Heart of Ash by Kathy Otten

Heart of Ash by Kathy Otten
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance, Historical, LGBTQ
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In the skies over France during the Great War, the life expectancy of a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps is measured in days.

Captain Elliot “Ash” Bainbridge is certain he’ll be the next pilot sent spinning to earth in a ball of fire. Not because the Germans will shoot him down, but because God will punish him for daring to love another man.

When Ash met Lieutenant Harry March, their attraction was instant. But Harry hates Ash’s fatalistic attitude. He believes in capturing the moment.
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Can Ash set aside his fear of death and take a chance on love? Or should he try to keep his heart safe from hurt forever?

It’s hard to fall in love when death may only be a few heartbeats away.

Ash and March had wonderful chemistry. They understood each other in ways that the vast majority of other humans did not, including most of their fellow pilots. Their personalities complemented each other nicely as well. March excelled at things that Ash found difficult and vice versa. This was especially true when it came to how each of them had dealt with their sexual orientations in a time and place when two men falling in love was forbidden. I truly enjoyed getting to know both of them and would be thrilled to read a sequel to their love story if the author ever decides to write one.

I appreciated how honest this tale was about the physical and emotional pain that these pilots experienced. Ash, March, and their fellow pilots were doing dangerous work that had a high mortality rate. The thought of dying young was on all of their minds constantly, and that was only the first item on a long list of things they had to worry about. It was interesting to see how that affected how they spent their time when they weren’t in the air.

The world building was spectacular. I felt like I’d travelled back through time over a century to experience France during the first world war. Ms. Otten used every one of the five senses to show readers what this part of the world was like during that era, from the popping sound of distant gunfire to the oily scents that tickle the nose of the main character when he’s flying a mission.

Heart of Ash was a heartwarming and life-affirming read that I can’t recommend highly enough.


  1. A wonderful review! This sounds like an awesome story and I will be checking it out! Congrats, Kathy!

  2. Congrats Kathy!

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