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The Wild Air

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  63 reviews
In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.

When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother's aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 4th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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The Wild Air

Visit the locations in the novel - The Wild Air

Put this book on your TBR pile if you love history,historical fiction, women ahead of their time and the thrill of going on one heck of an adventure - the world of early aviation.

This novel amazed and astounded me in equal measure and I've spent the rest of the weekend exploring various sites on the internet to see these planes and these women for real.

The writing is exquisite and the research carefully crafted and blended into each and every page.
Lady Fancifull
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hat Trick In Three

With her third novel, the Edwardian set The Wild Air, Rebecca Mascull has done what she did in her two earlier novels – found a way to hook the reader’s heart to that of her central character, so that the reader absolutely cares about their journey, roots for them and, in this case, I was left feeling quite violent towards the prejudice and spite encountered by our quiet, shy, plain protagonist: one with the courage of a lion, hidden beneath the exterior of a mouse.

It is the fi
Karen Mace
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is always a reading delight to find a book that both entertains, enthralls and informs, and Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this story that features a young girl who has a passion for flight. Not so usual for a young girl in the Edwardian period but along the way she finds plenty of inspiration and never gives up on her dream.

Della Dobbs is at the heart of this story and is such an quiet, unassuming young child that as a reader you are immediately drawn to her in the hope that she find
Gill Paul
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG, Becca Mascull is a beautiful writer!! I was swept away by her descriptions of air and the behaviour of wind and the feeling of soaring through the clouds. Reading this novel is like an immersive experience, taking you right back to the early (pre-WW1) days of flight.

Della Dobbs thinks of herself as very plain and ordinary, but her Auntie Betty, recently arrived from America, thrills her with tales of the Wright Brothers flying around the dunes of Kitty Hawk and she determines to try it for
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Mascull has done it again! Another wonderful historical novel from this talented author. Rebecca is the master (mistress??) of the female protagonist who battles, and wins, against all the odds, in a mans' world.

Della Dobbs is a marvellous character - fun, determined, wise - and I followed her adventures avidly. It was difficult to put this novel down. Forgive me, but it flies off the pages! The writing is warm, intelligent, engaging. The characters are well drawn and interesting. The p
Louise Beech
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning book. I found it most emotional - I always do with stories about strong women fighting to be heard/seen/achieve in the days before I lived. I'm always grateful for what these women went through. The Wild Air was beautifully written, impeccably researched, and utterly addictive. Della Dobbs will stay with me for a long time. What a creation. (I can hardly believe she's a fictional character!) I hope this book soars like she did - it deserves to. ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Time taken to read - on and off for 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Amazon

In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.

When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother's aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help he
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So much love for this book, I don't know where to begin. ...more
Helen Eddon
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The dawn of aviation and Della's Aunty Betty has returned from America to live in Cleethorpes. Having witnessed the Wright brothers testing their aeroplanes at Kitty Hawk, she infuses Della with her passion for this new invention. With great support and encouragement from her aunt, and at the same time overcoming dreadful prejudice from pilots and mechanics alike, Della does learn to fly. However, her career as a pilot is interrupted by World War I where she is forced to be a bystander while les ...more
May 06, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: not-owned
Cannot wait to finally be able to buy this (I'm the brokest girl in Brokeland right now ಠ╭╮ಠ), after The Visitors I'll read anything by Rebecca Mascull! ♡ ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback and for kindle on 4th May, and it’s one of the most stunning books I’ve read this year. Don’t wait for the paperback – although, if you must, it will be available in September – because this is a book you must have on your bookshelves, and in your hands, as soon as you can possibly manage it.

Are you getting the feeling that I’m going to gush a little about this one? Quite unashamedly, I most certainly am – this b
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was greatly anticipating this latest offering by Rebecca Mascull, as I thoroughly enjoyed her previous novel, Song of the Sea Maid. The Wild Air is the story of Della Dobbs, a quiet, timid young woman, who harbours a secret passion to fly. In an age when women were expected to marry and have children, she fights against the constraints of Edwardian society. With the help of her aunt, Della achieves the unthinkable and becomes a pilot. Having learnt to fly, Della enters ‘the secret world of the ...more
Dawn Connor
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first discovered Rebecca Mascull a couple of years ago
when I bought her first book The Visitors. I fell in love
with that book and she's since become one of my favourite
authors. I was lucky to receive a proof copy of The Wild Air.
It's set just before the first world war and its about a young
woman called Della who loves aeroplanes and dreams of
becoming an aviatrix. I fell in love with Della and her inspiring
story. The writing is beautiful with just the right amount of
period detail. I could
Martine Bailey
Rebecca Mascull’s third novel continues her welcome exploration of extraordinary women who lift themselves above their ordinary situations. Quiet but steely Della Dobbs raises herself literally, by discovering her talent as one of Britain’s first female flyers. Against a heart-warming northern setting the reader is whisked away by Della’s grit and enthusiasm into the tough male world of early aviators. The setting is Edwardian Britain and France, excellently rendered in slang, attitudes and jing ...more
Originally posted on This Chick Reads

Oh dear, for the first time in a year or so I actually fear writing a review. Why? Well, firstly because the book is SOOOOOO beautiful, I fear like my words and desire to analyze it will ruin the experience of it. I actually feel like keeping it all for myself for a while, feeling the warmth of Mascull's beautiful prose, thinking of quiet Della and just like her, keeping my opinion to myself to honour her and her quietness. Secondly, I fear that no matter wha
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one amazing book!! I was first attracted to this book because I saw a clip on BBC TV that after actually flying one of these early machines, Rebecca Mascull went away and re-wrote all the flying parts of the book. It looked so very interesting and I just had to read it. The story roughly covers a period of ten years from 1909 when Auntie Betty arrived to the Dobbs family, and is set mainly in the Humberside and Lincolnshire areas.

