Their differences are their obstacles. Henry and Flora have little in common. An orphan, Henry still lives with his friend’s wealthy family, attending private school and being seriously considered for a position within the family’s newspaper upon graduation. Flora may be an orphan too, but she was raised by her grandmother and now dreams of flying like the great Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Bessie Coleman. These things, alone, should be enough to keep Henry and Flora from ever even meeting, but when Henry is asked to assist in writing an article about an airplane where Flora practices her flying, he is immediately struck by the woman before him. When he travels across town to a nightclub to hear her sing, his admiration deepens and her interest grows. However, as their relationship develops, they face their next complication – the issue of race; Henry is white and Flora is black. Set in 1930s Seattle, this is a challenge that the blossoming romance may be unable to overcome. But this is all part of the challenge because Henry and Flora have been chosen. They don’t know it. They couldn’t know it. Yet, as babies, Love and Death each selected a child as a part of a long-running string of bets they’ve had with one another throughout time. Over the years, Love has never won, but perhaps Henry and Flora can prove that love is stronger than all things, even the inevitability of death.
While the romance of Henry and Flora runs throughout the book and is often center stage, the characters of Love and Death, both of which take human form, offers a rich, alternative point of view to their story as readers watch each figure manipulate and affect their chosen pawns. Love and Death are beautiful written, with flaws and layers to their characters that challenge the reader’s initial impression of each concept. It isn’t until the beautifully written ending when we finally discover who wins – Henry or Flora, Love or Death?
By Kaitlin B.