5.00pm : Rachel Billington

Sunday 18th 5.00pm

Clouds of Love and War

Published to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Occasionally panoramic, more often intimate, in Clouds of Love and War author Rachel Billington balances a detailed and highly researched picture of the life of a Second World War Spitfire pilot with the travails and ambitions of a young woman too often on her own.

Rachel brings wartime England to life with her latest novel, a gripping story of war and a sensitive story of love, a love that struggles to survive. Eddie and Eva meet on the eve of the Second World War. Eddie only wants to be a flyer, to find escape in the clouds from his own complicated family. However, the Battle of Britain makes a pilot’s life a dangerous way to flee reality. Eva has her own passionate longing: to become a painter. When Eva’s Jewish mother disappears to Germany, she is left alone with her elderly father. Both Eddie and Eva come of age at a time that teaches them that happiness is always fleeting, but there are things worth living – or dying – for.

Through the connecting stories of these young people and their wider families, and against a background of southern county airfields, London, Oxford, Dorset and France, Rachel Billington brings the world of wartime England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.


Rachel Billington has written over thirty books. In 2012 she was awarded an OBE for Services to Literature. Her most recent books were the historical novels, Maria and the Admiral and Glory: A Story of Gallipoli. As a journalist, columnist and reviewer, she has contributed to numerous newspapers and magazines worldwide, including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the New York Times, The Spectator and The Oldie. She is Associate Editor and contributor to Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners. She is a trustee of the Longford Trust and the Tablet magazine. She was President of English PEN from 1998-2001. Rachel is married with four children and five grandchildren and lives with her husband in London and the oldest continuously inhabited house in Dorset

Rachel will be in conversation with Charlie Lee-Potter