Della Dobbs is a quiet child, doesn't speak if she can ge
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Della's great aunt returns to Cleethorpes from America, she introduces her to the world of aviation. Flying becomes her lifelong passion and takes her into Europe and to the First World War. This was a marvellous work of fiction inspired by the female aviators of the early 20th century when flying was just starting to take flight, so to speak. Della is a great character and you find yourself rooting for her when she faces any challenges. A pleasure to read thanks to Mascull's writing. ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In The Wild Air we are taken back in time to the Edwardian days of early aviation and to the prejudice which existed for those fearless women who dared to be different and who wanted more than anything on earth to extend their knowledge of this wonderful invention. For teenager, Della Dobbs, her dream started when she, together with her great aunt Betty, learned to fly home made box kites along the beach at Cleethorpes. This overwhelming passion for flight started Della’s obsession with the newl ...more
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful story of a young woman with a passion for aviation is the first book I’ve read by Rebecca Mascull, but I enjoyed it so much I will certainly be going back to read her previous two novels. Set in the Lincolnshire town of Cleethorpes in the first two decades of the 20th century, The Wild Air is both fascinating and inspirational, with a heroine I loved and connected with immediately.

Her name is Cordelia Dobbs – Della for short – and her interest in flying begins at the age of fourte
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks Hodder & Stoughton and netgalley for this ARC.

A new and exciting subject for a novel that will have you blown away.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
We need more adventure books these days. Especially us women. I don't mean thrillers involving dark secrets and titles with 'girl' in them, I don't mean crime books, or secret missions and explosions. I mean proper adventures, heroines doing brave, bold, daring things, going further and better than others.

The Wild Air - jacketThank goodness, then, for Rebecca Mascull's The Wild Air. It's a proper adventure telling the story of Della Dobbs. Della is an unlikely heroine, shy and diffident at the b
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rebecca Mascull’s novel “The Wild Air” is set in the early years of the 20th century, a time of change in more ways than one. The major event of the time was the First World War, which saw enormous loss of life and changed people’s view of warfare forever. The years before the war were a time of daring and inventive changes in the history of flight, which was to impact on the coming years of war.

It is against this backdrop that we meet the characters of this interesting and captivating novel. Th
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an utterly captivating heroine young Edwardian Miss Della Dobbs is.

When I finished reading this book I literally came back down to earth with a thud, I was so lost in the Wild Air with Della.

I was a touch unsure how I’d take to her to be honest as I like my heroines larger than life, feisty and confident and from the start it’s clear that Della is naturally none of these.

So painfully shy she barely ever utters a word, even at home with her family. In a household of folk who know where they
Melanie Vale
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can’t speak highly enough of this book. Such a moving story, full of historical facts as well as a love story. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much reading a book before. This is the first book by Rebecca Mascul that I’ve read; it won’t be the last.
Rosie Amber
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Wild Air is historical fiction. It begins in 1909 in the English coastal town of Cleethorpes, with the story woven around the early aviators and, in particular, the first women to take to the skies.

Della Dobbes has always enjoyed working with her hands and fixing things. A great aunt returns from Kitty Hawk, the beach in North Carolina where the Wright brothers tested their flying machines. She fills Della’s head with dreams of flight, then supports Della to make them come true. Faced w
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Prepare to be swept up by this all-consuming story and to set aside some dedicated reading time in a comfortable location as I guarantee you will be captivated by the exploits of daredevil Della. An engaging tale with a genuinely likeable leading lady whose story is enriched by the author's impressive research into the early days of aviation. The fictional exploits of Della come to life when they are cleverly intertwined with the achievements of real-life aviators and the quasi magical advances ...more
Katie Baker
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Thought I was really going to enjoy this to start with but got totally bogged down in it towards the bottom end. Women aviators was an interesting issue but when it went into the war and her relationship it just stopped speaking to me.
Fraser's Fun House
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in Cleethorpes in the early 20th Century this story follows introvert Della Dobbs. As the third daughter in her family she is expected, as women were, to marry and have a family, however when her Great Aunt returns from America to live with them her dreams and ambitions are ignited, and the course of her life changed. Aunt Betty is a head-strong lady much different to any other Della has encountered in her life and despite warnings from her overbearing Father Della forms a strong bond with h ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, favorites
The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull kept me awake till 3am last night. The book was amazing and heartwarming, the one you don't want to finish and yet clung to each page wanting to know what happens next, where the characters may take me, a reader. It's also inspiring and some amount of heartache. Brilliant storytelling!

It is a book which makes you realize the quality time author has set down to write it, the research involved and how smooth the story moves, how easily I have become wrapped around t
Angela Smith
I happily chose to read this book as I read Rebecca Mascull's debut novel "The Visitors" While I enjoyed it I found this third book of hers her best yet. I haven't read her second book though (although it's on my list of "to reads") What I like about the writer is her diversity of subjects. All of her books are written around strong female characters overcoming odds either physically or socially in the times they were born.

The Wild Air is about Della Dobbs, a young woman (or rather a girl) when
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Rebecca Mascull lives by the sea in the East of England.

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