Publishing at the end of the month (July 28, 2015) is a really fantastic novel about female aviator Beryl Markham: Paula McLain’s CIRCLING THE SUN.
I first heard of Beryl Markham when I read her memoir, WEST WITH THE NIGHT. I was going through a “female aviator phase” and was reading about Anne Lindbergh (my personal hero – don’t get me started!), Amelia Earhart, and Beryl Markham. I had not heard of Beryl before, but found her absolutely fascinating! Beryl was English, but grew up in Kenya in the early years of the 1900’s. Her mother deserted her and her father and returned to England. Beryl was a wild child: precocious, tough, and in love with the land and culture of Africa. Nothing stopped her. Again and again she pushed against the restrictions against women. She became a noted horse trainer (first female). She became a bush pilot. She actually is the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic east to west. A very personal side of Beryl is shown in this novel – her loves, her triumphs, her foibles. The love triangle with her, Karen von Blixen (Out of Africa author), and Denys Finch Hatten is portrayed in depth here. In all, you come to know Beryl Markham intimately.
I loved McLain’s earlier work, THE PARIS WIFE, and loved this novel, too. These characters came alive and are still with me, weeks after I finished the novel. They are so interesting – so real – so human. Don’t miss this one.
And if you like it, read Beryl’s own WEST WITH THE NIGHT.
Find them at an indie near you (I am an Indie Bound Affiliate):
Thank you, Net Galley and Random House Ballantine, for my review copy!