Circling the Sun is a wonderfully written book that takes readers into the world of Beryl Markham. Beryl is probably most famous for being the first wCircling the Sun is a wonderfully written book that takes readers into the world of Beryl Markham. Beryl is probably most famous for being the first woman to fly from England to America in 1936. She was also a horse trainer, bush pilot, and writer.
This fantastic book takes you to Kenya and we get to meet Beryl as she grows up from a young girl to her flight across the Atlantic. The author did such a great job on researching Beryl's life, that I felt like I was right there in Africa with her. Her feelings and thoughts were so descriptive, I found myself wishing I was friends with Beryl. After reading this book, you can see the love that Beryl had for Africa and how she was a deeply private person that lived a life so adventurous, yet may have never found happiness. This was the first book I had read by Paula McLain, but I can't wait to read her other books now. She is a talented writer and Circling the Sun is a book I would highly recommend. I received a complimentary ebook via Netgalley in exchange for a review. ...more
I read Katherine Webb's first novel and really enjoyed that historical novel. This book is easily as good as her first. A page turning plot, vivid andI read Katherine Webb's first novel and really enjoyed that historical novel. This book is easily as good as her first. A page turning plot, vivid and flawed characters along with detailed descriptions of the life and times of rural England in 1911. Add to this story a repressed vicar who leaves you questioning his sexuality, his naive wife, a handsome opportunist calling himself a theosophist and a suffragette servant. That makes for one interesting group of characters. There is also flash forwards to the future where we meet the characters of Leah, a journalist whose ex boyfriend wants her to discover the identity of a WWI soldier whose well preserved body is found buried in a field in Belgium. As so the story goes from 1911 back to the present. It is a love story, a murder mystery and a story of the relationships of the class system in England. The story starts off slowly, there is lots of detail that could be shortened, but the author is very descriptive and it sets up the mood and plot perfectly. The title and description leads you to believe the story is about the occult, but instead it is about the vicar's and his friend, the theosophist's search for proof of fairies in the nearby water meadows near the vicar and his wife's home. Their ambition eventually leads to a great tragedy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! ...more
This was a very well researched and beautiful love story set in WWII. I have to admit that it did take me a few chapters before I was really hooked. IThis was a very well researched and beautiful love story set in WWII. I have to admit that it did take me a few chapters before I was really hooked. I was slightly worried that the story was going to be a bit of a light read, and I originally felt that there was not enough factual information to make a compelling story. But as I continued on with the book, it really came through for me. This is the story of Maddie and her brother T.J. They are both still dealing with the aftermath of their mom's death. T.J. is angry at his dad and blames him, while Maddie eventually finds love and comfort in the arms of T.J.'s Japanese school buddy, Tomo. Just as Maddie and Tomo elope, Pearl Harbor is bombed. Maddie decides to accompany Tomo and his family to a Japanese internment camp. T.J. enlists in the army and fights for his life first in a bomber plane and later as a POW. Tomo eventually finds himself in the Pacific as part of the war effort, too. Their is lots of tension, heartbreak, happiness, romance, fear at this point in the story. I am so glad that I stuck with the book because it was full of the historical information that I was hoping for. I appreciated the Author's Note at the end that included more historical information and the author's own personal reasons for writing this book. There were also some traditional Japanese recipes included. Well done love story on a very controversial time in US history. I received this book as part of the Goodreads FirstReads program. ...more
