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The Little Balloonist

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
This irresistible literary love story set in Napoleonic France was inspired by the life of Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to fly.

Bringing to mind bestselling historical novels such as I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn, and Silk by Alessandro Baricco, The Little Balloonist tells the story of Sophie Blanchard’s journey from the humble seaside village of La
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 19th 2006 by Dutton Adult (first published 2006)
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Tara Chevrestt
A DNF for me. The writing style is so much like the upcoming release, The Blind Contessa's New Machine: A Novel that I am surprised it isn't the same author. Like the Contessa book, this novel is TELLING the entire tale rather than SHOWING. I had a strong enough interest in the a blind woman inspiring the typing machine to read and actually enjoy some of Contessa but this novel contains too many subjects I have no interest in. A. Sophie's supposed romance with her childhood friend, Andre. B. Nap ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting work of fiction based on the real person, Sophie Blanchard. If you are familiar with her place in history, this story will intrigue you. I enjoyed this author's fantasies about what her life might have been like.
Lisa Mcbroom
Linda Donn took the story of a fascinating woman and bogged it down with horrible writing. After her husband dies, Sophie Blanchard becomes one of the first women balloonist in Napoleonic France.
This novel chronicles the life of Sophie Armant Blanchard, a female aeronaut in Revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Sixteen-year-old Sophie loves her pretty home by the sea and precious moments spent with her best friend Andre. She dreams of marrying Andre but he seems to have withdrawn from her. Andre is a healer. He can heal people with a single touch. He has decided that he needs to learn how to be a healer and love Sophie at the same time, which he feels is impossible at this moment. Andre ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pretty interesting historical fiction, set in Napoleonic France. Sophie Blanchard was the first female balloonist and because she was so petite and adventuresome could soar to new heights that male balloonists could not go. She helped identify and map cloud types and even helped Napoleon spy on enemy battlefields as he was planning his advance into Prussia. Rousseau, Goethe, and Napoleon are only some of the other “real life” historical figures who appear in this book. Recommended.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-read
This is an interesting read based on the true life of Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to fly in a balloon. It was a rather short, quick read but it was very interesting to learn about Sophie and her extraordinary life. Donn also adds some interesting tidbits and quirks to Napoleon based on historical accounts. The writing was well done and even included some sketches which bought the story to life for me.
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it
An almost quiet and sort of subdued read compared to the novels that I have lately become accustomed to. In this regard, it was very refreshing. I enjoyed immensely the fictional retelling of Sophie Blanchard's life, but the storytelling itself left a lot to be desired. The way that the words, sentences, and pieces of the story were put together often seemed contrived. It is a fast read, and one could easily get through it within a few hours if they truly wanted to.
Korina Flint
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
This could have been an enthralling historical fiction given the interesting subject matter. However, the author's style left me uninterested. I had to force myself to turn the pages and often felt lost with abrupt transitions. Huge chunks of time are lost between chapters with little to no explanation of where the reader currently is.
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a charming, light read, mixing historical persons and their lives together. A nice little piece of historical fiction. Would make a good vacation or beach read, certainly. The romance reminded me a lot of "A Very Long Engagement."
Jan 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is an easy read and a nice story based on a real person, the first female hot air balloonist. I really enjoyed it
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Had some nice moments but not my favorite book.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. Sophie was wondrous; what she did as an aeronaut, what she brought to the people of France, how she loved Andre.
Evelyn M
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
It was interesting and a fast read
May 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2010
I felt this story was too contrived and often the writing style was overly simple. It really was not my cup of tea. Two stars because it's about France so that was a little bit interesting to me.
Megan Parker
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