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Circling the sun : a novel
2015
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Beryl Markham (Female), Horse trainer, Afrikaner, Unconventional, Brought to Kenya from England as a child; abandoned by her mother; raised by her father and a native Kipsigis tribe; found her path as a horse trainer; joins a bohemian community of European expats; falls in love with a safari hunter; discovers her love of flying; first woman to fly east to west across the Atlantic
Genre
Fiction
Historical
Romance
Biographical
Topics
Colonialism
Aviation history
Aviation pioneers
Love triangles
Hunters
Afrikaners
Bohemian lifestyle
Expatriates
Horse trainers
Love
Women pilots
Love affairs
Setting
Kenya - Africa
Time Period
1920s -- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

McLain's (The Paris Wife) newest fictionalized biography features aviatrix Beryl Markham. Markham had an idyllic childhood on a horse farm in colonial Kenya where her best friend was the son of a native farm worker. After a miserable stretch at boarding school, she made an early and unsuccessful marriage. Racehorses were her real love, and she built her reputation as a winning trainer, but she was land rich and cash poor. She began a long-term love affair with big-game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton (who was also the lover of Out of Africa author Karen Blixen). She discovered flying in the 1920s and became the first woman to fly from England to North America. Her 1942 memoir West with the Night chronicles her time as a bush pilot and that record-breaking flight. Narrator Katharine McEwan's clear British accent sounds quite like Markham (per newsreel footage on YouTube). -VERDICT A popular choice for book clubs, this excellent audiobook is recommended for all collections. ["[An] intriguing window into the soul of a woman who refused to be tethered": LJ 5/15/15 starred review of the Ballantine hc.]-Nann Blaine Hilyard, formerly with Zion-Benton P.L., IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

McLain's (The Paris Wife) latest showcases her immersive command of setting and character, fictionalizing the exploits of real-life aviator and author Beryl Markham in British Kenya in the early 20th century. Beryl marries young when her father's fortunes fall, but is determined to strike out independently as a horse trainer, even though there are no female horse trainers and she's only in her late teens. She succeeds, though her marriage suffers, and finds herself drawn into a love triangle with famed hunter Denys Finch Hatton and writer Karen Blixen. While her successes in the horse-racing business increase, the scandal around her makes her flee to England for a while. Upon her return to Kenya, her need for freedom has further personal consequences, but also leaves her as the first professional female pilot in the world at a time when flying was exceptionally dangerous, and a record-setter for crossing the Atlantic. McLain paints an intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants. Markham's true life was incredibly adventurous, and it's easy for readers to identify with this woman who refused to be pigeonholed by her gender. Readers will enjoy taking in the rich world McLain has created. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p> NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, which . . . is both beautifully written and utterly engrossing."--Ann Patchett, Country Living <br> <br> Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman--Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa .</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it's the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl's truest self and her fate: to fly.</p> <p>Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain's powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.<br> <br> Praise for Circling the Sun <br>   <br> "Paula McLain cements herself as the writer of historical fictional memoir with Circling the Sun , giving vivid voice to Beryl Markham, a singular, extraordinary woman. In McLain's confident hands, Markham crackles to life." --Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time <br>  <br> "Enchanting . . . A worthy heir to Dinesen, McLain will keep you from eating, sleeping, or checking your e-mail--though you might put these pages down just long enough to order airplane tickets to Nairobi. . . . Like Africa as it's so gorgeously depicted here, this novel will never let you go." -- The Boston Globe <br>   <br> "Richly textured . . . McLain has created a voice that is lush and intricate to evoke a character who is enviably brave and independent." --NPR <br>   <br> "McLain succeeds in bringing the past to life, and by the last pages, readers will hate to say goodbye to such an irresistible narrator." -- Miami Herald <br>   <br> "Markham is a novelist's dream. . . . McLain riffs on the facts, creating a wonderful portrait of a complex woman who lived--defiantly--on her own terms." -- People (book of the week) <br>   <br> "Paula McLain has such a gift for bringing characters to life. I loved discovering the singular Beryl Markham, a rebel in her own time, and a heroine for ours." --Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You <br>   <br> "McLain's eloquent evocation of Beryl's daring life reminds us that independent women have always been among us, moving at their own speed." -- O: The Oprah Magazine </p> <br> <br> <br> From the Hardcover edition.
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