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The Flying Circus

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,698 ratings  ·  333 reviews
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties.

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, so
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,698 ratings  ·  333 reviews

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Angela M
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it

The paths of three young people cross . Each of them holds a secret and are running from something , in this story which takes place in the 1920's and depicts the barnstorming that was popular during this time where flyers did stunts with their planes as they drew people in to pay for a ride .

It was a quick and easy read but yet flirts with some big events and issues. WWI - from Gil's perspective trying to come to terms with the war after he's returned home. He's an aviator, flying from town to
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I may not be the best reader to judge The Flying Circus because I don't particularly like what I think of as this odd subgenre of circus literature. No -- full disclosure -- I didn't like Water for Elephants. And I am somewhat fussy about historical fiction -- I like to learn something about the historical context and don't like sugar coated sentimentality. But I was attracted to The Flying Circus because of the time period it takes place in and the description of the story. And it was "okay", b ...more
Stephanie Anze
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Henry, the son of German immigrants, is just a boy when he is orphaned. Taken in by a kind-hearted farmer, Henry becomes a farmhand on the Dahlgreen property. That is until a harsh circumstance arises that forces him to flee. Cora is a young and feisty woman whose family was once part of the elite until it fell from grace. Seeking a fresh start, she mounts her motorcycle and runs. Gil is a WWI veteran pilot that travels the country putting on shows to sustain himself. A fateful meeting on a dirt ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a huge an of flying, but literally can't resist a book about a circus. Even an untraditional circus of a bygone age. And yes, I was reluctant to read a novel by an author who work primarily features embracing couples on the covers. Fortunately, while romance is a heavy component of the book, it never overwhelms the heart of the story, which is a high flying adventure across America in 1920s from coast to coast by sky and by land, by choice and by circumstance. The main trio of protagonis ...more
Karen R
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story that begins when 3 characters meet by a happenstance involving a motorcycle racing with a biplane. Thhus starts an amazing journey. Gil, Henry and Cora begin a stunt-flying adventure in the post-WW1 heyday of the flying circus. Although fiction, I learned a lot about barnstorming which was presented in an entertaining way. The aerobatic maneuvers were perilous. These tricks were so dangerous, they played a role in history to bring about aviation’s safety regulations. ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Set in the 1920s, Susan Crandall has weaved and created a vibrant compelling tale of love, life, and loss in The Flying Circus. Ms. Crandall has delicately weaved an intricate layers of romance, suspense, and adventure in this rich tale that will have steal your hearts with bounds and leaps in this aerial acrobats. With a lively cast of characters that were enigmatic and endearing, Ms. Crandall has captured her readers'
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"THE FLYING CIRCUS" is a well-crafted, colorful and engaging novel that faithfully recaptures the spirit of the barnstorming era in America during the early 1920s. Through the lives of 3 compelling characters --- Henry Schuler, an 18 year old from Indiana with considerable mechanical skills who has had a traumatic family life; Charles Gilchrist ("Gil") a veteran First World War combat pilot now eking out a living as a barnstorming pilot with his own Curtiss 'Jenny' JN-4 U.S. Army surplus biplane ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
Once again, I am gushing over the latest Susan Crandall book. Like Whistling Past the Graveyard, Crandall tells a story of unlikely characters that come together through unlikely events to build an unlikely family bond. The Flying Circus finds Henry, Cora, and Gil, all running from their past and a broken family life. It is 1920s in America, a time when hucksters go from town to town making a living by entertaining the crowds. Henry is a mechanic, Gil a pilot, and Cora is a daring stunt woman on ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun and spunky, high-flying, daredevil adventure! Things I loved: the time period, the airplanes and stunt flying, Cora and her motorcycle, Mercury the sausage-stealing, goggle-wearing terrier. Things that left me feeling ho-hum: not enough detail to make me really sink into the history and place, an irrelevant epilogue, and the fact that the narration only came from Henry's POV.

Henry is perhaps the least interesting character in this book, yet the story is told entirely from his perspective,
Sharon Huether
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won this book from Goodreads- First Reads. Thank Goodreads. A wonderful story of the era of Barnstorming in the 1920's when they would do trick flying, with ladies walking on the airplane wings. Cora, Gil and Henry were a part of that group. They all had secret baggage they brought along in their air-adventures. As they got to know each other the secrets were revealed. The mysteries solved. In the beginning the story was slow and it got much better at the end of the book. ...more
Ted Hinkle
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Flying Circus was an entertaining historical fiction novel set primarily in rural central Indiana, particularly enjoyable for me. I enjoyed the development of the three main characters in a flowing quick page turning manner. I recommend Crandall's novel to those with Hoosier ties and a fondness for historical settings. ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved Whistling Past the Graveyard, by Ms. Crandall, so I had high hopes for this book and was afraid I'd be disappointed, but I needn't have worried.

Set in 1920s America, this book follows the adventures of Henry, a young man from a German family; Gil, a WWI veteran pilot; and Cora, a young woman whose family has lost its fortune. Traveling together across the country on a barnstorming tour, they build a sort of family, despite the secrets held by each of them.

The characters felt real to me
Shelli Proffitt Howells
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Admit it. We’ve all wanted to run away and join the circus at some point in our lives. What better way to escape for the summer than to join Henry, Cora, and Gil and their flying circus?

