Circling the Sun
By Paula McLain
ARC e-book, 384 pages (hardcover)
2015, Ballantine Books
ISBN: 9780345534187 (hardcover)
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
From Amazon: Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.
Circling the Sun starts off with a gripping scene involving Beryl flying her own plane, then cuts back to her childhood in Africa and follows her path growing up, eventually coming back to her flight. I was immediately pulled in by the action of the opening scene, but it was the development of Beryl’s character that had me hooked throughout.
The narrative flowed seamlessly through the different stages of Beryl’s life – from horse training, to a disastrous marriage at a young age, to her struggles to gain independence and recognition in a male-dominated world and then to her eventual flight lessons, I wanted Beryl to succeed at everything she did.
I had requested this book from NetGalley a little while ago, so I’d mostly forgotten what it was about (aside from a female lead in the 1920s) and when reading, I never realized that Beryl Markham was a real woman. After reading the Author’s note, I found out that Beryl’s real life was just as wild and inspiring as the novel and that she even wrote her own book, West with the Night, which I have since ordered and plan to read.
If you’re interested in historical fiction set in the 1920s-30s, give this book a shot.