I just finished reading this book and am slightly disappointed by the ending. The story is about a Chinese girl named Feng who is forced into an arranI just finished reading this book and am slightly disappointed by the ending. The story is about a Chinese girl named Feng who is forced into an arranged marriage with a man she hardly knows. Feng is young and innocent and has no idea what is expected of her. Although her husband seems kinds, she does not love him, and in time she grows to resent her situation and becomes bitter and angry. As the story moves along there is much detail and time spent on Feng's early days married to her husband. Then we skip ahead 11 years or more to learn a bit more about Feng's son and the relationship between mother and son. Just a little bit of time is spent here before we near the end of the book. I was a bit confused about how Feng finally seemed happy, but after her close friend moves away, she immediately becomes angry and bitter and in a fit of rage, beats a young servant girl. Then Feng completely seems to go out of character for me by how she chooses to deal with her actions. Suddenly we are in the midst of the Revolution and very quickly the story ends. Although I think the ending seemed realistic enough for me, it did leave me feeling incomplete and I felt that we never really got to understand the main character. I did enjoy the story, but the beginning of the book seemed so different from the latter half of the story. I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program. Thank you for this win!...more
I thought this was a pretty good read. I choose 3 stars over 4 or 5 because I felt that sometimes the dialog and scenes went on and on unnecessarily.I thought this was a pretty good read. I choose 3 stars over 4 or 5 because I felt that sometimes the dialog and scenes went on and on unnecessarily. I liked that this story is told from the point of view of Lady Margaret Shelton, one of Queen Anne's cousins and lady in waiting. So instead of just the story of Anne Boleyn, we also get to hear the story of "Pretty Madge." (Lady Margaret) I love historical fiction and this book kept my interest. I have read many books about Queen Anne and this is one of the few that really had me feeling upset about how Anne was betrayed and executed by King Henry and the royal court. Overall an enjoyable book, just found myself sometimes speed reading through some of the sections where I thought the plot seemed stuck on a certain scene for way too long... I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program. ...more
This was a very fast paced, interesting story. It begins in the 1920s and the main character is Harry Clifton. Harry grew up believing his dad was kilThis was a very fast paced, interesting story. It begins in the 1920s and the main character is Harry Clifton. Harry grew up believing his dad was killed in the first world war and that he will soon be joining his uncle as a dockworker in the shipyards when he turns 14. Harry is extremely bright and has a gift for music. With a little extra help from a friend, he earns a scholarship to an exclusive boys school and very quickly discovers a new way of life. The real intrigue comes when Harry finds out that his father may in fact be a wealthy owner of a shipping line. There is a great mystery in how Mr. Clifton really died.
I was hooked to the storyline. The writing is pretty basic, but the book is loaded with twists and turns. One of my favorite things about the book is that it's divided into sections and each one is told from a different character's point of view. What are really great way to get to know the important players in this novel.
The book does leave us with a cliff hanger. I believe there are several more books in this series and I can't wait to read more. I received this book as part of the Goodreads FirstReads program....more
The story takes place in the mid-18th century. When Sophie is a young girl, she is forced to witness her mother's burning at the stake for sorcery. YeThe story takes place in the mid-18th century. When Sophie is a young girl, she is forced to witness her mother's burning at the stake for sorcery. Years later, as a young women, Sophie, leaves her small village for Paris. There she eventually meets Denis Diderot, a philosopher who will begin work on an Encyclopedia, containing all human knowledge." This monumental work will, of course, cause a direct threat to the monarchy and the church. Meanwhile, Sophie and Denis have an instant connection, but happiness seems to elude them at many points in their life. Mixed in with all of that, is Sophie's jealous husband, who becomes quite powerful within the police ranks. He will stop at nothing to halt production of Denis's work. At times, the story is not light reading, but it was always compelling. I was instantly transported back to Paris in the 1700s. Their were lots of different characters, including King Louis' mistress who also played a role during the writing of the encyclopedia. At times, I wish the author made Sophie a bit more interesting. But the historical drama which was loosely based on real events was a real delight to read! I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program....more
Shanghai Girls was a story of two Chinese sisters and their journey from Shanghai to California. I quickly become wrapped up in the tale of May and PeShanghai Girls was a story of two Chinese sisters and their journey from Shanghai to California. I quickly become wrapped up in the tale of May and Pearl and all the trials they overcome in their lives. I really liked the book but wished it ended differently. I kept hoping for an epilogue. The ending was so rushed and left me wondering what will happen? ...more