain is a very fair and even tempered chap. His personality keeps everyone calm despite the appalling stress that they’re all under flying their Wellington bomber to Germany on bombing raids so often.

Luckily all of the men are keen anglers and they all go off on fishing expeditions locally, it’s just what they need to keep their minds off the dangers they face on a nightly basis.

Peter Marshall falls heavily for a young WAAF officer, she’s a radio operator and feels that Peter is moving too fast, she’s not ready to get serious. Peter’s relaxed personality changes completely and he becomes bad-tempered and nit-picking around his crew which has a bad effect on their flying performance.

I found the descriptions of the flights to and from Germany to be incredibly tense, I’ll probably give this one a 4 on Goodreads at least.

8 thoughts on “Pastoral by Nevil Shute

  1. I read this back in my teens. I did like his war set stories. I probably won’t read him again – I don’t want to spoil happy memories, but it always gives me pleasure to see him pop up on a blog.

    • Whispering Gums,
      I was in two minds whether to describe him as an Australian author or not. I’ve read a few of his books over the last couple of years, I think The Chequer Board is my favourite.

  2. I’ve only read one of his books so far which I liked quite a lot, and this one sounds very interesting….I’ll have to keep eyes open at book sales.

    • Paula,
      I hope you’re lucky and can find some of his books. I’ve read quite a few of them now and enjoyed them although On the Beach is quite worrying/depressing.

  3. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed Pastoral. (Although I wouldn’t have minded one little bit if you hated it.) I want to read it again. I think I know where to find it–sort of. I’m sort of laughing as I write this. It would be fun to enlist Ken in the chase on a rainy, no good day. Fun to hear him complain a little, then fun to hear his going through an unopened box or three with me, and hear his exclamations, “Oh, this was a fabulous book! I want to read this again!” That would be fun. So I think we will do this.
    And I want to read much more Nevil Shute. There’s something about his writing that reminds me of my father and his friends who were in the Army Air Corps. Dad never saw action, which he realized later in life was tremendously lucky. But it was all because of his prowess as a baseball pitcher. This story he told to me alone when I was in my late 20s. I think he was frankly ashamed that he didn’t see combat, because he had friends in our town who had been in the Army Air Corps in England and had flown many missions. Sigh. A tale for another day.

    • Judith,
      You and Ken should definitely get around to looking through your boxes of books, it’ll be good fun, having said that we still have some in boxes in the garage, and our three overflow Billy bookcases in the garage are full. My dad was also involved in WW2 in the Merchant Navy convoys, being torpedoed and was so lucky to be rescued each time. So did your father never leave the US during the war? Mine made it to the US for 6 months in 1940, his captain wanted a rest from dodging torpedoes and put into New York for a full refit!

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