Pastoral is a war time romance novel by Nevil Shute. Like most of his novels, this too is built around a World War II RAF base.
The story is pretty simple, a RAF bomber pilot falls in love with a WAAF section officer who refuses to think about marriage since her work is more important to her. She likes him, but still can't make up her mind about marriage. Then on a bombing raid to Hamburg, he gets hit and loses a wing. Improbably he flies back on a single wing, bales out all his crew. But one of them is injured, so the pilot decides to try to land the plane without baling out. The section officer is on duty that night and she is the one listening him on the trasmission.
The story might sound like a mushy romance, but Nevil Shute's writing lifts it to an enjoyable fare. His sentences are simple, he doesn't indulge in verbal gymnastics to impress the reader. His characters are real and at no time does the novel become a melodrama. War is the backdrop, and you are made aware of the ruthlessness of the war constantly. Sample this
She had known so many aircraft to be lost that she had herself lost the faculty of easy grief; that nerve had been so hammered in the last few months that it hardly hurt at all. ...It was so unobtrusive, their manner of going. A lot of aircraft took off in the night and were airborne one by one; a lot of aircaft came in one by one and taxied to dispersal in the darkness. It was only when you came to count them carefully to make a record in a log that you discovered one or two of them had slipped away and travelled to some other place.
It is a light but interesting read. It leaves you happy in the end, and that is saying something about a war novel.