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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
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 womanBeryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of the classic memoir Out of Africa.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 natures 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.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 live and love by their own set of rules. But its the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryls truest self and her fate: to fly.Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLains 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.Praise for Paula McLain and The Paris WifeMcLain has brought Hadley [Hemingway] to life in a novel that begins in a rush of early love. . . . A moving portrait of a woman slighted by history, a woman whose . . . story needed to be told.The Boston GlobeThe Paris Wife creates the kind of out-of-body reading experience th
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