Reviews

Elizabeth Wein Award-winning author of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire
“Part concise history of the WASPs and part unsolved mystery, Seized by the Sun is a long-overdue tribute to a determined and talented young woman as her identity changes from a shy and stuttering society girl to a confident military pilot. A deftly reported, shining portrait of an inspirational woman.”
Kathryn J. Atwood Author of Women Heroes of World War II
“Seized by the Sun is a compelling slice of Americana and a wonderfully detailed glimpse at life in the WASPs from the perspective of a privileged yet tortured young woman.”
Rebecca Goodreads 
“Gertrude, or Tommy as she was better known, Tompkins was a Womens Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). But unlike the 37 other WASPs whose eventual fate was confirmed, Gertrude still remains a bit of a mystery. This is her story from childhood, as a young girl in a wealthy, encouraging family as she struggles with overcoming a stutter, and is eventually inspired by Roosevelt to seek out adventures – which she definitely achieves – all the way through to her eventual disappearance. It is told predominantly using anecdotes from people who know Gertrude, or knew of her, which was really excellent for bringing her history together but also has some interesting facts from the time period which tie in nicely to set the scene a bit better for those unfamiliar with the era. What I really loved about Gertrude’s story was that the author has really captured how much like so many young girls she was, with all the usual worries and struggles of being a woman and wondering if you’re on the right path – I think when you think of someone so brave as to be a WASP, it’s easy to forget how ordinary they might still be; this was a really refreshing addition to the book. Equally I love how much character she showed in going against what was expected from her family and being her own person anyway – her goats were a selling point, and a good touch of humour, for me. Before reading this book I knew very little about WASPs, which was the perfect reason to get stuck in, and Jim Ure made me feel like I lived through it! The pictures and vivid descriptions really helped me imagine what a day in the life of a WASP might actually be like; I expect those more familiar with this might not find it as exciting as I did – but I was utterly captivated by it. Definitely a book I would recommend to anyone wanting to expand their knowledge, or to any history fan; it is written in such a way that it really could work for just about anyone who wanted to learn a little bit more about the disappearance, and ongoing search, of Gertrude Tompkins.”
Michelle Kidwell Goodreads
“Gertrude “Tommy “Tompkins was a Womens Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). Gertrude came from a wealthy family with roots deep in New Jersey, nothing that would hint that one day this well-bred girl would come to fly fighter planes. Gertrude was born on October, 16,1911. The last born child in the family. Gertrude was educated at the Bergen School for girls. School was difficult for Gertrude not due to the academics but the fact that she stuttered. Gertrude was inspired by Roosevelt to not let her stutter stop her, and she decided to go for her own adventures. After graduating from College, Gertrude was encouraged to travel to Europe. . . In 1939 and 1940, Gertrude read in the New York Times how the nation was changing. A singer named Frank Sinatra made his debut, Animated motion pictures became popular, McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in San Bernandino. In late 1940 or early 1941 Gertrude met Stanley Michael Kolendorski, the man she would love the rest of her short life. On September 10, 1942 a New York Herald Tribune headline read: Women Pilots to Fly for Army. Gertrude arrived at the WASP’s 318th Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, a busy base three miles from downtown Sweetwater, a town of about 10,000 in Central Texas. The Woman had to pay their own way through flight school but the government paid for the men to travel and for flight school. Women also had to pay $1.65 a day for their room and board whereas men got theirs free. Most of the instructors were male. Some of the men on the base were openly hostile to the women. As 1943 progressed and more women were flying, the deaths amongst WASPs were mounting. After a month in Pecos, Gertrude was assigned to pursuit school where she would learn to fly pursuit or fighter planes. It was on silver wings that Gertrude Thompson discovered who she was, what she was meant to do. Gertrude graduated from fighter school in Brownsville, and was one of 126 to be flying one of the fastest and most powerful single engine fighter planes. On October.06 1944 Gertrude sat in the Cockpit of the new P-51D, it had only been a month since her wedding. The last words she was heard to speak was “Tower, this is Mustang 669. Request clearance for take- off.” After that she was never heard from again, and for four days no one realized she was missing. On October 30, 1944, Gertrude was declared missing. It remains unclear if the crash were a deliberate one, or an accidental one. I give Seized by the Sun five out of five stars.”