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall delivers on all its promises. The writing is flawless. The well-crafted characters are feisty, enigmatic, and endearing. The story moves along nicely, weaving adventure, mystery, and a little bit of romance. The love triangle (if you can call it that) between the three doesn’t
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was thrilled to get an ARC of Susan Crandall's newest book "The Flying Circus". Her previous novel "Whistling Past the Graveyard" was stunning! Place yourself in the '20s and meet the protaganists: Start with Gil, a retired WWI reconnaissance flyer, now a barnstormer, add to that Cora, a daredevil in her own way from a family who has lost their fortune, then add Henry, an 18 year old boy of German descent who is on the run from the law. There is almost nothing Cora will do to find another mean ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is historical fiction. I enjoyed the author's writing. She brought a lot of her descriptions full circle. I liked the story too, but this is one of those books where it feels like you are floating on a lazy river...nothing moves too fast. Sometimes this feeling is not what I'm in the mood for, but apparently, today, I was in the mood for it because I enjoyed the journey.

I liked the 3 MC's. Their individual backstories were similar as they were all hiding something. Eventually all the truth
Tara Chevrestt
The 1920s was not only about bootleggers and flappers; it was a time for barnstormers in their Jennies. Aviation was changing. Curtiss Wright was doing his thing, making better engines, planning for the future: commercial flight. Records were being made and broken.

I wanted to read this novel because of its heroine: Cora Rose Haviland, a socialite turned daredevil wing walker. As far as heroines go, she doesn't disappoint. She rides around on a motorcycle, jumps it through hoops of fire, gives me
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall is a highly recommended novel set in the roaring twenties about three people and a dog trying to escape their past while making their way in the present.

Henry (Schuler) Jefferson is trying to escape from the law for murder. The son of German immigrants in the Midwest, he has endured taunts, false accusations, and prejudice because of his German heritage. After his whole family died, a neighboring farmer took him in. The only problem was the farmer's wife and d
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
2015 354 pages

growing in in a very small town, the August county fairs were a big deal. It had a nightly stage attraction but those airplane "barnbusters" were the biggest deal. I remember watching with my mouth agape in awe as the men in their flying machines maneuvering the sky like they were a feather.

This book starts out in 1923. Three characters, all wounded in some way are woven in dare devil moves in the air and on land. There is love, loss, death, life, as well as a rounded out ending.
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars! The first three quarters of this book were extremely good, even despite the coarse language I could've done without. But it lapsed into melodrama at the end, and ultimately left me with a sour, "You're kidding me!" taste in my mouth. ...more
RoseMary Achey
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A world War I veteran, a young society debutant, and an orphan on the run from the law team up to produce a barnstorming act in the 1920's rural Midwest.

Well researched and likable characters, but lacked the charm of Whistling Past the Graveyard, another of Crandall's novels.
Nora Nelly
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I won this book from Simon & Schuster in a book giveaway. This in no way decided my rating and review of this book.

I got this book back in June and didn't have a chance nor time to read this book until October.

This book is set in the 1920's in the Midwest of America. This book was written in the perspective of Henry Schuler an 18 year old orphan running from the law in Indiana. We have no idea why he's running or what he did. Henry's life changes after seeing a biplane and a motorcycle racing
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeously rendered tale of three thrillseekers in the 1920's who, despite their secrets and brokenness, come together to form not only The Flying Circus, but also, a family bond. ...more
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
This was close to 4 stars. An enjoyable read that takes place in the 1920s, that odd time after WW1 and before the Depression. Full of interesting information on the early days of aviation and "flying circuses". The epilogue was weak I thought. Good escapism reading. ...more
Melissa Flanagin
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
3.2 Stars
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
This has been a bit of a slow start for me. Hopefully it will pick up soon.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like Crandall's writing. Her story is captivating and entertaining, with interesting characters and a peek into a cool historical era. I felt like the ending rushed a bit after the long, descriptive and detailed earlier part of the book, but still a satisfying read overall. ...more
Daiana Damacus
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story paints a wonderful picture of a time many people from our generation don't have a good grasp on: the years between the two World Wars. It's set in the early 1920s and introduces readers to a world scarred by WWI, but also pushed forward by it. There are dark elements to this story - murder, depression, maltreatment - and yet the novel is 300 pages of sunshine and hope.

Cora, Gil and Henry - the main characters - are fascinating individuals that come from different walks of life, but co
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-reads
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties.

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost the
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Flying Circus is my absolute must read of the summer!

Get ready to go on a trip back to the roaring twenties, 1923 to be exact, and the early days of aviation when you immerse yourself in Susan Crandall's latest book The Flying Circus. Henry Schuler is on the run from the law and has a fortuitous encounter with aviator Charles "Gil" Gilchrist and the rebellious Cora Rose Haviland. Henry quickly sees that joining together with Gil would be Henry's fastest way out of Indiana. Cora also wants t
Allen Murphey
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
1923. The Great War is over. The country’s first aviators are barnstorming the skies, introducing people to the Dangers! the Thrills! the Spectacle! that is flight. At $5.00 a ride. Three seemingly incompatible people bind together to form an implausible family – a melancholy pilot from the War, a young girl whose monied family has fallen on hard times, and an eighteen-year-old Indiana farm hand who’s accused of a brutal crime. A flying circus is not just their act, it’s also the way their lives ...more
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Alas, the rumor is true, Susan was a dental hygienist in her previous career. However, she "retired" from that profession many years ago and has been a full-time author ever since--thanks to all of you fabulous readers.

Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many yea

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